Sussex Humanities Lab

SHL Events archive


Past events 2019: 


November 2019

20 November 2019

Mapping Feminists Coding Practices

This one-day symposium held at the Sussex Humanities Lab was the first in a series of events that is exploring feminist coding practices and the historic context of feminism and technology. This first workshop explored some of the affordances and resistances of computational technology. Its aim was to develop a wider understanding of current practices and research which make positive interventions into and within computation, in its widest possible interpretation, from a feminist perspective.

October 2019

21 October 2019

What really counts? A wormhole

A sonic encounter between then and now using archived recordings of teenage boys talking about sex. A worm-hole connects two points in spacetime, in principle allowing travel in time, as well as in space.

The sound installation worked with an archived data set – tape recordings with teenage boys talking about sex in 1990. Using this material we staged a sonic encounter between then & now, analog & digital, us & them, who we were & who we are.

Number is the organising motif of the piece. We noticed numbers in young men’s talk about sex and relationships; we understand the value of words spoken without interruption; we are sensitive to anachronism and the materiality of our media.

The project is a collaboration between two generations of researchers and between digital humanities and social science and was hosted by the Sussex Humanities Lab at the University of Sussex. 'What Really Counts? forms part of a wider project ‘Reanimating data: experiments with people, places and archives’ funded by the ESRC’s Transforming Social Science Initiative.

The installation was visited throughout the day on Monday 21st October, and was followed by a Q&A between 4- 6pm and was open to all.


August 2019

7 August 2019

Listening, Archiving, Curating

In this workshop, participants had a chance to review selected material from the Queer in Brighton and Brighton Transformed oral history collection. Particpants had the opportunity to write descriptive metadata that will help to catalogue items and had the chance to curate content for Queer Codebreakers, which will showcase at the Brighton and Hove Museum (from Dec. 2019)

July 2019

3 July 2019


This year we dedicated part of Brighton Modular Meet to women, trans- and non-binary people. Co funded by the Sussex Humanities Lab and the CHASE Feminist Network, and aided by FACT/// and the Yorkshire Sound Women Network, we held a roundtable discussion on women in music tech and women/trans/non-binary synth-building workshop which was followed by a gig in the evening at Brighton’s Rose Hill pub.

Guest speakers were: Mimi Haddon Roundtable with Jilliene Sellner, Paula Maddox, Alissa DeRubels & Loula Yorke

Software Development in Digital Humanities Labs and Projects

30th July 2019

This workshop explored how software development processes can be actively integrated in Digital Humanities labs and projects and focused on:

1) modes of collaboration between DH & Software Development
2) new professional roles and skill sets (eg. Research Software engineer's career path)
3) software development workflows (with a focus on SDLC) in DH structures/projects and
4) embedding Scrum/Agile methodologies in DH projects.

25 July 2019 

Emute Lab 4: Musically Intelligent Machines

Attendees experienced some weird and wonderful experiments with new sounds and new musical instruments.


MARIJE BAALMAN: gestural live coding
MNISTREL: Live coding and uncanny interfaces
EVERYSONGIOWN: A Quantity Approach to Music Making

More artists joined the event and performed pieces made at the summer AI and music workshop at the The Rose Hill Pub in Brighton

Emutelab is supported by the School of Media, Film and Music.

June 2019

7 June 2019

Discovering Digital Humanities: Realising Interdisciplinarity

A one day free event for early career researchers and students to find out more about the Digital Humanities and to discover what ‘digital’ research looks like in practice. Delegates were introduced to examples of a diverse array of projects and methodological approaches within the Digital Humanities. Through a series of interactive sessions and presentations, attendees had the opportunity to form interdisciplinary connections and to discover, learn and play with the resources available  on campus in the Sussex Humanities Lab.

17 June 2019

The Ghosts of Digital Media

Mark Goodall presents a paper on media archaeology and the avant-garde. Followed by book launch of Roberts & Goodall (eds.), New Media Archaeologies.

