Space and Time

Chair: Leif Isaksen,

Co-chair: Shawn Day,

Working group members: Daniel Alves, New University of Lisbon, Portugal; Jens Andresen, University of Aarhus, Denmark; Shawn Day, Royal Irish Academy, Ireland; Øyvind Eide, KCL/University of Oslo, Norway; Eero Hyvönen, Aalto University, Finland; Leif Isaksen, University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Eetu Mäkelä, Aalto University, Finland.

As high-level, cross-cutting concepts, space and time provide important reference points that transcend disciplinary boundaries. ICT approaches to representing and analysing these dimensions include GIS, statistical distribution metrics, dynamic webmapping, geo-referencing, network analysis, mobile computing, augmented reality and semantic annotation of places, periods and events. Geospatial technologies are increasingly widespread in the arts and humanities, often in partnership with cultural heritage and memory organisations. ICT methods for dealing with time have an equally high potential of opening up new avenues of research.

The working group has organised several workshops and other activities in locations across Europe.  Its inaugural workshop, Place, Period, Event: Entity Based Approaches to Space and Time, held at Ravensbourne College, Greenwich, London in late November 2011, and focused on conceptual approaches to space and time, as opposed to geometric and coordinate based-­‐methods. Such approaches have proven useful in contexts in which exact spatial location is unknown, uncertain or irrelevant, and can also prove a powerful catalyst for establishing connections between heterogeneous data (Linked Data). Topics included the creation, maintenance and application of spatial and temporal ontologies, gazetteers and other conceptual schemes. It was based around a series of sessions addressing the concepts of ‘place’ (spatial concepts), ‘period’ (temporal concepts) and ‘event’ (concepts intersecting space and time).

The second workshop of the working group, Here and There, Then and Now- Modelling Space and Time in the Humanities, took place as part of a suite of NeDiMAH activities clustered around the Digital Humanities 2012 workshop in Hamburg, Germany in June of that year.  This workshop explored how spatio-­‐temporal concepts are so ubiquitous that it is easy for us to forget that they are essential to everything we do. All expressions of human culture are related to the dimensions of space and time in the manner of their production and consumption, the nature of their medium and the way in which they express these concepts themselves. Although space and time are closely related, there are significant differences between them which may be exploited when theorizing and researching the Humanities. This workshop allowed those working with digital tools and techniques that manage, analyse and exploit spatial and temporal concepts in the Humanities to present a position paper for the purposes of wider discussion and debate.

These ideas were expanded upon in the third workshop of the working group, Networks over Space and Time: Modelling, Analyzing and Representing Complex Data in the Digital Humanities held at FCSH, New University of Lisbon, Portugal in November 2013.  This workshop aimed to combine analytical perspectives in the study of networks over space and time in humanities disciplines and on various themes, to identify methodologies, discuss research results and encourage interdisciplinary approaches.  The main focus of the workshop was on the areas of modelling and representation, hihglighting them more as methods of analysis and knowledge production than merely as tools. Members of the working group have also been active in cross-working group activity, including collaborative workshop in Bucharest, Romania with members of Working Group 2, organised by Steering Committee member, Maria Bostenaru-Dan in November 2012. 

This working group's activities concluded with a workshop on European Place Names Projects at the National Library of the Netherlands at the Hague in September 2014.  As the Digital Humanities advance, it is becoming evident that high quality historical gazetteers of geographical entities such as place names, landmark names and borders are needed as a crucial piece of infrastructure. The meetings held by NeDIMAH WG 1 on Space and Time had frequently discussed this lacuna in spatial research, and accordingly a small final meeting was agreed in order to address the feasibility of developing such a resource. Ultimately, the conclusion of the meeting was advancing the need for such a resource in terms of addressing the research questions that should drive its development, and potential partners. The ultimate conclusion of the meeting was that an initiative to develop a resource of this nature could be taken forward at some point in the future, and that the meeting had been a valuable first step in articulating the scientific foreground for advancing the state of the art.


All of the NeDiMAH working groups will produce publications related to their activities.  A full list of publications and forthcoming publications will appear on this page in November 2014.

Workgroup News

The Networks over space and time: Modelling and visualizing complex data in the digital humanities work take place on 8th November 2013 at FCSH, New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.

Workgroup Reports

Meeting 5 of the NEDIMAH Space and Time Group

September 10-11, National Library of Netherlands, The Hague, Netherlands

In the humanities, a close look at networks and relationships, whether formal or informal, personal or social, of information or of knowledge, of transportation or of communication, has always been

European Science Foundation Event Report

First NeDiMAH workshop on Space and Time in the Digital Humanities: "Place, Period, Event -­‐ Entity-­‐based approaches to Space and Time"

European Science Foundation Event Report

Authors: Leif Isaksen, Shawn Day, Mia Ridge and Ryan Shaw

This workshop focused on conceptual approaches to space and time, as opposed to geometric and coordinate based methods.