The theme of this year’s ECREA Communication History Section Workshop was “History of Digital Media and Digital Media Historiography” and it was held at The Centre for Digital and Contemporary History C2DH at the University of Luxembourg. The workshop was co-sponsored by the ICA Communication History Division and organized by Valérie Schafer and Carmen Noguera (C2DH) with assistance from the head of the COHECREA section Gabriele Balbi (USI).
True to the times we live in at the – fingers crossed – final phase of the Covid pandemic, the workshop was held in hybrid form with most participants taking part of the conference online and only a few on-site. But as we have come to learn by now, an online event can still be successful if it is marked by two things: a good spirit and engagement from all participants (cameras on!), and a warm and welcoming atmosphere on behalf of the organizers. This conference indeed had both.
We had the privilege of each charing a session and taking part in the discussion following a number of interesting presentations over the the two and a half days on topics such as digital historiographies, analogue content in the digital realm, women, history and heritage, and digitalization. The full programme can be found on this page.
Several EMHIS members gave talks at the conference. Helle Strandgaard Jensen with Danish colleagues Alexander Thygesen, Josephine Møller Jensen and Max Odsbjerg Pedersen presented on “How Do Twitter Users Remember Sesame Street? A scalable reading of media history”. The speakers demonstrated the importance of looking beyond hashtags and provided a model for bridging distant and close readings of Twitter data. Stephanie Seul from the University of Bremen also attended the conference. In Stephanie’s presentation, “Tracing Female War Reporters of the First World War in Digital Newspaper Archives: A transnational approach”, she shared with us the trials and tribulations of doing transnational media history in digital newspaper archives.
Two interesting keynotes were offered. One by Claude Mussou from the Institut National de L’audiovisuel (INA), who talked about the opportunities and challenges the digitized and “augmented” audiovisual archive faces, and one by Niels Brügger from Aarhus University, who talked on the topic “Media Events: Dayan & Katz Revisited in the Light of Digital Media”, using the Olympic Games as a case study. A valuable and much appreciated addition to the conference programme was also the hands-on sessions on Impresso and digitised newspaper archives by Marten During and Lars Wieneke, and on Zotero and Tropy by Sean Takats.
Although we sadly missed the opportunity to visit Luxembourg in person this time, we thoroughly enjoyed the conference and look forward to the forthcoming events arranged by the ECREA and ICA Communication History Sections.
Sune Bechmann Pedersen & Marie Cronqvist