AIUCD 2017 Conference & 3rd EADH Day (24-28 January 2017)

Dixit Workshop Keynote Lecture: Agiatis Benardou

‘Signatures of all things I am here to read’: Digital Research as Practice, Digital Networks as Public Engagement


The past decade has seen the rise and development of numerous research infrastructures and networks in the area broadly described as the Digital Humanities. In spite of their varied focus on different disciplines (archaeology, philology, history) and their underlying structural deviations, initiatives aimed at supporting digital research have collectively produced two key outcomes which are presumably affecting the humanities as we perceive them: digitally enabled research is now considered to be a practical and methodological basis, while digital networks are largely the channels and means of public engagement and research community building. Tools and services developed or re-purposed within the context of digital research infrastructures largely set the boundaries within which digital humanists interact with and interpret digital content. Lately, the turn of digital research infrastructures to education and training through transnational workshops, summers schools, online teaching courses etc, has been the means to further reorient and reshape the methodological framework within which humanists will carry out research in the near future. Digital networks, either as funded components within larger infrastructures or as more fragmented ad hoc initiatives, often transcend established conventional channels of communication and operate as key mechanisms of community engagement and collaborative research. However, extensive long-lasting research in the area of scholarly practices and user behaviour in the area of the digital humanities has showcased and confirmed that various research sub-communities interact with and react to different tools, services and digital networks in diverse, dissimilar and often contradictory manners. Thus, in turn, users as well as other stakeholder groups affect and transform the ways in which digital research tools and methods themselves are conceived, designed, implemented and communicated in an inescapable iteration of constant, mutual reshaping. This iterative process is often, though not necessarily, reductive, for researchers at least initially reduce and mould the outcomes of digital research infrastructures to their own research needs. However, the process becomes more complicated for the infrastructures themselves, as user requirements studies have highlighted the extent to which we are in fact based on users’ experiences while we remain absolutely dependent on constantly mediated evidence to interpret them. Despite the clearly pragmatic problems raised by this iteration, one cannot fail to notice the ineluctable modality of the usable and the influential, in the – almost – true Joycean form.


Agiatis Benardou was born in Athens, Greece. She completed her BA and MA in Ancient History at King’s College London, where she was later awarded her PhD in Archaeology. She also holds an MA on Cultural Management and Communication from Panteion University in Athens.
Her research interests lie in the fields of scholarly research practices, user requirements and she is particularly interested in the ways in which digital tools and methods can provide new gateways through which research communities gain access to, create, revisit and repurpose research data, processes and infrastructures.
Agiatis has worked for a number of public and private organizations in the Greek cultural sector and is now a Senior Research Associate in the Digital Curation Unit, ATHENA R.C. as well as a Fellow in Panteion University in Athens where she teaches Digital Curation.
Agiatis has carried out extensive research as project member, WPL or PI in the context of various EU initiatives, such as Preparing DARIAH – the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities, EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure), ARIADNE, NeDiMAH, Europeana Cloud, DARIAH-EU, DARIAH-GR, ARK4, #DARIAHTeach and, more recently, Europeana Research.