What I Wish People Would Know About Digital Humanities

– By Yikun

Hi! My name is Yikun, and I am from China. Currently, I am studying MAvDigital Humanities at King’s College London, and here is my take on it. 

Digital Humanities at King’s 

Digital Humanities (DH) is an emerging subject that transcends the existing disciplines which and brings a way of the renaissance to the subjects. I had been interested in pursuing my studies in Digital Humanities, and thus to take my interest a step ahead, I chose to study a Master’s degree in it. During my research about different MA programmes, I found out that the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) at King’s has an incredibly commendable reputation in the field and ranks at the top in Research Excellence Framework (REF). King’s also has a King’s Digital Lab, which has already accomplished hundreds of digital projects across the globe.  

Overview of Digital Humanities 

DH is a new term for the public, and some people think they can never imagine how these two very different subject disciplines overlap. Much like the title, DH devotes itself to combining technology and humanities, but more importantly, it balances the two so that the humanistic spirits never succumb to technology. Digital Humanists believe that it is finally time to write a new axis for humanities and revive its dynamics in the digital era.  

Some of the works produced by Digital Humanists include digitalising the cultural artefacts for preservation, using computational methods to analyse the textual, aural and visual data, managing and preserving the databases like archives, and critiquing the diversity of the field. 

Pedagogy and Career Options for MA Digital Humanities  

The ethos of Digital Humanists influences the pedagogy of MA Digital Humanities. In our core modules, we are required to learn coding language (Python) from the very beginning in addition to other digital tools. The modules also encourage designing Digital Humanities project both independently and collaboratively. Some of the assignment prompts are extremely interesting and motivating. For instance, scraping tweets to analyse public’s opinions on specific topics, and using XML to edit the raw text. Moreover, the module challenges us to calculate the word frequency to find the text’s writing style or latent preference, to map the space and time of a specific topic to show a diachronic pattern, and so on, which in turn help us to enhance our skills. 

Optional modules are also available, and there are approximately 20+ options for students to choose from based on their interests and career goals. Certain courses like London as a digital city, Music and Sound in a digital society, and Data Journalism are extremely popular among students as they focus on cultivating integrated skills. There are also courses like Data Visualisation, Data Analysis, and Web Technology which further help students to develop coding skills that are currently high in demand of the job market. Graduates of MADH (MA Digital Humanities) have the opportunity to pursue their careers in various different industries like media, marketing, publishing, research, and GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums). 

Due to the pandemic, the Department of Digital Humanities conducted classes through the hybrid medium this year. Seminars for core modules were held in the coding lab, where teachers guided students and answered their questions. Pre-recorded lectures were shared on Keats, an online learning platform owned by King’s that contains all required resources to study the modules. I personally loved this pattern as it enabled me to rewatch the lectures as revise the concepts taught in the class. 

Some Personal Thoughts… 

When I first started my course, everything felt new and exciting. And now, I still feel the same because this field has endless potential and charm. I believe Digital Humanities has the potential to revolutionise the traditional standards and to represent the future of humanities. I feel extremely grateful to be able to pursue this course and to learn from all the valuable academic resources provided by King’s. 


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