a new semester

Tomorrow the fall semester starts proper and while the lab has been active all of August, next week will be quite different. Several programs will start using the lab at the same time, and there will be new researchers and international guests in the lab. One of the new research fellows is Paul Arthur. He will arrive proper tomorrow, and we are very happy to have him in the lab. This is from his website:

In 2010 Paul Arthur takes up the position of Deputy Director of the National Centre of Biography and Deputy General Editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography in the History program at the Australian National University. Since 2007 he has been a Curtin Targeted Research Fellow in Information Commons at Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia, and an Adjunct Research Fellow of the Research School of Humanities, Australian National University. During 2009 Paul Arthur is a visiting fellow at two international centres — Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, USA (teaching his seminar course ‘Writing History with New Media’), and HUMlab, the digital humanities centre at Umeå University, Sweden.

Paul will soon introduce himself and his work on this blog.

The fall semester will be intense in many ways – many educational programs using the lab, digital media and industry activities, continued installation of the new part of the lab, several conferences, seminars, several research and development projects (youtube, domestic violence, bio mapping, environmental archaeology, internet based population database), disputations (Therese Örnberg Berglund will defend her Ph.D. thesis on October 17, 2009), Umeå 2014 and much more. We are also planning for a new lab on the new Arts Campus (if you are in Umeå and understand Swedish – there is an event at the Design School on September 8).

People involved in projects and activities will use this space to talk about their work. From my point of view, I am looking forward to an exciting academic year. There was a major event in the lab in May 2009 – an inauguration and start-up event – which attracted people from all over the place and which made it quite clear that there is much interest in and support for HUMlab. Based on this trust, we will continue to develop HUMlab as a meeting place and bring our experience and what we have learnt (together with you) into the planning of HUMlab-X on the Arts Campus. Our vision still draws on the original conceptual grounding of the lab:

The basic idea behind HUMlab, as articulated early on, is to facilitate the meeting between the humanities, culture and information technology, or put differently, to be a meeting place for the humanities, culture and information technology.

The relative vagueness of this description has often been a strength, but nevertheless, over this semester, I will use this space (as well as a couple of articles I am working on), to flesh out my understanding of what HUMlab is and can be. Most important, unsurprisingly, are you – everyone who is part of the lab (whether in Umeå or elsewhere).