This paper focuses on the experimental nature of digital media and the avant-garde with reference to the field of media archeology. The chapter discusses some of the potential applications of avant-garde methodology to objects and material relating to the field of media archaeology. It extends the calls already made by media archaeology theorists (cf. Fickers and van den Oever) into the domain of experimental techniques and practices and offers examples of where and how radical texts and methods may be applied to curatorial work and academic research.

Mark Goodall is Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Bradford. His research interests include cult, horror and experimental cinema, popular music and the avant-garde, and the mondo films of the 1960s and 1970s. His publications include Sweet and Savage: The World through the Shockumentary Film Lens (Headpress 2006, 2nd ed. 2017), Crash Cinema: Representation in Film (Cambridge Scholars, 2007) and Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation (Headpress, 2013).

The talk was followed by a book launch for Roberts and Goodall (eds.), New Media Archaeologies (Amsterdam University Press, 2019).

New Media Archaeologies highlights innovative work in the developing field of media archaeology. It explores the relationship between theory and practice and the relationship between media archaeology and other disciplines. There are three sections to the collection proposing new possible fields of research for media studies: Media Archaeological Theory; Experimental Media Archaeology; Media Archaeology at the Interface. The book includes essays from acknowledged experts in this expanding field, such as Thomas Elsaesser, Wanda Strauven and Jussi Parikka.


May 2019

1 May 2019

Conserving Software-Based Artworks

An introduction to conservation approaches for software-based artworks, with a particular focus on disk imaging and emulation techniques.

Software-based artworks pose many challenges to conservators charged with their care. Tom Ensom and Chris King will be visiting the Sussex Humanities Lab to introduce approaches developed through their recent work, with a particular focus on disk imaging and emulation techniques.

The long-term preservation of software-based artworks is challenging to negotiate. Such artworks may involve complex systems of interconnected components and actors, aging technologies with a variable degree of significance, and boundaries which extend into their surrounding environment. Disk imaging and emulation techniques have become increasingly important tools in the stabilisation, analysis and presentation of software-based artworks.

Tom and Chris are time-based media conservators who work closely with Tate's collection of software-based artworks. They will be supported in this workshop by SHL's own Alex Peverett.

20  May 2019

Digital Digging - Andrew Flinn presents a research seminar on community archives and participatory knowledge production.

Drawing upon my experience of working with community archives and studying participatory knowledge production this talk will give an overview of the practice and understanding of community-based archives in the UK (and internationally), including digital archiving initiatives. Introducing Sven Lindqvist’s 1970’s Dig Where You Stand as a still relevant manifesto for today and examining some social movement approaches to archiving and the useful past, I will illustrate the motivations, objectives and activities of both physical and digital community archives. I will argue that despite many of these community archives emerging from an activist agenda of use and knowledge production rather than centres for preservation of culture and heritage, there are still many concerns about their long-term sustainability.

Andrew Flinn is a Reader in Archive Studies and Oral History at University College, a long-term member of the UK Community Archives and Heritage Group and author of ‘Working with the past: making history of struggle part of the struggle’ in Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools, eds Choudry & Vally (2018)

23 May

Feminist Maps and Mapping Feminism: Lessons from The Women’s Atlas

Joni Seager presents her feminist classic The Women’s Atlas in discussion with a new map of the UK Women's Liberation Movement from the BOWW team.

A unique opportunity to hear Professor Joni Seager, pioneering feminist geographer and author of the award-winning feminist classic The Women’s Atlas, whose 5th edition has just been released by progressive map publisher Myriad Editions.

Joni Seager has written a visually stunning survey of up-to-the-minute global data redefines what is meant by an atlas. Comprehensive and accessible, her incisive prose combined with the creative use of illustration, charts and infographics portray as never before how women are living across continents and cultures—the advances that have been made and the distances still to be travelled. Professor Divya Tolia-Kelly, Dr Pollyanna Ruiz and Amy Todd will respond.

Followed by a presentation of a developing map of the UK Women’s Liberation Movement from The Business of Women’s Words project and  discussion on feminist mapping and the sharing of ideas.

