As TVAD Visiting Researcher for 2015-16, my three weeks at the University of Hertfordshire in February seemed to fly by. After the initial shock of acclimatising from a hot Australian summer to an English winter, I settled into a busy program of events. Everyone I met at UH was friendly and I soon found that starting each morning in the café meant I would run into someone I’d met previously – intentional or not, the centrally placed café was well designed for a visitor to get to know people! As for the more formal program, over a period of three weeks, I presented lectures on contemporary art in Melbourne, modern Asian design and global design to students and staff across the art and design departments. I also reviewed Interior Architecture student work-in-progress, went to the opening of the Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Exhibition and participated in the postgraduate DHeritage Workshop.
The second provocative theme was the impact of new technologies on history. From analyses of “big data” such as population or environmental statistics to crowd-sourcing information, the “digital humanities” approach to historical research presents numerous new avenues for research. Perhaps because of the emphasis on statistics, information and data, the new approach seemed a little at odds with the more traditional, archival research presented at the conference. It may also be that the individual voices tend to get lost in such big picture analyses. Finally, both the surrounds of Cumberland Great Lodge and the chance to walk around Windsor Great Park rounded off a great weekend.