Call for participants: Digital Methods Summer School 2011 [closed!]

Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, 27 June - 8 July 2011

After Cyberspace: Data-rich Media

The Digital Methods Summer School, now in its fifth edition, trains post-graduates, PhD candidates and motivated students and scholars in how to undertake Web research after cyberspace. The idea of "after cyberspace" is an invitation to think through and study the web without resort to the traditions informing "virtual" and "cyber" corporality, politics and identity. Rather the web, first with locative technology, later with language and national webs, and more recently with college and corporate networking software (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) continues to be grounded.

In the 2011 Digital Methods Summer School we will pay homage to cyberspace, in the opening, by presenting thought on a particular strand of media coverage about WikiLeaks, where cybergurus and cyberwar experts reappear on the scene. Just as importantly, we will ask, how to make use of the leaks, and their containers, for research purposes? From data-driven journalism to bespoke cablegate engines, does WikiLeaks spawn an online ecology of tools, visualizations and other substantive practices and outputs? Is such an ecology typical for data platforms? For comparative purposes, we will introduce and study the tool and visualization universes of Twitter as well as Wikipedia, both of which are examples of data-rich media. We would like to learn from platform media analytics and apply it to other data-rich media, so as to further develop tools for cultural diagnostics. One challenge is the question of device effects. For example, when comparing the Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian Wikipedia entries for the Srebrenica Massacre, does Wikipedia's "neutral point of view" policies overdetermine the content, perhaps neutralize it, or can one read culturally distinctive views on the events?

Another strand of study is networked content, which is thought of as online content held together, maintained or even co-authored by software and bots. The interplay of search engines and content interests us this year, not just because Wikipedia articles are routinely at the top of Google results. (The relationship between Google and Wikipedia remains understudied.) But there is also content seemingly authored for engines first and readers only second, as in the case of "demand media." We would like to study efforts that seek to fill in engine results with content, reopening the question of engine epistemology. Presentations will include work on engine log analysis. Apart from (Google) flu trends, are log analyses able to identify and geo-locate cultural and political preference?

About "Digital Methods" as Concept
Digital Methods is a term coined as a counter-point to virtual methods, which typically digitize existing methods and port them onto the Web. Digital Methods, contrariwise, seek to learn from the methods built into the dominant devices online, and repurpose them for social and cultural research. That is, the challenge is to study the info-web and the social web with the tools that organize them. There is a general protocol to digital methods. At the outset stock is taken of the natively digital objects that are available (links, tags, threads, etc.) and how devices such as search engines make use of them. Can the device techniques be repurposed, for example by remixing the digital objects they take as inputs?

About the Summer School
The Digital Methods Summer School, founded in 2007 together with the Digital Methods Initiative, is directed by Professor Richard Rogers, Chair in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. The Summer School is one training opportunity provided by the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI). DMI also has a Winter School, also known as the mini-conference, where papers are presented and responded to. Winter School papers are often the result of Summer School projects. The Summer School is coordinated by two PhD candidates in New Media at the University of Amsterdam, or affiliates. This year the coordinators are Anne Helmond (University of Amsterdam) and Carolin Gerlitz (Goldsmiths, University of London). The Summer School has a technical staff as well as a design staff. The Summer School also relies on a technical infrastructure of some five servers hosting tools and storing data. Participants bring their laptops, learn method, undertake research projects, make reports, tools and graphics and write them up on the Digital Methods wiki. The Summer School concludes with final presentations. Often there are guests from non-governmental or other organizations who present their issues. Women on Waves came along during the 2010 Summer School. Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, will be invited in 2011.

Previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2010, <a href=""></a>.

The Digital Methods Initiative was founded with a grant from the Mondriaan Foundation, and the Summer School is supported by the<a href="" target="_blank" title="Center for Creation, Content and Technology (CCCT), University of Amsterdam">Center for Creation, Content and Technology (CCCT)</a>, University of Amsterdam, organized by the Faculty of Science with sponsorship from Platform Beta.

Summer School Training Certificate
The Digital Methods Summer School issues completion certificates to participants who follow the Summer School program, and complete a significant contribution to a Summer School project. For previous Summer School projects, see for example <a href=""></a>.

Applications & Fees
To apply for the Digital Methods Summer School, 27 June - 8 July 2011, please send a one-page letter explaining how digital methods training would benefit your current work, and also enclose a CV. Mark your application "DMI Training Certificate Program." The early bird application deadline is 7 March 2011. Early bird candidates will be informed on 8 March 2011. The regular deadline for applications for the Summer School is 8 April. Notices will be sent on 15 April. Please address your application email to the Summer School coordinators, Anne Helmond and Carolin Gerlitz, and send to info [at] Informal queries may be sent to Anne or Carolin, anne [at] or c.gerlitz [at]

The Summer School costs EUR 295 per person. Accepted applicants will be informed of the bank transfer details upon notice of acceptance to the Summer School. The fee must be paid by 15 May 2011.

Participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation. The Summer School meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and all participants also work on the Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please bring your laptop. We will provide abundant connectivity.

Summer School Location
New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Rooms 0.13 & 0.04

We look forward to welcoming you!
Topic revision: r1 - 17 Jun 2011, AnneHelmond
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