April 2019
1 April
Three Species Challenges: Toward a General Ecology of Cognitive Assemblages
Keynote speaker: N. Katherine Hayles (Duke)
SHL Research Seminar Series

Biological discoveries about the complexity of species formation and endosymbiosis, along with charges of “speciesism” and its structural alliances with racism, have made it difficult to talk about species at all. Despite these objections, this talk will argue that there is value in thinking about species from a revised viewpoint that includes species-in-common (for example, humans), species-in-biosymbiosis (humans and gut bacteria, for instance) and species-in-cybersymbiosis (for example, cognitive assemblages between humans and computational media). The talk will discuss limitations in Erich Hoerl’s recent efforts to forge a “general ecology” centred on computational mediation and will offer an alternative framework based on cognitive assemblages.

3 April
Dataset Publishing and Compliance
Dive into the practicalities and best practice of research data management. Workshop, all levels.
Speakers: Sharon Webb and Adam Harwood

Data repositories are already an important part of humanities research, and increasingly a requirement of humanities funding. In this open workshop, Sharon Webb and Adam Harwood will dive into the practicalities and best practice of research data management. We’ll explore how best to use metadata to describe and organise digital objects, touch on issues within digital preservation, and learn how to use current university infrastructure to deposit datasets.

10 April
Network Visualization
A practical workshop introducing network analysis and visualization. All levels.
Speaker: Andrew Salway

In an increasingly interconnected world, the network has emerged as a major category of analysis for humanities and the social sciences research.  In our fifth 2019 workshop, Andrew Salway introduces the popular dataviz tool Gephi, exploring how dry, cryptic datasets can efflorescence into colourful significance … and exposing some of the hidden choices that underlie the dataviz we encounter in everyday life. 

11 April
Listening Mirrors is a sound art installation and instrument that promotes shared modes of musical expression for musicians and non-musicians alike.
Speakers: Cecile Chevalier & Chris Kiefer

Listening Mirrors is a sound art installation and instrument that promotes shared modes of musical expression for musicians and non-musicians alike. In its construction and interaction design Listening Mirrors investigates ways in which collective sonic expression can be made possible using Audio Augmented Reality technology (AAR) and acoustic mirrors, whilst exploring how such environments promote collaborative sonic expression.  The instrument is composed of a virtual acoustic mirror (an IOS app built with Open Frameworks, LibPD with bone-conduction headphones) and a parabolic acoustic mirror (built from aluminium metal sheets, piano wires and 3D printed joints, and brought under tension with double bass strings, bending each piano wire and aluminium sheet to form its parabolic shape), all networked and excited by transducers that stream sound from the real and virtual sonic environments. The audience’s experience is structure in two parts:(1) the set-up of the mobile app and wearing of bone-conductor headphones, (2) the audience is invited to play with and/or perform with the instrument. When experiencing the installation, sound from the environment is recorded and streamed in real time through the mobile apps, digitally processed and merged with the audience's own hearing through the AAR environment. Sound streams are also transduced through the acoustic mirror.  The mirror itself is a playable instrument.

Cecile Chevalier is an artist and lecturer in Digital Media. She works with interactive art installation, to explore forms of digital cultural transformation in relation to embodiment-technologies, collective instruments, performativity and performance, and collective memory. Her background is in Fine Art, Crafts & Design and Media Studies, while her current artworks and investigations draw from an interdisciplinary practices between conceptual and computational art and participatory/play theory. Critically, Cécile investigates how collective and cultural expressions have been and are being transformed through computational technology altering not only the ways in which cultural expressions are embodied and performed, but also how they are thought about. 

Chris Kiefer is a computer-musician and musical instrument designer, specialising in musician-computer interaction, physical computing, and machine learning.  He performs with custom-made instruments including malleable foam interfaces, touch screen software, interactive sculptures and a modified self-resonating cello.  Chris’ research often focuses on participatory design and development of interactive music systems in everyday settings, including digital instruments for children with disabilities, and development of the NETEM networked score system for musical ensembles.  His work also concentrates on machine learning and signal processing for audio and interaction, with a particular emphasis on nonlinear and dynamical systems. He has developed and published games and instruments for mobile devices.

