Studying Culture through Data. Digital Methods and Data Analysis.

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Humanities
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 1000.00
Advanced Bachelor
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Participants of this course get acquainted with some of the (methodological) fundamentals of computational methods in the humanities (mostly culture and media studies: data collection (from web platforms), data selection, network analysis, and an introduction to Python and Tableau. After a basic training (first three days), they work in small teams on a hands-on case. Lectures, student presentations and social activities will complement the programme. This course is organized by the Utrecht Data School.

As our world gets increasingly connected and mediatised, input and expertise from the humanities and social science becomes essential to understanding the dynamics, ethics and pragmatics of a datafied society. (José van Dijck, 2017)

Datafication of culture

Increasingly, cultural artefacts are digitized, while social interaction online automatically create digital records. In addition many other everyday activities, movements, transactions, communications and environmental properties are recorded in databases either through applications on mobile phones, sensors, measurement devices or camera's. Aside from the profound impact these data repositories and their use have for society at large, they also constitute challenges and opportunities for research in the humanities. The need to occupy ourselves with data practices is twofold: 1) 'big data' affect society at large and the more it transforms the social and cultural domain, the more humanities scholars are needed to put their distinct expertise to use in describing, analysing and conceptualising the datafied society. 2) the data and analysis tools change research agenda's as they can be used for analysing culture.

Studying culture through data
Participants learn about current data practices in culture studies and receive training in digital methods and data analysis. They learn how to apply data analysis for research and how to review and inquire the data practices and tools. The first three days cover some of the (methodological) fundamentals of Digital Humanities: data collection, data selection, network analysis, and an introduction in Python and Tableau. The remaining two days will include a ‘pressure cooker’, where participants will be working in small teams trying to apply their freshly gained skills on a real-world case. The programme also includes lectures, student-presentations, and various social activities. We conclude the summer school with a barbeque. Successful completion of the UDS summer school will be rewarded with a UDS summer school Certificate of Participation.

Utrecht Data School
Utrecht Data School is a platform for teaching data analysis and digital methods, and for exploring datafication through (applied) research projects in cooperation with our external partners. Founded in 2013, the Utrecht Data School provides interdisciplinary courses on BA and MA level and develops teaching formats and trainings for practitioners and students groups from various disciplines. Driven by our research interest into datafication and how it affects citizenship, participation in deliberative processes, the public sphere and cultural production, we conduct our research within the societal domains of public management, (public) media and the public space. Using our own practice of entrepreneurial scholarship, we developed services and products that are useful for partners within said domains.

For more information visit our website.

Course director

Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer


Tim de Winkel (Utrecht Data School, Dept. Media- and Culture Studies)
Maranke Wieringa (Utrecht Data School, Dept. Media- and Culture Studies)
Gerwin van Schie (Gender Studies, Dept. Media- and Culture Studies)
Daniela van Geenen (Utrecht Data School, University for Applied Sciences Utrecht)

Target audience

This course is aimed at participants from a wide range of disciplines (e.g. media and culture studies, anthropology, sociology, journalism, public administration, philosophy, and others).

Course aim

A basic understanding in digital methods and data analysis. An overview of current data practices and tools used in various fields of the humanities to carry out research. An understanding for the epistemic impact of data practices and data analysis tools. The ability to apply this knowledge for carrying out a small research project.


Fee: 1000 EUR for non-students (e.g. professionals) / 500 EUR for students / 400 EUR for UU-students and students enrolled in the MA New Media & Digital Culture € 1000.00
Housing € 200.00 , through Utrecht Summer School

Fee: 1000 EUR for non-students (e.g. professionals) / 500 EUR for students / 400 EUR for UU-students and students enrolled in the MA New Media & Digital Culture


Utrecht University students and accepted pre-master students New Media & Digital Culture can apply for a reduced fee of 400 EUR

Required documents

For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:
Motivation Letter, C.V.

More information

Utrecht Data School
Department for Media and Culture Studies
Utrecht University
Munstraat 2A
NL- 3512 EV Utrecht

e-mail: summer@dataschool.nl
website: www.dataschool.nl


Application deadline: 19 July 2018