Simon Rowberry and I were invited to speak at The Mechanic Reader conference organised by The Centre for Comparative Studies at the University of Siena in June. The theme of the conference was Digital Methods for Literary Criticism and it was claimed that this was the first meeting of digital humanities scholars of its kind in Italy. The conference took place in the picturesque setting of La Certosa, a former monastery in Pontignano on the outskirts of Siena.
My paper reported on the two AHRC projects hosted at Bournemouth University, but also mentioned the work of colleagues from the network and future publications and collaborations. Simon’s paper was on Reading Automata, and drew on his ongoing interest in twitterbots and the aggregation of information about reading via features such as Amazon’s Kindle Highlights. Antonio Lieto fro the University of Turin reported on projects developed from workshops on Computational Models of Narrative in Hamburg and MIT, and Marcel Cornis-Pope talked about his edited collection New Literary Hybrids in the Age of Multimedia Expression which has some interesting looking chapters on digital narratives and digital reading. Another highlight of the conference was the presentation by the editors of the current issue of the journal Between which has articles on transmedia storytelling, electronic literature, serial tv and fanfiction(http://ojs.unica.it/index.php/between/issue/view/33). The only disappointment was that some of these fascinating articles are only available in Italian.
This was the second paper I have presented this year in a conference organised by scholars working on comparative literature and it has been really refreshing to engage with colleagues working with similar theoretical tools and methods but applying them to different traditions, contexts and practices.