March 2019
1 March

Book launch of Contingent Computation: Abstraction, Experience, and Indeterminacy in Computational Aesthetics by M. Beatrice Fazi.

Introduced and chaired by Kate O'Riordan (Sussex), a panel discussion with the author Beatrice Fazi (Sussex) and with respondents Olga Goriunova (Royal Holloway) and Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths) will be followed by drinks and nibbles.

About the book:

In Contingent Computation, M. Beatrice Fazi offers a new theoretical perspective through which we can engage philosophically with computing. The book proves that aesthetics is a viable mode of investigating contemporary computational systems. It does so by advancing an original conception of computational aesthetics that does not just concern art made by or with computers, but rather the modes of being and becoming of computational processes. Contingent Computation mobilises the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead in order to address aesthetics as an ontological study of the generative potential of reality. Through a novel philosophical reading of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and of Turing’s notion of incomputability, Fazi finds this potential at the formal heart of computational systems, and argues that computation is a process of determining indeterminacy. This indeterminacy, which is central to computational systems, does not contradict their functionality. Instead, it drives their very operation, albeit in a manner that might not always fit with the instrumental, representational and cognitivist purposes that we have assigned to computing.

Contingent Computation by M. Beatrice Fazi is a brilliantly original work arguing that the contingent does not lie outside computation but at its very heart, in the demonstrations by Gödel and Turing that some problems are incomputable and that formal systems, including computational axiomatics, are incomplete. Her approach opens our understanding of what computers can—and cannot—do to new modes of analysis that introduce contingency into technical systems in an entirely new way, refuting views that see computers as merely mechanical systems incapable of novelty. Highly recommended for humanities scholars and others interested in thinking about the role that computers play in a world that remains unknowable in its full complexity. — N. Katherine Hayles, James B. Duke Professor of Literature, Duke University

This remarkable book proposes a radically new vision of computation: one that will equally surprise the rationalists and cognitivists, on the one hand, and the vitalists and affectivists, on the other. M. Beatrice Fazi shows how Turing-style computing -- logical, discrete, and pre-programmed as it is -- also necessarily involves indeterminacy, novelty, and invention. — Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University

7 March
FACT/// Feminist Approaches to Computational Technology Network

A one-day forum to inform the creation of a feminist, non-binary, trans inclusive network of individuals that work/research/think/make with/in/about computational technology.  The outcomes and findings of the forum will directly impact the nature and shape of such a space which is designed to promote and support a feminist approach to computational technology. A CHASE Feminist Network Award supported by the Sussex Humanities Lab. 
Led by Sharon Webb & Cécile Chevalier

Places limited, however, additional events will be organised to support and developed FACT/// network. For more information, please contact Cécile Chevalier at

13 March
Web Scraping with Wget

James Baker introduces Wget and the Programming Historian. Digital humanities skills workshop, all levels.

Wget is a very handy programme for retrieving or ‘scraping’ material from the web. In this workshop, James Baker introduces your computer’s command line interface, and shows you how to write simple scripts to automate bulk-downloading from the web. At the end of the workshop, James will support you in scraping a website of your choice. You’ll also learn about The Programming Historian, a fantastic resource to gain more digital skills in the future.

14 March
Reading group: Materialism, Work and Care

Reading Chapter 4: Helen Thornham's book Gender and Digital Culture: Between Irreconcilability and the Datalogical. Available via university library.

We're looking forward to bringing together those interested in the Materialism, Work and Care reading group on 

In advance of Helen Thornham's visit to Sussex later in March, we thought this might be a good opportunity to discuss a chapter from her newly published book: Gender and Digital Culture: Between Irreconcilability and the Datalogical.

We will be reading Chapter 4: 'Being Known: Autom-data-ed bodies, maternal subjectivity'. pp. 69-103 (35 pages). The book is available online via the the university library and the chapter can be printed from there.

14 March

Sonic Writing - A book launch in the SHL
Thor Magnusson’s book Sonic Writing is now out with Bloomsbury Academic. The Sussex Humanities Lab hosts a book launch.

