Digital Methods Initiative - Summer School 2022

4 - 15 July 2022 

Call for participation 

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual Summer School on 'Vision methodologies'. The format is that of a (social media and web) data sprint, with tutorials as well as hands-on work for telling stories with data. There is also a programme of keynote speakers. It is intended for advanced Master's students, PhD candidates and motivated scholars who would like to work on (and complete) a digital methods project in an intensive workshop setting.

Vision methodologies: Research affordances and critique of new visual analysis online

Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen have produced a withering critique of the data behind computer vision software and other AI applications. In Excavating AI, the project they describe as dataset archaeology, they question the enterprise of image labelling, particularly in the category of ‘persons’, and discuss how sets of labels encompass problematic worldviews. Among the training data sets they scrutinise is ImageNet, the very large set of tagged images with a variety of shocking (and more sensible) labels. In 2019 ImageNet removed images of people, together with their labels, leading to questions of why the images were sourced as they were and labelled as they had been. Despite the removal (and the questions surrounding it) these images and their labels already have downstream effects, they argue, having served to train vision software, among other uses. The critique has opened a debate both within the research communities behind the image sets as well as outside them, asking how to ‘de-bias’ both the training data and the applications that use them as well as whether to label at all (or how to do so fairly).

Similar scrutiny has not as yet been made of other aspects of computer vision analytical outputs (and inputs). In the dual effort to both critique and repurpose, the Summer School inquires into the affordances of computer vision for media research, not just the labelling but also especially the study of image circulation via reverse image search as well as the contextual tagging of images, otherwise known as web entities. We also discuss a series of methods to augment automated image analysis through such data enrichment strategies as emoji and hashtag linkage.

At the Summer School there are the usual social media tool training tutorials for working on single and cross-platform analysis, but also continued attention to thinking through and proposing how to work critically with social media data, both from mainstream social media platforms as well as so-called alt tech.

Apart from the keynotes and the training tutorials, there are also empirical and conceptual projects that participants work on. Projects from the past Summer and Winter Schools include: Detecting Conspiratorial Hermeneutics via Words & Images, Mapping the Fringe on Telegram; Greenwashing, in_authenticity & protest; Searching constructive/authentic posts in media comment sections, Mapping deepfakes with digital methods and visual analytics, “Go back to plebbit”: Mapping the platform antagonism between 4chan and Reddit, Profiling Bolsobots Networks, Infodemic cross-platform analysis, Post-Trump Information Ecology, Streams of Conspirational Folklore, and FilterTube: Investigating echo chambers, filter bubbles and polarization on YouTube. The most recent school had some of the following projects: Climate imaginaries; Repurposing Google Ads; What is a meme, technically speaking?; Tracing the genealogy and change of TikTok audio memes; Google Autocomplete: Racist results still?; and OK Boomer on Twitter.


Summer School ’22 organisers: Richard Rogers and Guillen Torres, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. Application information at https://www.digitalmethods.net

Prof. Richard Rogers
Media Studies
University of Amsterdam

 

Information

For all details about this Summer Course, please visit the Digital Methods website below. 

https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/SummerSchool2022

 

Course information:

  • Dates: 4-15 July 2022
  • Tuition fee: € 895
  • Registration deadline: 3 June 2022
  • Academic director: Richard Rogers
  • Organizers: Guillén Torres
  • Academic level: all graduate levels - Master's, PhD candidates and professionals/scholars
  • Credits: 6 ECTS 
  • Field of study: New Media and Digital Culture
  • Location: Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Summer school philosophy

The Digital Methods Summer School is exploratory and experimental. It is not a setting for ‘just’ tool training or for principally tool-driven research. Substantive research projects are conceived and carried out. Participants are encouraged to ‘span time with their issue’ and the materials. In other words, we heed Alexander Galloway’s admonition about data and tool-driven work: “Those who were formerly scholars or experts in a certain area are now recast as mere tool users beholden to the affordances of the tool — while students spend ever more time mastering menus and buttons, becoming literate in a digital device rather than a literary corpus.”[1] We encourage device and corpus literacy! The device training we ask you to do prior to the Summer School through online tutorials, and at the Summer School itself, in a kind of flipped learning environment (if you'll excuse the overused phrase), we would like to believe that you have familiarised yourself already with the tools (and are driven, to complete the thought). During the Summer School we will discuss and tinker with the nitty-gritty, aim to invent new methods, techniques and heuristics and create the first iterations of compelling work to be shared.

[1] Alexander Galloway (2014)." The Cybernetic Hypothesis," Differences. 25(1):107-131. See page 127.


About the Summer School

The Digital Methods Summer School, founded in 2007 together with the Digital Methods Initiative, is directed by Professor Richard Rogers, Chair in New Media & Digital Culture and Department Chair at Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. The Summer School is one training opportunity provided by the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI). DMI also has a Winter School, held the first week of January. Both Schools have a technical staff as well as a design staff, drawn from the ranks of Density Design in Milan. The Schools also rely on a technical infrastructure of servers hosting tools and storing data. 

In a culture of experimentation and skill-sharing, participants bring or log on with their laptops, learn method, undertake research projects, make reports, tools and graphics and write them up on the Digital Methods wiki. The Summer School concludes with final presentations. Often there are subject matter experts from non-governmental or other organizations who present their analytical needs and issues at the outset and the projects seek to meet those needs, however indirectly.

Please see previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2021. See also previous Digital Methods Winter Schools, 2009-2022.

The Digital Methods Initiative was founded with a grant from the Piet Mondriaan Foundation, the public cultural funding organization. The Digital Methods Summer and Winter Schools are self-sustaining.

Credits and completion certificate

Completion certificate and transcript for 6 ECTS are granted to participants who follow the Summer School program, and complete a significant contribution to a Summer School project as evidenced by co-authorship of the project reports as well as final (joint) presentation slides. Templates for the project report as well as for the presentation slides are supplied. Please note that certificates of completion and the transcripts are the same. There are no other certificates or proof of participation supplied.

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