CLUE-Network Institute Day

VU University Amsterdam on 14 February 2014

On Valentine’s Day, researchers from two different research institutes of the VU met to discuss ongoing and future collaborations between their members. The two institutes are the Network Institute (which also participates in the eHg project, CEDAR, about harmonizing historical research data) and CLUE, the Research Institute for the Heritage and History of Cultural Landscape and Urban Environment. Both groups are committed to interdisciplinary research, and to extending the already existing links between the two groups. After a short introduction by each of the directors of the two institutes, four project teams discussed their ongoing work. Gert-Jan Burgers and his colleagues presented their ongoing work about building a digital cultural biography of Testaccio that brings together data from geographers, archeologists and historians.

Inger Leemans and her team presented work about the creative industries in Amsterdam and its environs during the Dutch Golden Age. They are developing new insights into the dynamics of markets for cultural goods in that period. They are also working with the Rijksmuseum to find a reliable way of crowdsourcing tens of thousands of prints and lithographs. (During this presentation, our own Albert Meroño Peñuela made his first academic presentation in Dutch – see picture.) Dienke Hondius shared her work about establishing where slave owners lived in Amsterdam, not least as a way of making visible the direct involvement of the Dutch in the slave trade. Her research provides input for Black Heritage Tours, that provides a somewhat different boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam. She is using similar techniques to figure out where exactly Jewish people were hidden during the Second World War, drawing on diaries and oral histories. Serge ter Braake and Anstke Fokkens provided an update of their ongoing work with BiographyNED, the portal to biographies about important Dutch people. They discussed their approach to successful interdisciplinary working (history, linguistics, computer science) which could be summarized by locking three hard-working, open-minded people in a room and not letting them out until they come up with a solution. In their case, they came up with very interesting insights and results into questions about the provenance of data and how this can be both modeled and represented in the results. All of the projects showcased the benefits of continuing and future collaboration between humanities scholars and computer scientists.