Thor Magnusson’s book Sonic Writing: Technologies of Material, Symbolic and Signal Inscriptions is now out with Bloomsbury Academic. This monograph is the final outcome of an AHRC funded research project that ran between 2016 and 2018. The book is divided into four key parts: instruments (material inscriptions), notation (symbolic inscriptions), recording (signal inscriptions), and new music technologies, or how our analogue and electronic traditions are translated and applied in the design of digital instruments.

The book launch will be held in the Sussex Humanities Lab on March 14th - all welcome! In addition to drinks and snacks, there will be musical performances by Emute Lab colleagues: Feedback CellAlex Peverett and Andrew Duff, and Evelyn Ficarra. Thor Magnusson will give a short introduction to the context of the book and it will be presented by Prof. Caroline Bassett, the director of the SHL.

18 March

Digital Studies Network: Algorithmic governmentality: from machine zones to fake news
This is a seminar from researchers in the Digital Studies research network.

Anne Alombert (Paris Nanterre), Technology, territories and power: from “control” to “capacitation”

First, I will try to show how the digitalisation and globalisation of the technical system and infrastructures deeply transforms the relation between power and territory : I will try to describe the passage from a « disciplinary power » (disciplinary institutions described by Foucault) to a « control power » (societies of control described by Deleuze) through the advent of « algorithmic governmentality » which substitutes statistical normativity to juridical normativity - that is, which substitutes technological efficiency to legal authority (Berns and Rouvroy). I will try to show that this leads to a passage from « territorial sovereignty » to « functional sovereignty » (Pasquale) where the power of political territorial institutions is disrupted by the power that global giant tech companies directly exerts on people through the global technological devices and infrastructures.


I will then try to show that this passage from territorial to functional sovereignty threatens the local and singular knowledge (know hows, arts of living, theoretical knowledge) of the inhabitants and the social and cultural diversity of the territories. This disintegration of « territorial lives » (which are local process of psychic and collective individuation) through the imposition of automated technological system and standardized ways of live creates a massive disorientation and a global malaise, which are exploited by authoritative governments, promising anxious populations a return to closed territories restricted by national boundaries and identities.

In order to avoid the alternative between the functional sovereignty of giant tech companies and the authoritative power of nationalist governments, it thus seems necessary to give people the power to adopt their digital technical milieu through the development of new local knowledge and new social organizations. These are precisely the aims of “contributive economy” and “contributive research” suggested by B. Stiegler and the association Ars Industrialis and experimented in Plaine Commune’s territory : I will finally try to show how this experimental project realize a new articulation between power, technologies and territories, based on inhabitants’ capacitation, contributive technologies, learning territories and open localities.

Gerald Moore (Durham), 'The Limbic Capitalocene: On Machine Zones and Fake News'

Developing on insights from Malabou, Stiegler, Latour and Fredric Jameson, as well as recent research in neurobiology and the social sciences, we can begin to theorise capitalism around the history of manufactured addictions. Our addiction to digital devices is just the latest stage of this history, which, building on work by David Courtwright, we can see as culminating in the ‘limbic Capitalocene’. Our screen-fixated existence is the result of increasingly honed ‘dopamining’, or an economic model organised around the industrial exploitation of the dopamine system. Fake news, read in this light, becomes a question of information addiction, where techniques like variable-dosage clickbaiting, the harvesting of behavioral surplus and psychographic profiling cause ‘buzz-value’ to negate the value of truth, and where online echo chambers become the equivalent of what the anthropologist, Natasha Dow Schüll, terms the anxiolytic ‘machine zones’ of the gambling addict. For the sake of averting climate collapse, the key question pertains to how we should treat a planet hooked on consumption.

20 March
Sussex Humanities Lab Game Studies Event

A hands-on opportunity to engage with systems and software from the history of video and computer games and to meet fellow Games Studies researchers.

This event will not only be a chance to explore SHL's media archaeology resources, reflect on media archaelogical theory and practice -- and play some games! -- but also an opportunity to meet others across the university involved in gaming, game studies, and game design, and to take stock of the state of the art and the future of game studies at Sussex.
With Sussex launching its new Games and Multimedia Environments degree next year, the event will also create space for timely dialogue around games studies at Sussex. What else are we already doing around games at Sussex? How can we bring together existing research and teaching around gaming to share resources, projects, ideas, and opportunities?
This event is open to all and there is no need to book.

