Reassembling the Republic of Letters: Conference, Training School and COST Meetings

Oxford, 21st-25th March 2015

The first major combined event of the COST Action network took place at the University of Oxford from 22nd to 25th March 2015. Generously funded by COST Action IS1310, this multi-faceted event combined Working Group meetings and a public-facing two-day conference, with the aim of providing all participants a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of current developments relevant to the network. Running alongside these, a digital humanities Training School inducted newcomers into the current state of the field. The conference, Training school, and Working Group meetings were also bracketed by meetings of the Action Steering Group and Management Committee.

This unique set of co-located events brought together a vast array of leading scholarly and technical experts in order to pursue the reassembly of the Republic of Letters through the opportunities generated by the digital humanities.

 

Download the full programme

Training School

Date

22nd – 25th March 2015

 

Purpose

The Training School saw key network members and associates delivering sessions that explored some of the key techniques and resources involved in applying digital technology to the study of the early modern republic of letters. The Training School also incorporated the COST Action conference as a means of providing trainees with a broad, up-to-date conspectus of technical and scholarly developments in the field.

 

Attendees

Supported by trainers from within and outside the COST Action network, 23 trainees have been selected to attend the training school.

 

Format

Download the programme below, which included:

  • GIS (Geographic Information System), session led by Ian Gregory
  • Humanities+Design, Stanford University, on their visualisation tool Palladio
  • Ruth and Sebastian Ahnert, leading a session on network analysis
  • Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the 17th-century Dutch Republic (CKCC), presenting their textual visualisation platform, ePistolarium
  • Cultures of Knowledge, Oxford, presenting Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO).
  • An interactive visualization tool developed by Density Design, session led by Paolo Ciucarelli.

 

 

Download Training School Programme

Conference

Date

22nd – 23rd March 2015

 

Purpose

The purpose of the conference was to give all Working Group members a reasonably comprehensive and up-to-date non-technical overview of current developments relevant to the project with a view to establishing the agenda for the Action and each of the individual Working Groups. This complemented the Training School and also ensured that each WG member developed their understanding of the scope and structure of the Action as a whole, and where their own contributions fit within it.

 

Attendees

Working Group members, Trainers, and Trainees. Some spaces were also provided for attendance by members of the public.

 

Format

The format of the conference followed the structure of the Working Groups, each of which was allocated a two-hour slot. The sessions were composed of a series of brief ‘flash presentations’, which present problems or developing solutions relevant to some of the key items in each WG’s agenda. This formed a representative cross-section of the problems and proposed solutions which will be pursued in the Action.

 

 

Download detailed Conference Programme

Working Group meetings

Date

24th March 2015

 

Purpose

The purpose of the Working Group meetings was for WG members to choose the individual agenda items to which they would like actively to contribute. WGs also began determining which concrete steps will be taken to advance these agenda items, and who will be responsible for what, in the interval between face-to-face meetings. It is only by dividing up the tasks in this way, and assigning to each person the tasks which relate most directly to their own aspirations and expertise, that the agenda as a whole can be pursued without overburdening a small number of individuals.

 

Attendees

Working Group Members only. A small number of Action affiliates were allowed to audit these meetings.

 

Format

Three pairs of Working Group meetings running in parallel, of approximately 2 hours’ duration. Time was allowed for Working Group leaders to have final discussions and formalise plans after the meetings.

 

 

Download the detailed WG Schedule

Management Committee meeting

Date

25th March 2015 (morning only)

 

Purpose

This summary meeting at the end of the event allowed the Working Group Leaders to feed back to the rest of the Management Committee a brief overview of their Working Group meeting, the conclusions reached, and the work plans developed.

 

Attendees

Members of the Management Committee and their pre-authorised substitutes only.

Location

The conference and Working Groups met at St Anne’s College, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HS. The Training School will take place at IT Services, 13 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6NN. Trainees also attended the conference sessions.

 

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