Scholarly and outreach events
On 20 January 2020, EDIC University of Luxembourg, in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Luxembourg, organised a Citizens’ Dialogue event at the Maison des Arts et des Etudiants on Belval Campus entitled “Strengthening the social dimension of Europe”, with speaker Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. The event was moderated by Elena Danescu. Over 350 people, including a large number of students from the Greater Region, attended the event and took the opportunity to ask questions about youth unemployment, the European Youth Programme, Brexit, the integration of refugees in the economy, the minimum wage, future measures to reduce the gender pay gap, the workforce of the European Union and the improvement of social rights in Europe.
With the support of the Robert Schuman Initiative, an internal working seminar was held on 29 and 30 January 2020 at the University of Luxembourg. The event was attended by several authors of the Internet Histories special issue on the topic “The Internet and the EU Market”, published in 2020. The workshop, organised by Andreas Fickers and Valérie Schafer (C²DH), was an opportunity to analyse the relationship between the European single market and digital technology from a historical point of view. On 29 January in the afternoon, a public conference on the topic gave the floor to the authors as well as Viviane Reding.
This Forum Z on 5 February 2020, organised by Gerben Zaagsma, was centred on three themes related to Holocaust history and memory – Holocaust history in the digital age, the Holocaust and Jewish life in Luxembourg, and combating antisemitism in contemporary Europe:
1. The Holocaust and Jewish life in Luxembourg: filling the gaps
2. Holocaust research in the digital age
3. Combating antisemitism in contemporary Europe
On 7 February 2020, the REPAIR project team (Stefan Krebs, Rebecca Mossop and Thomas Hoppenheit) ran a first workshop with the aim of restoring two old radios to working condition. Under the supervision of Raoul Tholl, a physics and electronics teacher and an enthusiastic radio repair hobbyist, and Albert Wolter, a former senior engineer (Deputy Director of the Telecommunications Division) at POST Luxembourg (formerly PTT), the participants, who had little to no experience in electronics, were tasked with doing the repair themselves – all in the spirit of the C²DH’s thinkering approach: the action of playful experimentation with technological and digital tools for the interpretation and presentation of history.
A public hands-on workshop and demonstration of direct-to-disc recording on lacquer and vinyl discs, using a disc-recording apparatus from 1948, took place on 25 February 2020. The event was organised by researcher Aleks Kolkowski for the C²DH project Doing Experimental Media Archaeology (DEMA) and was led by Sean Davies, an internationally renowned audio engineer and a major authority on disc-cutting lathes. Participants recorded a variety of sounds on discs, including spoken voices, songs, a concertina and a crying baby. An interview with Sean Davies, recorded for radio 100,7, was broadcast on 12 March 2020.
The workshop “Digital Hermeneutics and Media Historiography: Reflecting Digital Tools and Technologies of New Research Questions” took place on 5-7 March 2020. It was organised by Tim van der Heijden and Andreas Fickers for the members of the international research network New Directions in Film Historiography (funded by the German Research Foundation). By means of lectures and hands-on exercises, participants explored and reflected on the potential of digital tools in film and media historiography. A pre-workshop event on “Distant Viewing: Analysing Large Visual Corpora” was led Dr Lauren Tilton and Dr Taylor Arnold from the University of Richmond and Université de Lyon.
The central aim of the Digital History and Hermeneutics Doctoral Training Unit (DTU-DHH) is to explore the “trading zone” between different fields of knowledge in order to reflect on how the emergence of digital research technologies and infrastructures is affecting the practice of historical research. As the programme reached its final year in 2020, we hosted an international masterclass in preparation for an essay collection to share the preliminary results of this trading zone of 13 different PhD projects. The aim of the event was to foster collaboration with our partner institutes worldwide and to provide PhD researchers with constructive feedback from international experts in their fields. In the run-up to the event, the PhD students each drafted a method paper for publication in the collaborative essay collection: Juliane Tatarinov and Andreas Fickers (eds): Digital History and Hermeneutics (Oldenbourg: De Gruyter), 2021 (in preparation). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had to be switched to an online format. The masterclass was structured around two online guest lectures, by Lincoln Mullen (Roy Rosenzweig Center, Virginia) on 24 June 2020 and by Mareike König (German Historical Institute Paris) on 25 June 2020, and 12 individual sessions in which external experts gave feedback to the PhD students. The guest lectures were open to all participants in the masterclass and to invited guests from the C²DH. Fourteen internationally renowned researchers from the US, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden also provided valuable feedback to the PhD students in the individual sessions.
This workshop was held on 7 and 8 September 2020. It was organised for WP6 of the OPERAS-P project by Valérie Schafer and Lars Wieneke (C²DH), who are co-leading Task 1 for reflection on new forms of governance, especially using digital technologies. The aim of the event, held online because of the ongoing public health situation, was to combine theoretical and practical perspectives on issues that are constantly developing as a result of the increasingly wide-ranging forms of research infrastructure and the challenges facing digital governance. The report, keynote address and presentations are available online.