21 March
Navigating Privacy and Publics: Childhood and Parenting in a Digital Age

Staff and students are invited to a Sussex Humanities Lab workshop exploring how boundaries between public and private are navigated and negotiated by children and families in a digital age. The workshop is open to all.

‘Children’s intergenerational privacy relations around digital technologies in Turkey

Speaker: Hamide Elif Üzümcü

This ongoing research aims to understand how parents and children consider children’s privacy through practises of media uses (phone, tablet, computer and video game consoles). It addresses privacy in two categories based on Westin (1967), Altman (1975) and Schoeman's (2007) definitions. First, privacy is examined as a regulation of contact as desired. Then it is discussed around one’s control on access to personal information. Using participatory action techniques such as playing online games together, making TikTok videos, watching children’s favourite YouTube channels, going to the movies together, 30 families with 11 to 13-year-old children and siblings in nine urban and rural neighbourhoods in the city of Eski┼čehir in Turkey have been in-depth interviewed. The interviews were supported with revisits and ethnographic notes. In this presentation, preliminary findings on the construction of children's privacy boundaries around uses of digital media tools within families will be discussed. 

‘Parents’ conceptualisations of data and privacy in a study of children’s everyday lives’.

Speakers: Victoria Jaynes and Liam Berriman

The datafication of childhood (Lupton & Williamson 2017) has prompted new questions about the role of parents as mediators of children’s privacy within and beyond family. Digital technologies, particularly social media platforms, increasingly invite and incite the display and documentation of children’s lives by parents, with terms such as ‘sharenting’ quickly entering everyday discourse. This turn to new digital forms of ‘family display’ (Rose 2010) have prompted moral and ethical debates about children’s privacy, consent and visibility in a digital context. For parents and carers, these debates have focused on their responsibility in managing the public and private boundaries of family life. In this paper we focus attention on how parents conceptualised and negotiated digital data sharing and privacy during an academic study of their children’s everyday lives. The ‘Everyday Childhoods’ project set out to explore new ways of capturing, displaying and archiving data of children’s lives using digital research techniques. The study shared digital outputs via the project website, working in close consultation with the project’s families. In this paper we focus our attention on the parents’ responses to the data generated and shared during the study, exploring the issues that ‘displaying’ their child and family raised around representation, privacy and trust.     

Youtube influencers and their impact on children and young people.

Speaker: Evelyn Keryova

This ongoing research aims to understand how YouTube influencers are impacting children and their critical thinking. Children are spending on average 6 hours a day using internet (Digital Report, 2018) and much of this time is spent on social media. In 2012 the television was the most common media platform for children and young people in the UK but Ofcom research (2018) provided an evidence about declining TV viewings and rising interest in YouTube. My proposed talk will present findings from VidCon London and I will be focusing on summarising key concepts of micro and macro influencers. I will present how and why are major industry leaders like YouTube, Instagram or Nickelodeon, conceptualising and targeting children and teenagers as their key audience.

About the speakers: 

Hamide Elif Üzümcü is a PhD fellow in Social Sciences: Interactions, Communication, Cultural Constructions at the University of Padova. She currently conducts a participant observational fieldwork for her doctoral research in Turkey that focuses on children’s privacy understandings in Turkey. Her research interests include the new social studies of childhood, social construction of privacy, children’s agency, parental surveillance and ethnography.

Victoria Jaynes is a Research Fellow in Digital Sociology and Humanities at the University of Sussex. Her current research focuses on ‘sharenting’, exploring how children and young people feel about having their information and images shared by family members. Previously her research has engaged with young people’s everyday experiences of the digital from an interdisciplinary feminist perspective. Her research interests include; everyday gendered experiences of technology, young people and youth culture, ethnographic methods and digitally mediated representational practices.

