2nd call: Digital Methods Summer School 2012
The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) will host its 6th annual Summer
School from 25 June to 6 July 2012 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This
year's theme is “Reality mining, and the limits of digital methods.” It is
organized for new media researchers (broadly conceived), and is open to
(early stage) PhD candidates, advanced master's degree students, recent
graduates and motivated scholars. It is a working Summer School, in that
all participants work on projects, collectively conceived, that explore
this year's theme, trace mining.
The Summer School is a training program, where participants receive a
certificate of completion. It is also an intensive (and rewarding)
workshop environment, where participants work in teams, tracing and
mapping data, objects and issues. DMI also invites special guests as
resource people to present their research and projects in morning
lectures. There is a final presentation where the Summer School
accomplishments are presented to participants and invitees.
Below please find the call for participation. Please note that the
application deadline is Friday 4 May 2012. Candidates will be notified on
Tuesday 8 May 2012.
Feel free to forward the call to interested individuals.
Looking forward to your application and to the Summer School,
the Digital Methods team
Call for participants
Digital Methods Summer School 2012
New Media and Digital Culture
Dept. of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
25 June - 6 July 2012
Reality mining, and the limits of digital methods
When it becomes simple to trace your friend’s network, your movements
online and even the provenance of the can of Coke next to your computer
screen, reality becomes subject to prediction and to speculation -- in
both the financial and the philosophical sense. This transparency
discourse is limited by access to data. Indeed, our actions often generate
effect far in excess of our own awareness -- how “open” is the open graph
really? The concept of “ethical traceability” has been developed for
instance as a regulatory discourse to ensure the security of supply
chains, yet in spite of the proliferation of digital traces, consumers
have only very limited access to these logistical data. How then do we use
digital methods to become more “aware”? Can we adapt our methods to work
in recommended or relatively closed environments? How do we use devices to
test their claims, but also to reveal and circumvent their blind alleys?
After developing a semiotics and structuralism of the link and the
network, we explore how digital methods deal with notions of absence.
Building on past work in post-demographics and networked content, these
workshops will unpack the paradox of online awareness, from social
recommendation devices to product and service review sites. Building tools
and working with leaked data, our approach this time will be to go beyond
merely tracing things in order to make mute objects speak.
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 both the info-web as well as
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? Once findings are made with online data, where to ground them?
With more online data?
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, which includes a
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 DMI affiliates. This year the coordinators are Lonneke
van der Velden and Marc Tuters both of the University of Amsterdam. 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. We combine practical work with
reading sessions in which we reflect on the possibilities and limits of
our methods and develop new ideas. Next to a reader, online video
tutorials will be provided beforehand. The Summer School concludes with
final presentations. Often there are guests from non-governmental or other
organizations who present their issues. For instance, Women on Waves came
along during the 2010 Summer School. Digital Methods people are currently
interning at Greenpeace International and the Global Reporting Initiative.
This year, we invited Metahaven, a research and design studio that
reflects on political and social issues in provocative design objects.
Previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2011:
2011 Summer School flickr stream: http://bit.ly/q9fepW
The Digital Methods Initiative was founded with a grant from the Mondriaan
Foundation, and the Summer School is supported by the Center for Creation,
Content and Technology (CCCT), University of Amsterdam, hosted by the
Faculty of Science with support 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
Applications & Fees
To apply for the Digital Methods Summer School, 25 June - 6 July 2012,
please send a one-page letter explaining how digital methods training
would benefit your current work, and also enclose a CV. Mark your
application subject header, "DMI Training Certificate Program 2012." The
deadline for applications for the Summer School is Friday 4 May 2012.
Notices will be sent on Tuesday 8 May 2012. Please address your
application email to the Summer School coordinators, Lonneke van der
Velden and Marc Tuters, and send to info [at] digitalmethods.net. Informal
queries may be sent to Lonneke or Marc, lonneke[at] digitalmethods.net or
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 11 June 2012.
Logistics: Travel & Accommodation
Generally, participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation.
The Digital Methods Summer School offers a limited number of Amsterdam
apartments for reasonable rates, checking in on Saturday, 23 June and
checking out on Saturday, 7 July. These are single apartments with cooking
facilities. Doubles also may be available. For housing requests, please
write to the Summer School organizers, who will inform you about
availability. Once an apartment is reserved, the rent (and cleaning fee)
should be paid together with the Summer School fee by 11 June.
Summer School Schedule
The Summer School meets every day. Plenary sessions are usually scheduled
in the mornings. A schedule will be posted on
https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/DmiSummer2012. Please bring your
laptop. We will provide abundant connectivity. We start generally at 9:30
in the morning, and end around 5:30. On the last Friday we have a boat
trip through the canals of Amsterdam.
Summer School Location
New Media & Digital Culture, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam,
Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Rooms 0.13 & 0.04.
Digital Methods Winter School 2012 Revisited
We have a bonus session that draws upon the Digital Methods Winter School
2012, "Interfaces for the Cloud" and API critique. Metahaven will present
their work that actually renders the politics of the cloud.
We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam in the Summertime!
Visiting Lecturer and Post-doctoral Researcher
Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process
Goldsmiths, University of London
Warmington Tower 11.13
London SE14 6NW