A public online demonstration of the Kinora viewer replica took place on 8 September 2020. The replica was developed as part of the C²DH project Doing Experimental Media Archaeology (DEMA) in collaboration with the Department of Engineering (DoE). Combining historical enquiry with a hands-on technical approach involving the latest 3D modelling and desktop manufacturing engineering techniques, DEMA researcher Tim van der Heijden joined forces with engineers Claude Wolf and student assistant Morgane Piet to produce a working replica of the Kinora viewer as a characteristic object in the history of early cinema.
On 15 September 2020, the C²DH COMEM research group (the people behind covidmemory.lu) held a round table discussion with people from institutions in Luxembourg who are building and maintaining collections to document how the country’s residents have experienced COVID-19 (libraries, museums, archives and newspapers). The event paved the way for the creation of an informal network among various national stakeholders and provided an opportunity for them to present their collections and the reasons behind them. Participants shared experiences and openly discussed the problems and limitations of their approaches, especially issues of representativeness and sustainability.
The Werner Report (officially presented on 8 October 1970 in Luxembourg), which sketched the outlines of a symmetrical, comprehensive economic and monetary union for Europe, was the result of reflections by a committee of experts led by Pierre Werner, Finance Minister and Prime Minister of Luxembourg for many decades, unanimously recognised as one of the architects of the euro. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Werner Report, the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH)/University of Luxembourg and their partners organised a series of events held from 6 to 9 October 2020 in Luxembourg. These included the exhibition “The early days of Economic and Monetary Union: Pierre Werner, a pragmatic visionary”, the Bridge – Forum Dialogue online event “Economic and Monetary Union by Stages – Anniversaries of the Werner Report and the Euro Rescue Funds” and the international conference “Economic and Monetary Union in Uncertain Times: Learning from the Past to Navigate the Future”.
The team working on the research project “Remixing Industrial Pasts in the Digital Age: Sounds, Images, Ecologies, Practices and Materialities in Space and Time”, led by Stefan Krebs (C²DH), organised a Temporary History Lab in the Annexe22 pavilion on Place de la Résistance (Brillplaz) in Esch-sur-Alzette from 26 September to 23 October 2020. The aim was to offer a number of participatory events to share the history and identity of the “Minett” region with a wider audience. This included the digitisation of private historical documents, oral history interviews, the opportunity to take and exhibit self-portraits, sound postcards, historical tours of the town and an interactive video installation. The lab was a great success, attracting more than 600 visitors and opening up new avenues for future research.
The autumn meeting of the WARCnet project was held by the C²DH from 4 to 6 November 2020. The WARCnet network promotes transnational research on the history of (trans)national web domains and transnational events on the web, drawing on the digital cultural heritage held in national web archives. The network, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities (grant no 9055-00005B), is running a series of activities from 2020 to 2022. Valérie Schafer (C²DH) is one of the co-PIs, with Niels Brügger (Aarhus University) and Jane Winters (UCL).
On 26 November 2020, the C²DH COMEM research group (the people behind covidmemory.lu) held an international workshop for experts from European universities who have initiated public COVID-19 platforms to collect testimonies on how the public is experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. In the first part of the workshop, the initiators of the projects shared their experiences and looked back at the development of their platforms. In the second part, the participants discussed some general questions about rapid response collections and, in particular, whether the second wave was already reflected in the submissions.
This workshop took place on 10 and 11 December 2020 and was organised by the research group working on the C²DH project “Remixing Industrial Pasts in the Digital Age: Sounds, Images, Ecologies, Practices and Materialities in Space and Time”, led by Stefan Krebs. The aim was to examine the complex socio-economic, demographic and cultural transitions and heritage of (post-)industrial towns and cities in Western and Eastern Europe on the basis of 15 selected examples, some of them comparative. The workshop concluded with a commentary by Sebastian Haumann (TU Darmstadt). The workshop was a valuable opportunity to contextualise the work done as part of the research project on the transformations of the towns in the Minett region.
This one-day symposium with more than 300 attendees and 15 speakers, held on 14 December 2020, looked at participatory practices in history museums. It was organised as part of the Public History as the New Citizen Science of the Past (PHACS) project, with a scientific committee composed of Thomas Cauvin, Valérie Schafer, Christopher Morse, Lars Wieneke, Karin Priem, Jen van de Maele and Blandine Landau.
The “Performing Media Archaeological Experiments” workshop, held on 18 December 2020, was the second workshop organised in connection with the project Doing Experimental Media Archaeology (DEMA). Participants from various fields, including media history, art history, musicology, history of science, sensorial ethnography, contemporary composition and sound art, were invited to share their experience of performing historical re-enactments and their thoughts on how experimental research can serve or operate in artistic practice.