Meet Stefan Lindgren
13 July 2012
... lab technician at the Humanities Laboratory and in charge of the Digital Humanities network within the global university network Universitas 21 (U21)What does the Digital Humanities network do?
"We meet once every two years and focus on everything concerning digitalisation and the humanities: it could be three-dimensional models of vanished cultures, digital analysis of huge quantities of text, tools and methods, or teaching and learning."
The network was born at a U21 meeting in Virginia four years ago. What is so good about U21?
"It provides a global meeting place. The member universities are in the same division. It feels like we are all on the same level and we quickly find the right focus in discussions. Not everyone is equally good at English, but that is also an important experience and participants are forced to adapt their language."
The next network meeting will be in September and Lund University is the host…
"Yes, we are expecting around 80 researchers and lab technicians to come here from all over the world."
You work with three-dimensional visualisation of cultural heritage…
"Yes, my colleagues and I work closely with archaeologists, scanning objects and entire areas, for example at the Swedish excavations in Pompeii. When Pompeii was excavated in the 19th century, it was more a treasure hunt than archaeological research. The finds travelled all over the world. Using 3D technology we can refurnish the rooms with the dispersed objects and gain a picture of what it looked like on that day, almost 2 000 years ago, when Pompeii was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Many researchers find it helpful to be able to see what they are researching rather than only reading about it."
You have gained valuable contacts through U21 – but are there also difficulties associated with the network?
"Yes, the funding is still a problem. Those who get involved with a U21 network do not have an automatic right to do so in work time or gain recognition for it. U21 provides the opportunity to start networks, but it is the individual universities which have to pay if they are to meet. Not everyone has their own grants that they can use. I have received support from the faculty, but I think financial help is also needed from the University centrally to start more networks and get the most benefit from U21."
Text and photo: BRITTA COLLBERG
FOOTNOTE: Universitas 21 (U21) is a global network of 24 research-intensive universities. At its annual meeting in May, which was held in Lund, a ranking was published which showed that Sweden is second in the world for higher education. "The Role of Universities in Today's Learning Society" was the theme of a one-day symposium that was held. More information about the ranking can be found here.