Evelyn Keryova is a PhD student in social work and education at the University of Sussex with the background in investigative journalism and digital media. Her ongoing research is focusing on YouTube influencers and their impact on children and young people. Her research interests include the study of digital media, current role of traditional media in digital age and effects of social media on children and teenagers. She is carrying out a fieldwork at VidCon London, a multigenre annual video conference that is bringing together industry representatives, YouTube creators and community.

Liam Berriman is a lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies in the Department of Social Work and Social Care, University of Sussex. He is co-author of Researching Everyday Childhoods: Time, Technology and Documentation in a Digital Age published as an open access ebook by Bloomsbury in 2018: His work currently focuses on how practices of care in childhood are transformed by technology and digital data.

26 March
Computational Psychiatry and the Construction of Human Experience
Speaker Andy Clark
An emerging body of work in cognitive philosophy and computational neuroscience depicts human brains as prediction machines.

Abstract: An emerging body of work in cognitive philosophy and computational neuroscience depicts human brains as prediction machines – multi-level networks that specialize in using generative models to both match and anticipate the evolving stream of sensory information. However, the relationship between these posited cascades of prediction and conscious human experience itself remains unclear. Recent work in computational psychiatry provides important clues. For example, it is thought that malfunctions in hierarchical inference can explain core patterns of alteration seen in autism and schizophrenia, and can shed new light on so-called ‘psychogenic’ symptoms - functional impairments without standard organic causes. Such accounts reveal the deep continuities between perception, belief, and hallucination and may help reveal common processing motifs underlying both typical and atypical forms of human experience. 

February 2019
4 February
How Experiments Become Futures: social learning for self-driving cars

Self-driving cars are currently learning to drive. Alongside well-publicised developments in machine learning, this also involves a more complicated process of social learning. Understanding and governing the politics of this technology means asking ‘Who is learning, what are they learning and how are they learning?’ Crashes offer one window into the social complexities of a debate that is often presented as technical. On-road trials taking place in cities around the world can offer additional insights. These trials are sold as mere tests of technology, but they also set precedents and, if left unexamined, may write new rules of the road. ‘Self-driving’ or ‘autonomous’ cars are misnamed. As with other technologies, they are shaped by assumptions about social needs, solvable problems, and economic opportunities. Governing these technologies in the public interest means improving social learning by constructively engaging with the contingencies of machine learning. In this paper, I will report on my previous research on the chaotic self-driving experimentation that has already taken place and describe the approach of my team’s new project - Driverless Futures?

6 February
Processing and Cleaning Data
Explore a range of tools and techniques to tidy and transform text data, to prepare it for all kinds of analysis and adventure. Workshop, all levels.

Come join us on Wednesday 6 Feburary for the first in our Digital Methods Open Workshops series, run by Ben Jackson. Ben will take us through techniques for cleaning and preparing text data so it can be used by analysis and visualisation tools. This will include batch processing of large datasets, as well as a look at some free tools for analysis and visualisation.

The workshop will focus on practical methods for manipulating texts, using real examples drawn from activities carried out to support work in the Sussex Humanities Lab. By the end of the session you should be equipped with a range of techniques and tools for tidying and transforming text, in order to get it ready for a variety of digital analyses and representations. You'll also gain an understanding of key considerations and limitations.

16 February
Queer Codebreakers’ Exhibition and Talk
'Queer Codebreakers’ is a commissioned installation that will launch during LGBT History month.
Speakers: Dr Sharon Webb, Elle Castle, Laurence Hill

'Queer Codebreakers’ by Elle Castle, computational artist, is an installation that enables users to explore the parallels between ciphers, espionage, coded queer communication and the fragility of oral history. The installation, which incorporates snippets from the Queer in Brighton oral history collection, will launch during LGBT History month and will exhibit in the Jubilee Library from 15-17 February.

It is a collaboration between the Sussex Humanities Lab, Queer in Brighton, Brighton LGBTQ+ History Club and Brighton Digital Festival, and is commissioned by the British Academy through Dr Sharon Webb’s ‘Rising Star Engagement Award’.

