March 19, 2014

Fellow Salonistes, We had a wonderful evening on Wednesday, 19 March at our second Digital Salon, hosted at the Media and Graphic Interdisciplinary Centre.  The discussion was wide ranging – as one Saloniste put it “from encoding texts to throwing out texts altogether” – and stimulating!

The evening began with a presentation by Constance Crompton, Assistant Professor, Digital Humanities, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan on Coding Community: Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada.  Constance discussed her work encoding the book Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada: A Selected Annotated Chronology, 1964-1975.  She explained how the encoding has been done using a specific XML schema called Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) using the visual text editor, OXygen ( and the possibilities for analysis of the text this work has created, including the possibility for visual network analysis of communities.

This led into a brief discussion of visual analytics and the opportunities that exist through the Visual Analytics Challenge Program to receive advice and guidance on visual analysis of data, as well as student support in conducting visual analysis.  More about the VA Challenge Program can be found here:  Alternatively, anyone interested can contact Vicki, or send an email to Rama Flarsheim or Candice McGowen.

Next was a presentation from Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe and Ian McDonald (more about Rhodri and Ian and their work here: on Colonizing Modernism: Late British imperial colonial policy and the Modern Movement in architecture, planning and design.  Their project creates a virtual 3D exhibition space, including a “children’s room”, in which visitors can explore images related to the theme of the exhibition (including some fascinating British Airways advertisements from the early 20th c)., solve mysteries and create their own narratives.  Ian explained some of the technical aspects of the project e.g the use of a Unity gaming platform, and Rhodri explained the motivating vision for the virtual exhibition space.

In true Saloniste style, we ate, drank and pondered.  Questions arose about the way in which digital media ‘calls attention” to certain things, while downplaying others I.e. Constructs or constrains the text.  Others spoke about digital media as providing “agency” to “users”.  Notions of “locational memory”, the different ways in which we engage or read physical versus digital text, performativity, and the preservation of digital works emerged from the discussion, not to mention learning about the technical tools and practice of digital research.

We ended just as we were beginning, and far too soon . . . A la prochain!