The program in Digital Cultural Heritage (DCH) lies at the cross-section of research in digital technologies and Information Society Technologies (IST) with the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Advances in digital technology have offered significant opportunities to enhance the scope and depth of research in Cultural Heritage and Archaeology. Although this a long discussed subject of the past decade and more, only a few academy programmes (most concentrated in the Anglo-Saxon world, and the Northern American continent) are fully devoted to this topic. Moreover, as of today, there are no such programmes offered by any Cypriot academic institution. Responding to this gap and building upon its state-of-the-art research infrastructure, The Cyprus Institute’s program in Digital Cultural Heritage aspires at training young scholars in a truly interdisciplinary academic environment to properly prepare them for the research and educational challenges of the future. The DCH program is designed to attract students from both the Humanities/ Social Sciences, as well as, from the digital and computer technologies; appropriately doctoral students are expected to pursue research that both advances as well as applies the advances and the tools of the Digital Age.
When evaluating the potential of IST into Humanities and Social Sciences one must consider the basic nature of Science itself, being both imaginative and exploratory and critical and analytical as well. As such, digital tools which enable both high level computing or modeling and give space for innovative interpretation and evaluation through interaction with digital systems are the right medium to perform a scientific activity. Moreover, by using digital tools as learning tools, the learner is actually engaged in an activity of doing science, and not merely just memorizing science, the real challenge being not having access to information, but stimulating the students to scientific inquiry. Therefore, digital resources are not enough by themselves to promote science; they should be approached as sources for scientific activities. As such, the value of digital tools and digital content is not in their complexity, innovative level or quantity, but the measure of their usability and their capability to serve as media for scientific work, becoming research partners in the cognitive process of doing science.
Most researches in the humanities and social sciences are, by their nature, inter-disciplinary, and, as such, a doctorate programme in this field should reflect this characteristic. A basic research pipeline, typical of scientific studies has five major stages: theory / methodology – the intellectual framework of research, data acquisition – the process of collecting the raw materials of our research, data management – how we organise, store and archive the harvested data, interpretation – the core process of the research itself and finally communication – how we transmit our ideas and how we make public our research results. It is also clear that each step depends on a previous one (without research there is nothing to publish, but without data one cannot perform a research, while harvesting data largely depends on our research agenda, determined by a theoretical and methodological framework). Thus, such a PhD program would reflect this process of transforming the gathered data into information and its further metamorphosis into knowledge.
Figures 1 & 2 visually express the multi-disciplinary nature of such a proposed PhD programme, integrating between technological, computer and social sciences and humanities, keeping in mind that “Heritage”, at its most broad definition, deals with anything individuals in a given society decide it is important for them to preserve and transmit to further generation. As such, the proposed courses listed express the inter-disciplinary approach to the study of Digital Cultural Heritage, the Cyprus Institute being an ideal location for such a programme, given its profile, as an innovative and dynamic incubator of new ideas, based on the life-long experience of internationally reputed scholar, scientifically interacting in a true cross-disciplines environment through its centers.
Figure 1: representation of the multi-disciplinary nature of Digital Cultural Heritage studies
COURSES OF THE PROGRAM DIGITAL CULTURAL HERITAGE *
The Cyprus Institute uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Each course is worth 10 ECTS-credits. To satisfy the requirements of the PhD program, a student requires a total of 180 ECTS-credits, of which 50 ECTS-credits are from courses.
The program provides the necessary educational setting where excellence in education and research are fostered through interdisciplinary collaboration on regional problems of global significance.
* These courses are complemented by lectures, seminars & workshops organized by STARC.