• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

‘Our Strength Is in Our Interdisciplinarity, Both Methodologically and Practically’

‘Our Strength Is in Our Interdisciplinarity, Both Methodologically and Practically’

© iStock

What are the necessary digital competencies for students of humanities? Where can they apply their knowledge and skills? What projects in digital humanities are currently underway at HSE University Perm? Dinara Gagarina, HSE University-Perm scholar and the national representative of Digital Humanities Course Registry, answers these and other questions in her interview with the HSE Look.

Dinara Gagarina, Head of Historical Research Group at the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Empirical Studies (Perm); Academic Supervisor of the Master’s in Digital Humanities

In general, digital humanities reflect the processes taking place in science and society today—the digital transformation of everyone and everything. The field is quite relevant because it is interdisciplinary, and these days many discoveries happen precisely at the intersection of disciplines.

DH approaches and methods make it possible to work with the sources ‘exhausted’ by traditional methods thus allowing to obtain scientific knowledge that could not be gained by other methods

We are sure that competencies in digital methods are crucial for future successful careers of humanities graduates (historians and linguists if we talk about HSE Perm) and reflect it in our educational programmes.

Master’s in Digital Humanities

The approach we’ve adopted in our Master’s programme combines, on the one hand, an opportunity to cover a wide range of methods and, on the other hand, to focus on those in which one wishes to specialise—text analysis, GIS technologies, network analysis, databases, media, and data analysis. Furthermore, there is also an opportunity to deepen the knowledge in certain disciplines with the help of intercampus courses. In addition, of course, we teach learners how to code.

It's impossible to provide quality education in this area without scientific research and access to industry, which is primarily the culture sector, such as museums, theaters, libraries, archives, but also the commercial and the non-profit social sector.

Knowledge and technology transfer is very important for us

Moreover, since we connect to the real sector with the research we do, it is important that students participate in projects and see that what they are learning is already in demand in the cultural sphere and the commercial sector. We have projects that are being carried out at the Department of Humanities, the Group for Historical Research and the School of Foreign Languages, which specifically address problems of history, linguistics, anthropology, and cultural studies.

Last year, our students were involved in a project with a local NGO—they created 3D models of architectural objects that children devised on their own. Our students were the so-called digital companions of the project

The project of our student Nikita Matkin, Another City: Mystical Stories of Perm, received an honourable mention in the Best Russian-Language Scientific and Popular Science Works Competition for HSE University employees in the History of Art track.

Right now, we are also planning a project on the history of clothing and involving the Lysvenskaya Hosiery and Glove Factory in it

There are educational projects as well. Since we have several teachers from schools among our students, they initiated a project on bringing digital humanities to schools. Together with young school professionals, who have a broader outlook on education, we are trying to develop digital products for schools and are already testing them in several schools.

Our lecturer Iliana Ismakaeva is working on the educational aspects of virtual reality in cultural heritage preservation (this project is supported by the Potanin Foundation). Moreover, Ulyana Abdulina, a master’s student, is currently developing methods for teaching children as part of this project. This year, she opened a virtual reality studio in her school.

The Team and the Projects

One of the central, institutionally supported projects is a post-war migration project led by professor Kornienko, which is being implemented together with the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University within the framework of Mirror Laboratories Programme. We analyse migration as a key aspect in the formation of social and cultural patterns of Molotov (today’s Perm) and Kaliningrad regions. Nevertheless, we plan to go beyond these regions.

This topic is broad in terms of spatial analysis (for this, we are using GIS technologies) and from the point of view of visualization (e.g., we will visually display the routes of migrations, what items families were taking with them, and how those objects ended up in Kaliningrad or Perm, as well as what their homes looked like during the first years of their migration).

With the arrival of a new postdoc Lilia Panteleeva, who is a sociologist, cultural specialist, anthropologist and linguist, we began developing interdisciplinary digital anthropology. We have high hopes for this field and thus formed an interdisciplinary team and launched a research seminar. Some of our colleagues work on corpus and computational linguistics; Elizaveta Smirnova, for example.

Our team is very small. Methodologically and practically, we are very interdisciplinary, and this is our strength

We have colleagues whose core expertise is history, cultural studies and linguistics, but the team also includes interdisciplinary specialists.

Speaking of cooperation, we value the units we work with throughout the HSE University family. These include the HSE Centre for Digital Humanities, the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, as well as the Nizhny Novgorod and St.Petersburg campuses. We are carrying out a joint project for three years with the Centre for Digital Cultures and Media Literacy.

