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Digital humanities between France and Québec

A phenomenon that has been growing rapidly over the past 20 years in North America and Europe, digital humanities is a transdisciplinary approach that invites us to rethink the meaning of research, to reflect on the cultural changes brought about by technological media, and to promote better accessibility of knowledge to communities.

At UdeM, digital humanities are at the heart of the projects of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Digital Humanities (CRIHN), which full professor in the Department of Literatures and Languages of the World Michael Sinatra founded in 2013. A recently signed collaboration agreement with Huma-Num, a CNRS research laboratory based at the Condorcet Campus in Paris that has specialized in the field for more than 15 years, will allow for mutual enrichment of knowledge through faculty and student exchanges between the two institutions.

Promising benefits for both sides

For Professor Sinatra, this agreement represents an opportunity for the CRIHN and Huma-Num to enrich their initiatives at the methodological, theoretical, and pragmatic levels. Moreover, according to the researcher, "Huma-Num is the ideal partner to ensure the influence of our activities in France and theirs in Canada, UdeM being the top francophone university in the country."

Thanks to its team of research engineers, a status that does not exist in Canada, Huma-Num will offer a technological contribution to UdeM researchers by providing them with innovative tools that will allow them to approach their projects from a different angle. “These tools will make it possible, for example, to create work environments and open them to the general public in order to promote access to knowledge," explains Mr. Sinatra. "They will contribute to the development of projects and their insertion into the framework of European expertise."

A number of members of the UdeM faculty community will benefit from these exchanges; for example, when the situation so permits, Associate Professor Juliette de Maeyer, a member of the Department of Communication and of CRIHN, will visit the Huma-Num laboratories to enrich her work on journalism and new technologies. The project also includes exchanges of doctoral and post-doctoral students to conduct work sessions in the Paris labs.

In return, Huma-Num will benefit from the CRIHN's expertise in order to improve the ethical dimension of its technological tools. Its researchers will be integrated into Canadian research teams and will have access to bilingual projects, as a complement to what is being done in Europe.