1 - 12 July 2024 



Opening Time:
1 July at 9.15am Amsterdam time. Please be punctual!

Opening Day Location:
To be announced

Everyday location:
Digital Methods Initiative
University of Amsterdam
Turfdraagsterpad 9
1012 XT Amsterdam


Digital Methods Initiative - Summer School 2024

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual Summer School on 'Visual methods: From platform aesthetics and data visualisation to AI hermeneutics'. 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. For a preview of what the event is like, you can view short video clips from previous editions of the School.

From platform aesthetics and data visualisation to AI hermeneutics

The application of visual methods to online culture has swung between the hermeneutical tradition of interpretation to the formalisms of visualisation and, most recently, to the question of how to interpret generated images. In the interpretative tradition, platforms have visual styles that are carried forward when one posts. There may be a dominant aesthetic that then is extolled in the comments and scoring systems. For example, the term 'Instagramism' captures a 'look' or mise-en-scène associated with the platform, and how well one performs it is reflected in comment space, together with the metrics. Platforms may have preferred communicative styles and means of expression such as memes and emoji. The style is also an affordance aesthetic, where one's knowledge of platform vernacular is displayed in a post that maintains a thread or in a well chosen reaction that closes it. These posts, comments, reactions, replies, threads, and conversation stoppers are also datapoints which depending on their combination and other meta would be visualised in specific manners. Learning to visualise (and when to visualise) are central to visual methods for the study of online data and images. Collections of images may be visualised or they may be datified and then visualised. Most recently, the study of image generation by AI platforms has multiple points of departure. Computational hermeneutics, or the analysis of the histories and styles extended in computational outputs, focuses on how the visual is the product of certain algorithms, models and/or architectures. For example, in AI hermeneutics there are outputs that one may discern through the model of generation such as diffusion or 'style transfer'. The Summer School takes up questions of how to study current visual platform aesthetics and affordances, online data visualisation, image collections, datafied images as well as generative AI image outputs. The first week has as its focus visual methods for visual data and interpreting AI; among the specific focal points are large (and small) image collections. The second week highlights visual platform affordances, taking up the study of different platform types, e.g., the post-and-comment platform as well as the tweet-and-reply space with threads.



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

Instructions, project descriptions and welcome package (as they become available)


Course information:

  • Dates: 1-12 July 2024
  • Tuition fee: € 795
  • Registration deadline: rolling admissions until 31 May 2024
  • Academic director: Richard Rogers
  • Organizers: Guillén Torres, Kamila Koronska
  • Academic level: all graduate levels - Master's, PhD candidates and professionals/scholars
  • Credits: 6 ECTS 
  • Field of study: New Media and Digital Culture
  • Location: In-person. University of Amsterdam, Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, the Netherlands

School philosophy

The Digital Methods Winter 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 School through online tutorials, and at the 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 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, a part of the Digital Methods Initiative, is directed by Professor Richard Rogers, Chair in New Media & Digital Culture, 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 in early 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 their laptops, learn method, undertake research projects, make reports, tools and graphics and write them up on the Digital Methods wiki. The 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, 2007-2023. See also previous Digital Methods Winter Schools, 2009-2023.

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 School program, and complete a significant contribution to a School project as evidenced by co-authorship of the project report 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.