construction work

There is some major construction work going on close to HUMlab. The university library and the adjacent area are being expanded/developed. You have to walk below this thing to get from the humanities building to the lab.


Of course, there is work going on in HUMlab as well. As we have described earlier, the lab will be expanded shortly. There will also be new floor tiles in the present lab.


lab being evacuated and expanded

HUMlab is undergoing some major changes currently. Firstly, we are removing all furniture (and basically all entities that occupy floor space) in the current HUMlab to accommodate for new floor tiles. Secondly, we are preparing for the expansion of the current HUMlab. We will add another significant section which will complement the present space. This space will contain a large number of screens, interaction technology, performance space and powerful workstations for digital cultural heritage, electronic literature, digital art and participatory media. The basic design principles of the present HUMlab will be maintained: e.g. translucence, flexibility, openness and multiplexity. Much of the construction work will happen this summer, and hopefully the new part of the lab will be functional sometime in October-November. The lab will be closed this summer, but present-day HUMlab will open again in August (when we have moved the furniture, computer etc. back). More about the expanded lab later! 

HUMlabbers on the road

Matt Ratto, new research fellow at HUMlab, will do an invited presentation on “Key issues: HERA and Hephaestus: arts and humanities in a digital age” in London on June 15 as part of a HERA activity on “The Humanities as a Source of Creativity and Innovation”.

Peter Asaro, who has been in Umeå for a bit longer than Matt, will show his documentary film on June 14 at the postLab at Kiberpipa in Slovenia. He will then attend the European Computing and Philosophy Conference at University of Twente in the Netherlands (June 21-24), and do a presentation on “How Just Could A Robot War Be?”. Finally, he will also attend a one-day seminar at the London School of Economics on “Military and security applications of neuroscience: ethics, governance and policy” (June 27).

Patrik Svensson will do a talk on “Co-creating Content: Participatory Culture, Web 2.0 and Digital Mashups” at the 13th Nordic Conference on Information and Documentation at Stockholm University, 18-19 June. My talk will address participatory culture, web 2.0 etc. from a broad non-informational perspective, and I will try to look at some new developments beyond the obvious examples as well as providing a sense of the critical discourse surrounding these concepts. 

Stephanie Hendrick, HUMlab graduate student, will do a poster presentation at Past, Present, Future: From Women’s Studies to Post-Gender Research at Umeå University on June 17. Title: “Representation and innovation: How women professors blog”.

Katherine Hayles honorary doctorate

I am very happy to announce that Katherine Hayles has accepted an honorary doctorate at Umeå University. Professor Hayles was one of the first international seminar speakers in HUMlab, and she has contributed to the establishment of HUMlab in many different ways. And, of course, Hayles is an eminent theorist in the field of the humanities and information technology.


I will do a more extensive introduction of Hayles on this blog when we get closer to the formal ceremony on October 20, 2007. For now, I would just like to point out that I have always been struck with Katherine’s friendliness, willingness to engage in dialogue, and her intellectual curiosity and sharpness – from the very first time I met her at UCLA in 2002. I am very much looking forward to continuing our collaboration.

Two HUMlab seminar streams with Katherine Hayles as the speaker (realmedia):

Computing the Human (May 24, 2002)

My Mother was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts (September 21, 2005)


Over the last couple of months I have had the pleasure to get to know Phil Buckland at the Archaeology Department who is doing very good work, and who is also very HUMlab-like. Among other things, he develops digital tools based on environmental archaeology, and his BugsCEP software is a fine example of a digital humanities tool:

BugsCEP is a research and teaching aid for palaeoentomology, entomology and ecology. As well as habitat and distribution data, it includes tools for climate and environmental reconstruction, and facilities for storing site based abundance/collection data. A variety of searching and reporting functions greatly augment the efficiency of beetle based research.

And just in case you did not get it: BugsCEP stands for “Bugs Coleopteran Ecology Package”. Project website here.  Phil’s thesis is available from here – succinctly titled The development and implementation of software for palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatological research: the Bugs Coleopteran Ecology Package (BugsCEP).

HUMlab Island in Second Life

HUMlab Island in Second Life

HUMlab Island in Second Life

HUMlab has purchased an island in the virtual social world Second Life. It is 5120 meters square and is a commercial zoned site. I will begin working on it during the summer and next term it should be ready to begin some HUMlab projects. If HUMlab members have ideas for what could be done on the island as to research, teaching, art and media please contact me; jim.barrett [at] HUMlab (