Travel Grant 2013-14: Amanda Herring

Amanda Herring, Art and Art History

Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI)
June 5-10, 2013
University of Victoria
British Columbia, Canada

Name/Type of Event

The Digital Humanities Institute gathers a group of international scholars from the arts, humanities, and social sciences to discuss and learn about new and emerging digital technologies and how they can be utilized in research and teaching. The week-long program consists of coursework, seminars, and lectures.

Relevance of Event for Applicant's Teaching, the Applicant's Involvement in the Event, and Expected Learning or Outcome

Attendance at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) will be an invaluable opportunity to increase my knowledge and involvement with emerging technologies and their value in the classroom. During the week-long, I will have the opportunity to attend lectures and colloquium by scholars in a variety of disciplines that directly address the use of digital humanities in pedagogy and research, and attend an intensive course focused on one type of emerging technology. I have enrolled in the course, 3D Modeling for the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. As an art historian who specialized in the art and archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome, my scholarship and teaching focus on how the study of art objects and monuments help to illuminate our understanding of the world and human culture. The creation of three-dimensional models of ancient buildings helps to illuminate our understanding of the world and human culture. The creation of three-dimensional models of ancient buildings helps to directly address this goal. Digital reconstructions of the city of ancient Rome, the Temple of Aman-Ra at Karnak in Egypt, and the prehistoric caves at Lascaux, which are available on the internet, help students to experience ancient art in a way that goes beyond slides alone.

I would like to develop similar programs and skills that can address the needs of my own teaching and scholarship directly, and I believe that attendance at the DHSI can further this goal. For example, my own research focuses on the Hellenisitic Temple of Hekate at Lagina in Asia Minor. Lagina housed the only major temple to Hekate, the goddess of crossroads and the transitions between life and death. This temple represents an important moment in the development of Hellenistic architecture and culture. By understanding this temple, with its unique goddess and unusual architectural and sculptural design, we can better understand how Greek cultural and artistic ideas were transformed to meet the needs of a local population. Yet, I rarely spend significant time on Lagina in my classes because of the difficulty of teaching the site to undergraduates due to its ruined state. The development of a digital method would allow my students to understand the building in a way not possible though slides alone, and explore the site from the perspective of experiential architecture. Architecture in inherently functional, and the meaning of a unique building such as that at Lagina can only be truly understood if we study the temple in terms of usage. The discipline of art history has the opportunity to change how we look at art in the classroom with the use of digital technology such as three-dimensional models, and I hope to be on the forefront of this movement, passing my own knowledge on to my colleagues in both the art history department and those in related fields such as classics and archaeology.

Travel Report

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute afforded me the opportunity to attend lectures and discussions on the value of the Digital Humanities in academia and to interact with an international group of scholars working in the discipline. The majority of my time was dedicated to an intensive course on 3D modeling, in which I learning how to use SketchUp software. The class constructed a model of a nineteenth-century building in Victoria recreating its original, historical appearance. I also attended a series of lectures on the applications of 3D modeling. One speaker explained 3D scanning, and explored how art historians and archaeologists had used it in their own research and teaching, provided me with a number of examples of how to modify these technologies for my own teaching. For instance, i foresee having my students create a model of Sacred Heart Chapel in order to learn about the structure of church buildings. The institute introduced me to new methods of approaching the art of the ancient world, while the knowledge I gained will help me to create models of ancient buildings which will be invaluable in me research and teaching.