[News - Detail]
BMBF Strengthens Collection-relevant Research in Marbach, Weimar and Wolfenbüttel
The Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel (MWW) Research Network invites the public to its opening event at the Thuringian State Representation in Berlin on 19 May 2014. The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, will commence the programme with a welcoming speech at 10 am, followed by three panel discussions on central topics from the network’s research fields.
A press conference will be held at 12 pm in the conference room on the 6th floor with the three directors Hellmut Seemann, President of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Raulff, Director of the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, Prof. Dr. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, Director of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, and Dr. Sonja Asal, the designated managing director of the MMW. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the MMW Research Network which was founded last year at the recommendation of the German Council of Science and Humanities. As members of the research consortium, the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and the HerzogAugust Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel will conduct collaborative research in three major, epoch-spanning areas: Image Politics – Writers’ Libraries – Text and Frame. A virtual research environment will be created to accompany the projects. The headquarters of the MMW, where the administrative and PR activities will take place, is located at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. “The digitalisation of cultural-historic sources is not primarily a question of whether and how, but rather one of the quality and sustainability of digital processing. The research network is structured around various projects, but at the same time has the task of developing new and permanent structures for digitally aided cultural scientific study in a historic perspective,” explains Hellmut Seemann, President of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and acting spokesperson for the Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel Research Network.
The goal of establishing correlations between distant epochs by crosslinking the collections is not the only new feature of the project. In line with the digital turn, the MMW will enable researchers to study objects in a whole new way. With the project Digital Humanities, the MMW will draft plans for a virtual research infrastructure. All the objects slated for further study within the network will be made digitally accessible.
The material turn and the digital turn pose a combined challenge to researchers in the humanities. What are these challenges exactly and how should humanities scholars address them? The opening event wishes to provide a forum to discuss these questions further. Dr. Julianne Nyhan, assistant professor of Digital Information Studies at University College London, will join in discussion with Prof. Dr. Andrea Rapp, professor of Computer Philology in German Studies, and Dr. Thomas Ernst, literature and media studies scholar at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Other speakers include Prof. Dr. Ulrich Johannes Schneider, Director of the Leipzig University Library, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Décultot, Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris and member of the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin, PD Dr. Dirk Werle from the German Studies Department at the University of Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Sandra Richter from the German Studies Department at the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Dr. Katrin Kohl, professor of German Literature (Oxford), Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert, Director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin.
The three MWW projects, which have recently commenced, are concrete examples of object-based research. The project Writers’ Libraries: Materiality – Orders of Knowledge - Performance aims to explore the conditions which have engendered literature and science from early modernity to the present day. Indeed, the three research libraries and archives are not comprised of a mass of individual objects, but contain entire libraries within themselves. These places of creative activity reflect the thinking of each epoch in vastly diverse ways. Images also play a central role in our history and cultural memory. The project Image Politics – Authors’ Portraits and Iconographic Authorisation shifts the focus to the portraits of those who produced the literary texts. The project will compare and contrast early modern prints, portrait busts from the Weimar classical period and modern-day photographic works. The Bible, Faust and the classics – what exactly makes them canonical? Why is it that some works are read again and again? The project Text and Frame – Presentational Modes of Canonical Works proposes that the tangible and visible materiality of books and their presentation in words, gestures and song play a decisive role. The project team aims to investigate the canonical trends, their conditions and limitations on the basis of the collections, thereby offering a critical review of the collections in the spirit of Enlightenment.
The research network also plans to make “object-based” research publicly accessible by means of virtual exhibitions and a blog on its website www.mww-forschung.de.
In addition to more closely networking the activities of three important cultural-historic institutions in Germany and strengthening collection-relevant research, the MMW will also work to initiate new measures to promote young scholars. In close cooperation with other German and foreign organisations, the network will develop an internationally oriented scholarship programme to support junior researchers. Together with universities in Asia, the United States and Great Britain, the MMW will host an international summer school starting in 2015 to encourage further research in a collection-oriented context.
The opening event – which is only open to invited guests due to limited seating – will begin on Monday, 19 May at 10 am at the Thuringian State Representation in the Federal Government, Mohrenstraße 64, 10117 Berlin, and will conclude around 5 pm.