About ESU


Culture and technology should not be understood as referring to computer science applied to cultural studies. The central concern are the Humanities, which are concerned with culture in the broadest sense. Those fields within the Humanities that integrate technologies and computing in their research and which are at least potentially in dialogue with the questions posed by the Digital Humanities are our privileged addressees.

The school was originally conceived as „European“ in order to emphasise the object of promoting and developing the Digital Humanities within a European context. The applications of participation submitted for the 2. Summer School demonstrated clearly, however, that the Summer School was already acknowledged as an institution in Europe, qua an established European institution.

The adjective „European“ underlines, furthermore, the generally multilingual and multicultural nature of scientific research.


The Arts, directed as they are to the study and preservation of languages, cultures and cultural memory as well as to the translation between cultures represent the most serious challenge to the information and communication technologies (ICTs). The data the Arts habitually use are after all diffuse and much more complex than those handled by the sciences, which automatically come to mind when ICTs are spoken about.

To date the potential that the Arts in general – in the sense of the Humanities – and the digitalisation, description and analysis of humanities content and artefacts in particular possess for the further development of the information and communication technologies, is scarcely taken notice of, if not looked down upon by the Computer and Engineering sciences, and this despite the fact that they could most certainly profit from interaction with it. The fact is, the Arts possess a large number of areas in which computational methods, software and hardware systems can be applied.

But also the Arts themselves in the majority of European countries are still sadly unconscious of the fact that their strength and significance lies among others in the contribution they can make to technological development through challenging the Engineering and Computer Sciences to develop hard- and software solutions for the processing and analysis of the Arts‘ intrinsically diffuse and complex data. Further, the enormous scope for development which better use of the possibilities offered by the employment of the new technologies for their own purposes would open to them, has up to now entered the consciousness of the Humanities in Europe far too little, with the exception perhaps of Great Britain.

An additional strength of the Arts which is consistently overlooked is that precisely those students are following Arts degrees who are so eloquently absent in IT and engineering departments: female students. The Arts themselves make little of this potential and prefer to watch as, from all sides, female students are coaxed and encouraged to desert the Arts in order to take up their studies in the natural sciences and technology. The real task of the Arts, however, ought rightly to consist in tackling this so-called Gender Divide in a more sensitive and farsighted manner, by integrating IT content into degree courses and enabling / empowering students to employ computational methods in their studies. The Arts would in this way be able to contribute convincingly to the breaking down of the division between supposedly ‚hard‘ (male) and ’soft‘ (female) academic disciplines, rather than continuing to sustain such an artificial divide by default.

It is true that during the last three decades a discussion around computer applications and computational methods has developed inside the humanities on a whole, but they are nevertheless hardly ever included in study plans. Furthermore, the question of what happens at the intersection of computing tools with cultural artefacts of all kinds, of how computational methods and tools are used to create new knowledge, of how the objects of study challenge these methods and tools and of how questions have to be formulated if they are to be analyzed by applying computational methods, is rarely asked.

Last but not least, there is still hardly any dialogue between the disciplines although the use of computers or digitalization processes and needs, as shown by Humanities Computing and the Digital Humanities,question more and more the traditional borders between the disciplines, between theory and practice, between technological implementation and research considerations and ask not only for specific tools but also for trans-disciplinary methodologies.

This lack of consciousness, of inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches, as well as the missing teaching of future-oriented and sustainable patterns of thought and methods has negative effects above all when it comes to young scholars, not only in the Humanities but also in Engineering and Computer Sciences.


The Summer School „Culture & Technology“ aims to find a remedy to the situation described under „Background“. In fact, in bringing together young scholars from the Humanities, Engineering and Information Sciences, it creates the conditions for future project-oriented collaboration and networking across the borders of the individual disciplines.

The Summer School seeks to offer a space for the discussion and acquisition of new knowledge, skills and competences in those computer technologies which play a central role in Humanities Computing and which determine every day more and more the work done in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences, as well as in Libraries and Archives everywhere.

