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A tour of UCLA’s digital humanities spaces

The UCLA Campus has a surprising amount of large trees

The UCLA Campus has a surprising amount of large trees

I’m visiting UCLA this week, meeting with people and discussing projects as part of my global digital environmental humanities tour (which started at University of Virginia in September last year). I arrived late Sunday night after 21 hours of traveling and was very happy to crawl into bed at the UCLA Guest House Hotel, on the north-east side of campus. It turns out that the university was closed on Monday since it was President’s Day, a holiday I had never heard about before. This made for a great opportunity to do some sightseeing (after waking up at 3am and spending some hours finishing and submitting a revised article). I took the bus through Beverly Hills and down to the Miracle Mile district to visit the fantastic Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits. The museum had a great special exhibit on Stanley Kubrick that was well worth the trip. The tar pits were also fascinating, and the adjoining Page Museum is small, but good. After a short nap I headed over to Ursula Heise and Jon Christensen‘s house in Venice for dinner with some of their colleagues. Wonderful people and nice conversation, though I had reached a jetlag-induced zombie-like state and wasn’t exactly talkative…

Spaceship from 2001 at the LACMA Stanley Kubrick exhibit

Spaceship from 2001 at the LACMA Stanley Kubrick exhibit

La Brea Tar Pits. I love the smell of tar!

La Brea Tar Pits. I love the smell of tar!

On Tuesday I got the chance to explore campus some more. I had lunch in the Faculty Club, with Todd Presner, Annelie Rugg, Willeke Wendrich, and Dave Shepard, who are all affiliated with the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities. Annelie was nice enough to gave me a tour of all the different digital humanities-related spaces and labs on campus, including the Library Research Commons, the Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage, the UCLA Game Lab, the newly redone Visualization Portal (which doesn’t really have a current webpage), the Sandbox, and the new CDH Learning Lab. I find it fascinating to see the many different versions and interpretations of technology-enabled labs and spaces, especially in light of the recent discussions at Umeå University about what the planned interactive learning environments in the Humanities building can and should be.

UCLA Library Research Commons

UCLA Library Research Commons

UCLA Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage

UCLA Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage

UCLA Game Lab - a very nice studio space

UCLA Game Lab – a very nice studio space

I still have more meetings and events this week before heading up to San Francisco for the weekend and then to Palo Alto and Stanford University all next week. Expect more posts!


So, what do you think ?