This week I attended the inaugural lecture of Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing at King’s College London, entitled ‘Attending from and to the Machine’. The tradition of the ‘inaugural’ is slightly confusing in that the lecture can be held to mark the start of one’s tenure, or, as in this case, to represent the peak of a career. It was an inspiring talk that made the big point that we should never be limited by technology – and should certainly not let it always lead thinking. The big humanistic questions need to be posed first and foremost.
Willard McCarty, in one of his many roles, hosts the monthly London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship at the Institute of English Studies (School of Advanced Study), University of London. During my time in HUMlab as a postdoc I’ve been very fortunate to visit London twice to participate in the seminar. In December I gave a presentation on the theme of my HUMlab research into digital modes of recording and narrating history. The session in January was led by Helena Barbas, Professor-Lecturer of the Department of Portuguese Studies – Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She discussed the application of interactive narrative and game design to virtual heritage in a paper with the beautiful title of ‘Interactive Fiction – Narratives Without Memory’.
If anyone is planning a trip to London, check out the seminar calendar. It is free to attend – and question time starts with a couple of glasses of wine, which means there is always good discussion.
I say goodbye to Sweden this week, having been in Umeå since late July and am writing this from Singapore on the way home to Australia. However, I am already planning my return trip. Thanks to everyone who made my stay such a rewarding experience.