Congratulations to Winners of the Compute Canada Digital Humanities Summer Institute Scholarships

February 5, 2016

St. John’s, NL – ACENET is pleased to congratulate the winning teams of the two Compute Canada scholarships to the June 2016 Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), to be held at the University of Victoria. Both scholarships have been awarded to Dalhousie University researchers teamed with ACENET research consultants.

The winning projects are:

Creating a Home for User-Generated Content, Dr. Darren Abramson (Dalhousie University Philosophy Department) and Dr. Craig Squires (ACENET Systems Administrator); and

A Walk in the Park: A Mobile Application for Atlantic Canada’s Urban Green Spaces, Dr. Kate Scarth (Dalhousie University English Department) and Dr. Chris Geroux (ACENET Computational Research Consultant).

Founded in 2001, DHSI is the largest training event in the world for the digital humanities. It now counts over 1,800 alumni and will offer 40 courses over two weeks, continuing to act as a model for, and direct supporter of, other similar events around the globe.

Compute Canada is committed to strengthening its understanding of digital humanities and to supporting the growth of research in this field. The two scholarships are designed to not only support digital humanities research, but to enhance the skills of Compute Canada’s research consultants in this growing field. Each scholarship pairs a digital humanities researcher with a Compute Canada research consultant, and covers the registration for both team members and the travel costs for the research consultant.

“ACENET is thrilled that the winning submissions were both from Atlantic Canada”, says Ann MacKenzie, ACENET’s Chief Executive Officer. “This further demonstrates the contributions that researchers in our region are making in this important and growing area – one that ACENET is committed to supporting.”

Dr. Andrew Rutenberg, ACENET’s Principal Investigator and a physics researcher at Dalhousie, agrees. “Advanced research computing is not just for the physical sciences! It’s great to see researchers in the arts and humanities augmenting their traditional approaches with these new tools to take their work in interesting new directions.”

DHSI is taking place June 5th to 17th, 2016. For more information and to register, visit the DHSI website.

Winning Projects Overviews:

Creating a Home for User-Generated Content, Co-applicants Dr. Darren Abramson & Dr. Craig Squires

As of June, 2012 the Canadian Copyright Act contains an exception to copyright infringement that is unique in the developed world. Section 29.21 now permits the creation of new copyrightable works using copyrighted material so long as:

  • the new work is used for non-commercial purposes;
  • the source material is credited;
  • the source material used was not obtained by infringing copyright; and,
  • the new work does not adversely affect the source material.

There is evidence that the creation of so-called ‘user-generated content’ is fundamental to human creative processes1, and that the 29.21 exception has the potential to unleash “positive economic, social and cultural effects”.2 There is also evidence that commercial computing resources cannot be used to help unleash these effects.3 This “2921 project” entails the construction of a portable, publicly-licensed web application that is run for a trial period on academic resources. The intention is for the public to gain a stable tool that can be used to take advantage of the user-generated content exception for Canadian-hosted copyrighted material. The initial focus is on user-generated musical works, but the project model is extensible to other forms of arts and humanities including user-generated textual works and virtual identities. Success in this project would lead to large amounts of transaction-generated information for which visualization would aid in reaching research conclusions concerning the nature of creative collaboration.

1 Dennett, Daniel C. “In Darwin’s wake, where am I?.” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association. American Philosophical Association, 2001.

2 Murray, L. J., & Trosow, S. E. (2013). Canadian copyright: A citizen’s guide 2nd Ed. Between the Lines.

3 See for example This article fails to clarify that the content ‘Madeon’ is concerned about being taken down is user-generated content, of the type protected by Section 29.21 in Canada, not goods rivalrous to the copyrighted content of major labels.

A Walk in the Park: A Mobile Application for Atlantic Canada’s Urban Green Spaces, Co-applicants Dr. Kate Scarth & Dr. Chris Geroux

A Walk in the Park is rooted in Kate Scarth’s eighteenth-century and Romantic-period research, transferring the methodology of London’s Green Geographies to the British colonial towns of Atlantic Canada, starting with Halifax. Understandings of class, place and identity in the Romantic-period writings of the radical John Thelwall will be a framework for exploring Halifax between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries. An interactive mobile application will be developed that supports a virtual audio-visual tour of Halifax green spaces. This activist tour will combine literary, historical, and contemporary voices, engaging individuals and groups who use green spaces, including popular Point Pleasant Park (with its eighteenth-century roots) and community gardens in marginalized areas. By contributing their voices, the silenced and disinherited of our own time will be both part of and an audience for this research, thereby bringing Thelwall’s democratic legacy alive. This project will be a template for digital humanities work that combines literary criticism, issues of space/place, mobile applications, big data, public engagement, and/or social activism.