The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) 6th annual Summer School from 25 June -- 6 July 2012 in Amsterdam

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) 6th annual Summer School from 25 June -- 6 July 2012 in Amsterdam


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. 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.


Previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2011:

2011 Summer School flickr stream:  

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] Informal queries may be sent to Lonneke or Marc, lonneke[at]


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 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and all

participants also work on the Tuesdays and Thursdays. 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. Morning lectures


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. We have

invited Metahaven, the critical Dutch design group, to present their

work that actually renders the politics of the cloud.


We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam in the Summertime!


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