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
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:
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!