The Summer School aims at integrating these activities into the broader context of the Digital Humanities, where questions about the consequences and implications of the application of computational methods and tools to cultural artefacts of all kinds are asked. The Summer School plans to show-case possible realisations of such questions via the presentation of concrete projects.

The Summer School will offer Humanities students in particular the possibility to gain practical knowledge of the application of computational methods to the digitalisation, description, analysis and production of humanities contents and artefacts (languages, texts, images, etc.), to discuss related theoretical questions and to forge new perspectives on the study and preservation of languages, cultures and cultural memory and the translation between cultures.

Computer and Engineering Sciences’ students, for their part, will be given the opportunity at the Summer School to acquire insights into the nature of humanities data, to get to know the areas in the Arts and Humanities in which computational methods are employed, to learn to recognise the difference of the Humanities approach to these methods and to confront themselves with the challenges that work with diffuse and extremely complex data presents for soft- and hardware solutions.


The summer university is directed at an international audience. Students in their final year, graduates, postgraduates, doctoral students, postdocs, teachers, librarians and technical assistants from all over Europe and beyond who are involved in the theoretical, experimental or practical application of computational methods in the various areas of the Humanities, in libraries and archives, or wish to do so are the target audience of the courses.

It addresses also expressively engineers and computer scientist who accept the challenge represented by the Arts and Humanities, who wish to obtain an insight into the application of, and work with, computational methods in the Humanities, and who wish to familiarise themselves with the special demands put on the soft- and hardware systems they develop by arts and humanities-related data.


The Summer School offers a range of parallel workshops on important areas of Digital Humanities. Each workshop consists of a total of 9 or 18 sessions (18 or 36 teaching-hours). The number of participants in each workshop is limited to 10. Participants are requested to bring along their own materials and projects so that what is being taught can be directly applied and tested.


Every day after the close of the workshops a lecture directed not only at the participants of the Summer School, but also at other academics and students will be given. These lectures will revolve around topics like:

  • the impact of the technological development on the Humanities and their dealing with contents and artefacts,
  • the relationship between the Humanities, Computer science and Engineering,
  • the creation of European networks in order to be able to face the needs of young scholars for inter- and trans-disciplinary qualifications

Projects & Posters

The call for the Summer School should also be intended as a call for project or poster presentation.

We expect above all the younger scholars who participate in the Summer University to present their projects or posters.

Next to projects of the participants of the Summer University advanced institutional and / or funded projects by scholars from the Humanities, Computer Science and Engineering will be presented.

With the presentation of projects and posters we aim at show-casing some of the possibilities of technology-based implementations of Humanities research questions and at offering opportunities for the exchange of ideas and for discussions.

We also welcome the presentation of software which has already been extensively tested in the Humanities or has been developed with, among other fields, the Humanities in mind. Commercial software vendors are asked to contact the organizing team directly.

Round tables

The summer school also features public round table discussions on important topics bringing together representatives of the Humanities, of Engineering and Computerscience as well as representatives of ministeries, of cultural and educational institutions, of enterprises, libraries, and archives in order to discuss the importance of the technological development for the individual domains as well as the necessity and possibilities of integrating Humanities and ITCs.

Working languages

With respect to the working languages, the Summer School intends to cross borders as well. In fact, the tendencies towards a more and more monolingual culture of science are countered here by esteem and respect for European multilingualism and the variety of European knowledge cultures.

A European Summer School obviously needs to adopt a working language. English being the first foreign language taught in schools in most European countries, English will serve as a lingua franca. Knowledge of English is thus a prerequisite for the participation at the Summer School. Depending on the knowledge of languages participants and instructors possess, also other languages can be used.

Presenters of projects, furthermore, are expected to do bilingual presentations / posters. This is to ensure that not only the functions of the lingua franca as a means of overarching communication, but also the functions of the mother tongue as a culturally-bound means for the expression of thoughts, ideas and concepts can be realised.

In the case of participants whose mother tongue is identical with the lingua franca, this request aims at a sensibilisation for the differences of knowledge cultures and the enormous achievement which the communication of contents in a foreign language.