For a chance to speak with the artist, join us on Saturday 16 February (11.00-13.00), when Elle Castle will speak about the installation and their inspiration for the piece. Laurence Hill, the Director of the Brighton Digital Festival and advisor for this project, will talk about where the project sits within the context of the festival and provide a response to the installation, and Dr Sharon Webb, Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex, will also speak about the wider significance of the installation and the motivation for this commission.

18 February
Subjectivity and Digital Research
Speaker: Sean Takats, Centre for History and New Media

This talk addresses how digital history demands an extended conception of researcher subjectivity that includes hardware, software, and networks.

This talk will explore how digital history demands an extended conception of researcher subjectivity that includes hardware, software, and networks. As troubling as this might sound — who wants to admit being an academic cyborg? It also provides us new opportunities to record and share that subjectivity with other researchers and wider publics, rendering the experiences and processes of research more transparent.

19 February
Archival Research with Tropy
Learn how to use this free image management and description tool. Workshop, all levels.
Speaker: Sean Takats

This introductory workshop is designed for anybody who is interested in managing large collections of images, and especially photos taken in the course of archival research. 

Tropy helps you to transform your heap of ambiguous archival winnings into something much more structured and user-friendly. With Tropy, it becomes easy to tag and annotate your images, group them into individual documents and objects, search, or export your data for collaboration.

25 February
A journey into the historical materiality of born-digital archives: digital forensic analysis and narratives.
Forensic historical analysis of born-digital archives with examples from Hanif Kureishi, C.M.Taylor, Glyn Moody and Mass Observation.
Speaker: Thorsten Ries (University of Gent)

I would like to take the audience on a journey through digital archives that my research is about, and show how narratives about the creation and transmission of these digital objects emerge from the historicity of their digital forensic features and materiality. I will discuss examples from the born-digital archives of Hanif Kureishi, C.M. Taylor, Glyn Moody and digital sources from the Mass Observation Archive, but also from other authors, digital archives and cases, in order to demonstrate not only digital forensic methodological approaches, phenomena and the recovery of hidden archives, but also how the historicity of the forensic materiality of digital objects may be read and enable a different, source-critical understanding of the digital historical materiality of our present. 

28 February
The Uncanny in the Digital Machine
A joint event by the Sussex Humanities Lab and the School of English.

Speaker: Lydia H. Liu is the Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities; Director, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. She teaches in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Professor Liu also holds a joint professorship at the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

These days, we are surrounded by the talk of cyborgs, androids, and posthumans, and many people are infatuated with robots and AI technology. To understand how we got here, we need a well-grounded theoretical grasp of human-machine simulacra beyond sociological diagnoses and cultural critiques of social media. For instance, is the defence of reason à la Horkheimer and other critical theorists still available as the ground of social critique? If my hypothesis is correct, namely, human beings are evolving to resemble the intelligent machines they invent even as they try to build robots to resemble themselves. The consequence of this ceaseless feedback loop is the arrival of a new generation of cyborgs with peculiar human-machine interfaces. In my lecture, I will examine the dark figure of the uncanny through the political history of human-machine entanglement in the Cold War.

28 February
Heart of Glass: Silicon, a Medium within Media
A media archaeology talk at the Sussex Humanities Lab.

Speaker: Dr Stefan Höltgen is assistant professor for media studies at the Department for Musicology and Media Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He researches the archaeology of early microcomputers and their programming (for a PhD in computer science), curates the Signal Lab and the Media Archaeological Fundus. He teaches theory and history of digital media, programming languages and hardware-orientated programming (with a focus on computer games and toy computing).

Because of its physical properties, glass offers irresistible possibilities for metaphor and its use in the arts as such has been ubiquitous for centuries. Glass also serves as the substrate of modern media technology – especially the compounds silicon dioxide and its element silicon are used in digital media for computing purposes. Though the transparency of glass as a topic is used on the media‘s surfaces as a metaphor for different kinds of transparency, the material glass on the surfaces, that actually is transparent, promotes the opacity of the apparatuses and their processes. In my talk I want to open this „transparent black box “to give an insight in the usage of glass, its compounds and derivates within digital media. I want to answer the question where media science (that differs from media studies) should start its investigations about the storage, transfer, and process of information – when information becomes energy and matter, located within crystal grids.