Esteban Romero Frías
GrinUGR, a group on Digital Cultures at the University of Granada, and its Dutch connection
Although my first visit to the eHumanities Group was in March 2014, this was not the first time I met Sally Wyatt, Andrea Scharnhorst, Jeannette Haagsma and Anja de Haas. I met them in September 2010 at the Virtual Knowledge Studio (VKS); just a few months after defending my PhD Thesis at the University of Granada (Spain). I was eager to meet other researchers and to discover new approaches and perspectives on digital cultures in society and academia. With this purpose, I started a visit of 3 months at the VKS, at that time lead by Paul Wouters. I found a group that was successful in bringing together researchers with very different backgrounds, who shared an interest in the new forms of knowledge that Internet and other technologies were making possible.
2010 was a difficult year for the center, indeed it meant its end. However, at least two projects came out of its legacy. First, the eHumanities Group, where I recently had the opportunity to present the second project I just referred to: GrinUGR – a Co-Laboratory on Digital Cultures in Social Sciences and Humanities, at the University of Granada.
At the VKS, as it is still today at the eHumanities Group, Thursdays were the days when research meetings took place, coordinated back then by Nick Jankowski. It was probably the most stimulating moment in the week. Particularly I was excited about the idea of attending a presentation about a topic related to Internet, Data Visualization, Digital Cultures, etc. in which all the participants, irrespective of their background, gave their opinions, suggestions, criticisms, creating a very intellectually enriching experience.
Once I had returned to the University of Granada I thought: if this can happen in a relatively small community, why not try the same approach in my academic community with more than 3000 researchers and lecturers?
Undoubtedly it was challenging… but this is exactly what I did.
The first meeting of the group, on 12th May 2011, was the result of an open call distributed through the mailing list of the University of Granada searching for people interested in using Internet in their research or teaching. More than 60 people coming from a wide variety of faculties and research centers attended the session. The proposal was to create a “GRoup of INternet at the University of Granada” (GrinUGR) with the following goals: learning freely and critically from other colleagues, sharing teaching and researching experiences, and networking.
After 3 years of events, GrinUGR is defined as a Co-Laboratory on Digital Cultures in Social Sciences and Humanities. Its identity is hybrid: not being part of the formal structure of the University of Granada but being able to generate projects and getting people together.
Some of the events and projects organised are (webpages in Spanish):
• I Conference on Digital Social Science and Humanities at the University of Granada.
• THATCamp UGR 2013.
• GrinWeek (2nd edition), a week about open digital cultures for learning in the 21th Century.
• Learning Week 2013.
• “Atlas of Digital Humanities and Social Sciences in Spanish and Portuguese“: a project that aims to give visibility to the Spanish and Portuguese speaking community of digital scholars.
Extended information about these projects can be found in the presentation I gave at the eHumanities Group on 13 March 2014.
(http://estebanromero.com/; twitter @polisea)