The Humanities and the Digital: Archiving and Pedagogy

QUEZON CITY—The project teams of the Philippine Performance Archive held a digital humanities symposium at the Microtel, Technohub from November 15 to 16, 2017. Participants consisted of professors, students, and researchers from various UP constituent units. The symposium serves as a culminating event for the series of workshops held throughout UP campuses last year.

On the first day of the symposium, Dr. Joanne Tompkins (University of Queensland), through Skype, delivered a lecture about the use and importance of data visualization technologies in recreating performance and performance spaces. Dr. Tompkins cited the 3D virtual reconstruction of the Australian War Memorial in Art of the Nation, the Recreation of the Rose Theatre, and several other ongoing projects. Visualizing performance spaces, as Dr. Tompkins argued, not only functions to preserve places of memory but also provides present viewers a fuller experience and contextualization of the past performance.

Prof. Frode Helland (University of Oslo) then delivered a presentation on digital archiving methods and analysis for IbsenStage, the performance and research database of Henrik Ibsen’s works. With the massive data collected in IbsenStage, researchers then traced and mapped the categorized performances across the globe and for set periods of time.

In his lecture, Prof. Peter Sy, Digital Humanities Specialist of the Philippine Performance Archive, talked about cost effective tools and techniques in creating and maintaining digital archives. He shared open-access software for digital archiving and emphasized the importance of practicing a systematic workflow in archiving projects.

Dr. Jonathan Bollen of the University of New South Wales delivered the last session for day one of the symposium. Using AuStage, Dr. Bollen shared methods for data visualization for better analysis of collected data about theatre and performances, and also defined key terms for the database.

The next day’s session started with Ms. Jenny Fewster of Flinders University discussing issues that arise from the long-term maintenance and management of online performance database, AuStage. The development of AuStage spanned more than a decade, and the project had to adapt to rapidly evolving technologies and other network concerns outside the archive.

Lastly, the project leaders of the Philippine Performance Archive—Dr. Judy Ick, Dr. May Jurilla, Dr. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, Dr. Anril Tiatco, and Dr. Ruth Pison of the UP College of Arts and Letters—held a roundtable discussion sharing their experience in teaching digital humanities the university, issues encountered in their research for the Archive, as well as possible research and innovation directions for the project.

Each session was followed by an open forum where participants inquired about best practices in digital archiving, copyright concerns for online materials, and ideas for expanding the project. Prof. Antonio de Veyra of UP Mindanao and Prof. Jaderick Pabico of UP Los Baños gave brief messages, valuing interdisciplinary collaboration among the UP constituent units. Dr. Patricia Arinto, Faculty Regent and professor at the UP Open University, delivered the concluding message, highlighting the value of open-access education.

View more photos of the symposium on Facebook.
View the symposium program.

Photos by Alexis Bartolome and Aina Ramolete