Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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Field School in Digital Humanities

The BISC’s Field School in the Digital Humanities offers an immersive, 5-week, introduction to the field of the digital humanities, an emerging field of study concerned with investigating the intersection between digital culture, technology, and the traditional arts and humanities disciplines, such as history and literary studies.

Students participating in the Field School will gain exposure to the field through a combination of hands-on digital activity, facilitated introductions to key digital projects in the UK cultural sector, and theoretical debate with leading scholars and practitioners in the digital humanities community at both North American and European universities and cultural institutions, including The British Museum, The British Library, and The Imperial War Museum. Throughout the duration of the Field School, students will blend together these aspects of practice, theory, and community to establish their own digital micro-projects which will be at the heart of a special conference — the BISC THATCamp —  hosted by Field School participants, and opened to the European DH community of researchers, administrators, and others working in the field of the digital humanities.

Along with facilitating a new kind of engagement with questions long central to humanities disciplines, participation in the Field School in the Digital Humanities at the BISC will also provide students with transferable skills in digital culture that can assist their transition into graduate opportunities or an identified career path. In addition, there are two Digital Humanities Student Assistant placements available for the 2014-2015 academic year at Queen's University (see below for more information).

For more information about the on-going digital humanities work at the BISC, please see the BISC Digital Humanities blog

In the following video Dr. Chris Jones, a visiting fellow for the Field School in Digital Humanities, speaks about one of the field studies associated with the course. Students will be visiting two medieval parish churches in Surrey with historical objects that Dr. Jones has been asked to digitise: a 1615 King James Bible and some medieval wall paintings. Students will engage in an active assessment of the objects and discuss what considerations need to be made in digitising them.

Course Information


IDIS 221/3.0 Theorising the Digital ‘User’

In this course students will be equipped with the skills and perspectives required to engage in a critical assessment of their own use of technology and digital resources in their current undergraduate research practice. Part of that pattern of use involves the digital tools and archives themselves, which students will be asked to evaluate not just as users, but as ‘critically-engaged users’, deploying the skills of critical analysis native to humanities disciplines such as English and history in this assessment.

IDIS 222/3.0 The Theory and Practice of Digital Representation

Students will investigate the issues surrounding the process of translating a text from print to digital form and the different ways in which understandings of textuality, the materiality of the text, and readership aid in conceptualizing of this process. Along with this investigation, students will also be introduced to basic elements of the accepted humanities mark-up language, TEIP5. The aim of the course is to facilitate a clear understanding of, and critical engagement with, the practice of digitization. In order to accomplish this, students will investigate different scholarly approaches to understanding the object or text at the same time that they will be exposed to the basic elements and practices of textual mark up.

Teaching Methods

Guided primary source research, experience-based learning opportunities including field studies and labs, group work, seminar discussions, student-conducted interviews, and lectures

Field Studies

Examples of Field Studies*

Possible field studies include visits to top digital humanities projects at key UK cultural institutions such as:

The British Museum’s Cyprus Digitization Project 

The Imperial War Museum’s Digitization Program

The British Library’s Digital Collections Department

*subject to change.

Field School Information

Program Schedule 2015 Dates

May 8 – June 20 (2 courses - 6 units)

Enrolment / Deadline

20 students. Apply by March 15th, 2015

Participant Profile

Undergraduate student with Level 2 standing


$7,277 which includes tuition, residence and meal plan, transport and entrance fees for field studies.  Students will need additional funds for personal spending, some meals while on field studies, health and travel insurance, and transport to and from UK.


Director and Professor: Dr. Shannon Smith is an Assistant Professor of English Literature at the Bader International Study Centre, Queen’s University where she teaches courses in English literature, sport history, and Digital Humanities. Dr. Smith specializes in popular cultural representations of masculinity and sport in the Victorian Period, and she is currently working on a book entitled Sporting Spaces in the Victorian City.

Her other research interests include: the Victorian spectacular theatre, specifically the melodramas of Dion Boucicault, Victorian and contemporary equine sporting narratives, neo-Victorianisms (i.e. the steampunk movement), and developments in the digital humanities.

For more information, please visit her website. She tweets at @ssmithwc1n.

Assistant Lecturer: Emily Murphy is a PhD Candidate in English at Queen’s University where she studies representations of mental illness in the Modernist Period with a digital humanities methodology. Emily teaches workshops on TEIP5 as an editorial technology, both at Queen’s and at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, BC.

Her other research interests include: celebrity (literary or non-literary), life writing, dance and eurythmics cultures, and Marxist politics. She tweets at @ecbmurphy.

Visiting Fellows:

  • Dr. Clare Horrocks/@DrHorrocks (Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
  • Dr. Chris Jones (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • Maree Shirota is an MA candidate in the Department of History at the University of Canterbury. She was the 2012 recipient of the Gerald Hunt Prize for best Honours dissertation and is the principal researcher for the 'Canterbury Roll' web project. She is presently engaged in producing a new edition of the text of Canterbury MS 1, and is the recipient of a Canterbury Masters Scholarship.
Hiring Student Assistants

Digital Humanities Student Assistants

Queen's University students enrolled in the 2014 Bader International Study Centre Undergraduate Field School in the Digital Humanities will be eligible to apply for two placements as Digital Humanities Student Assistants at Queen’s in the 2014-15 academic year. These are paid positions with flexible schedules averaging up to 10 hours per week for 12 weeks.

The DH Student Assistants will undertake projects in the Jordan Special Collections and Music Library, applying knowledge acquired in the Field School. Project details will be determined collaboratively by the student, a Field School instructor and the Curator of Special Collections. The Field School instructor and the Curator of Special Collections will co-supervise each DH Student Assistant.

The DH Student Assistants will deliver project presentations or posters at the annual Inquiry@Queen's Undergraduate Research Conference in March 2015.

Applications will be accepted following admission to the Field School and up to the end of the first course. To apply, send a short statement of interest and CV to Dr. Shannon Smith, Director, BISC Undergraduate Summer Field School in the Digital Humanities, via email to The DH Student Assistant program is a collaboration of the Bader International Study Centre and Queen’s University Library.

Amended September 2014