The project was supported by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation and carried out jointly with the local history museum to study the audience of museums and the possibility of implementing modern technologies in local museums. The Vladimir Potanin Foundation also sponsored the VR course in our master’s programme.

Outside of HSE University, we cooperate with all major cultural institutions and museums of the Perm region—colleagues bring us their cases, our students do something for them

The nearby Museum of Modern Art is very close to us in terms of values—they teach our students and they are members of the State Examination Board. We also cooperate with commercial organisations inside and outside of the Perm region, including IT companies who come to us with master classes and projects.

We also have projects at the intersection of social, educational and marketing aspects of robotics. One of the latest studies, which we completed in December and now expect a large article to be published, is on the educational robotics segment.

We are still very young but I believe in us and our further development

See also:

Student Conference on Computational Linguistics Held at HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod

ConCort 2023, a forum dedicated to research in corpus technology and computer science in the humanities, brought together experts and students from all over Russia. The participants discussed the latest developments in corpus linguistics, including the rapidly developing field of digital humanities.

HSE University-Perm Master's Student Creates Virtual Tour of Museum of Space Biology and Medicine

Viktor Durov, a second-year student of the Master's programme in Digital Humanities and an employee of the Department of Pedagogics and Humanities at Voronezh State Medical University named after N. N. Burdenko, has developed an interactive virtual tour around the Museum of Space Biology and Medicine named after V. V. Antipin in Voronezh.

Mathematicians and Practicing Surgeons to Fight Venous Diseases

One million people in Russia suffer from venous diseases. The ‘Intelligent data analysis for healthcare information systems’ Mirror Lab project brings together expertise in mathematics and medicine in order to better diagnose various conditions in phlebology. Project leader Vasilii Gromov talked to The HSE LooK about its achievements and prospects.

An Economics and Engineering Approach to Energy Supply Development in Remote Areas of Russia

Ilya Dolmatov, Director of the HSE Institute of Economics and Utility Regulation, heads a Mirror Lab project titled ‘Models of Energy Infrastructure Development in Russia’s Remote and Isolated Territories’ and implemented together with a university in Irkutsk. Why is energy efficiency a particularly pressing problem in remote territories? How can economics and engineering work together to solve it? Ilya Dolmatov addressed these and other issues in his interview for The HSE LooK.

Two Russian Regions Cooperate in Migration Studies as Part of Mirror Labs Project

What does Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave Russian territory, have in common with Perm Krai, a region in the Urals? How do researchers use digital humanities methods to study migration? Sergei Kornienko, Leading Research Fellow at the Group for Historical Research (HSE University-Perm), heads the Mirror Lab project ‘Migration as a factor of social transformation of Soviet regions during the post-war reconstruction period: an analysis through digital humanities’. In this interview for The HSE LooK, he talks about this collaboration.

HSE University Collaborates with University in Southern Russia to Compare Values and Identities across Generations and Regions

Is there a system of values that is common to the whole population of Russia? Do values differ across generations? Is it possible to carry out research among refugees? HSE University researchers joined forces with their peers from Kuban State Technological University to study values and intercultural relations across Russian regions as part of a Mirror Labs project. The HSE LooK talked about this cooperation to Nadezhda Lebedeva, Director of the HSE Centre for Sociocultural Research, who heads up the Mirror Lab project, and project participant Victoria Galyapina, Leading Research Fellow at the same Centre.

Harnessing Synergy

Through its Mirror Laboratories project, HSE University develops collaborations with academic institutions across the country. Today, it includes 22 ongoing projects in partnership with 20 universities in mathematics, computer science, economics, sociology, biology, history and many other fields. Marina Litvintseva, Director for Advanced Research at HSE University, coordinates international and mirror laboratory projects. In this year’s second issue of HSE LooK, she talked about the development of mirror laboratories and the future of the project.

IT at HSE Perm: From Academic Projects to Commercial Research

Aleksey Kychkin, Head of the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Empirical Studies, spoke to the HSE Look about his background, industry projects the lab has been doing, and student involvement in research.

HSE University in Perm: ‘We Help Talents Develop in the Region’

Galina E. Volodina has been the Campus Director in Perm since 1997. Under her leadership, the Perm campus has turned into the major player in shaping the region’s future—be it general education, retaining of talents, or R&D. In her interview for the HSE Look, Galina Volodina shares how HSE Perm’s development agenda has been altered and what are its current priorities.

‘Our Distinction Is Our Core Areas of Research’

In his interview for the HSE LooK, Evgenii A. Krouk, the Acting Director of HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics, talks about the distinctive features that set the institute apart, the place of project-based learning on the curriculum, research areas with the highest potential, and his vision for HSE MIEM future development.