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DATATHINK 2023. The City as Collection
Call for Participation
How to apply
Dates and Program

Call for Participation

Digitalization is ubiquitous and pervasive. All our approaches, concepts, and methods will surely be permeated by the digital if they are not so already. Within the humanities and social sciences, and particularly in the fields of architecture and architectural and urban history, there is an urgent need to engage critically but proactively with this process, to assess its limitations and its potential.

With this block winter school, we propose a hands-on approach to engaging with a digital workflow and data pipeline for the collection, processing, contextualization, visualization, and spatialization of a database of public monuments in the city of Rome. The goal of the workshop is to explore the different phases in a connected and holistic manner so as to better conceive what it takes to build an augmented database fit for the stated research purposes and the challenges faced by future-proof research infrastructures. For this reason, being able to manipulate data becomes an opportunity not only for production but also for research and  investigative purposes.

The winter school is conceived in a workshop format, structured by a series of connected exercises that explore different items of the workflow, combined with lectures and presentations that contextualize these in the state of the art and contribute to enriching the collective reflections on the shortcomings and challenges of current data infrastructure efforts for the humanities and social sciences.  We depart from an entry point based on the visual and cartographic, and we gradually expand it to other modalities, building a context to the data collection efforts by the participants through connections to existing historical collections.

The winter school is offered at no cost upon application and selection. The travel, accommodation, and food costs will be covered individually by the participants themselves.

Co-organized by Digital Visual Studies, a  Max Planck Society project hosted at the University of Zurich, and the UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape at the University of Montreal, Datathink 2023 is hosted by the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, in Rome,  one of the most recognized institutions in its field, giving us an invaluable chance to get to know its assets and interact with its staff and researchers.

No prior coding or programming skills are required, although they might be a plus. Technically, the course will exploit the Python programming language to remotely access georeferenced data and consequently experiment with image analytics and Machine Learning algorithms, providing a fertile and versatile pipeline to address heritage and public spaces. Participants should come equipped with their own laptop and digital camera (a smartphone camera is enough).

How to apply

Send an expression of interest with a brief CV and a research statement (max 250 words)  to: dario.neguerueladelcastillo(at)

Deadline: February 15, 2023,  

Notification of acceptance: February 17, 2023.


Dates and Program

Dates: Feb 27-March 3rd, 2023

Every day in the afternoon from 14:00 – 15:00, a lecture and a Q&A session with relevant researchers in the field, followed by a hands-on workshop session from 15:30 -18:00. The mornings are reserved for individual work and site visits.

Day1 – Fetching / Mapping the Urban Past

14h Speaker:  Paul Guhennec EPFL

18h Keynote lecture: Frédéric Kaplan EPFL

Day 2 – Processing / Sensing the Urban Present

Speakers: Dept. Michalsky BHMPI (tbc), Javier Argota, ETHZ

Day 3 – Curating / Re-imagining Lost Links

11h Speaker: Paolo Rosati, La Sapienza

14h Speakers: Renata Ago, Domizia D’Erasmo, La Sapienza; Alessandro Adamou BHMPI.

Day 4:  Enhancing / Quality Control

14h Speaker: Thomas Hänsli, SARI

Day 5: Augmenting / Connecting to Research Databases

10h Speaker: Pietro Liuzzo, BHMPI

13h End


Announcement on the Bibliotheca Hertziana’s website: