Tag Archives: Creativity

“Interpreting Textual Artefacts” Colloquium Programme

Following-up on the preliminary announcement, here is the full programme of the colloquium with the names of the speakers and the titles of their talks.

This event is free of charge; all welcome!                                                                             

[In order to help with numbers for catering, please email: segolene.tarte [at] oerc.ox.ac.uk to confirm attendance – Thank you]

The information below is also available for download (A5 recto-verso flyer; A3 posterA4 – programme  only, without the overview; A5 abstracts booklet – with the available abstracts of the talks).


Interpreting Textual Artefacts: Cognitive Perspectives and Digital Support for Knowledge Creation

Dates: 11th & 12th December 2012 (early afternoon 11th to tea time 12th)

Place: University of Oxford – Lecture theatre at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LU)


The reading of textual artefacts in cuneiform studies (Assyriology), papyrology, epigraphy, palaeography, and mediaeval studies is at the core of the creation (discovery, invention) of new knowledge of past cultures and civilizations. The artefacts in themselves are devoid of meaning, and it is their interpretation and re-interpretation that contextualizes them and turns them into conveyors of knowledge.

This colloquium convenes scholars from a wide-ranging selection of fields in order to explore how knowledge is created through the act of interpretation of ancient documents. Each session puts into dialogue the work and methods, both digital and more traditional, of ancient documents scholars with findings from the cognitive sciences around the processes involved in the act of interpretation of ancient documents.

Through this event, we aim to gain a better-integrated view of the cognitive processes involved in the interpretation of ancient documents as well as some ways of supporting them and facilitating them digitally.


11th December 2012

14:00 – 14:15




14:15 – 15:45

and Visual P

Chair: Dr Dirk Obbink (Classics, Oxford)

3x20min + 30min discussion

Prof. Chris Gosden (Archaeology, Oxford)

“Beyond Art and Agency: The Sensory Impacts of Objects”

Dr Kathryn Piquette (TOPOI, FU Berlin)

“The Impact of Reflectance Transformation
Imaging on Interpretative Processes for Ancient Egyptian Graphical Culture”

Prof. Glyn Humphreys (Neuroscience, Oxford)

 “The architecture of visual object recognition and attention”

15:45 – 16:15

Tea/coffee break



16:15 – 17:15

Engagement in Reading

Chair: Dr Ségolène Tarte (e-Research Centre, Oxford)

2x20min + 20min discussion

Dr Dominique Stutzmann (Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes, Paris)

“Reading the movement: morphology, ductus, and reading skills for medieval Latin scripts”

Prof. Marieke Longcamp (Neurosciences
Cognitives, Marseille)

Contribution of Writing
Knowledge to Visual Recognition of Graphic Shapes”

17:15 – 18:30

Drinks reception




12th December 2012

10:00 – 11:00


Chair: Dr Arietta Papaconstantinou (Classics, Reading)

2x20min + 20min discussion

Prof. Alan Bowman (Classics, Oxford)

 “The grammar of legibility in Latin cursive writing”

Prof. Laurent Cohen (CHU Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris)

“The reading brain, neuropsychology and

11:00 – 11:30

Tea/coffee break



11:30 – 12:30

e and Context

Chair: Dr John Lowe (Linguistics, Oxford)

2x20min + 20min discussion

Dr Klaus Wagensonner
(Oriental Studies, Oxford)

“Lexical texts in perspective. On the implementation of lexical information in bilingual narratives”

Dr Richard Tunney (Psychology, Nottingham)

“Implicit learning of artificial and natural languages”

12:30 – 13:30




13:30 – 15:00

and Collaboration

Chair: Prof. David de Roure (e-Research Centre, Oxford)

3x20min + 30min discussion

Dr Peter Stokes (Digital Humanities, KCL)

“Communicating Palaeography Across and Beyond the Discipline(s)”

Dr Susana Avila Garcia (e-Research Centre, Oxford)

“Exploring the use of interactive surface technologies to support image analysis researchers”

Prof. David Kirsh (Cognitive Sciences, UC San Diego)

“Interactively interpreting: solo and distributively

15:00 – 15:30

Tea/coffee break



15:30 – 16:30




This is a joint event between Oxford’s Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the e-Research Centre. It has been made possible thanks to funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, through my early-career research fellowship, of which it is the closing event.



On Expertise and Expert Performance

Expert (Chambers Dictionary of Etymology)

What do expertise and expert performance have to do with this digital curation of knowledge creation project?
Well, if I can understand better what expertise is, where it comes from, and how it is constituted, I will have armed myself with a very valuable tool to identify how experts in the reading of ancient documents can be digitally supported in their task.
The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance [1] is a very informative and rich book, which gathers findings on and around expertise as studied from various points of view: from Psychology, from Artificial Intelligence, from the Cognitive Sciences. Here are the highlights of my readings, presented, of course, within the framework of my own interests, that is, my aim to develop a piece of software which experts working with inscribed artefacts (including papyrologists and ancient near-east scholars) will find useful to conduct their research.

How to define Expertise?
Naturally, expertise is defined with respect to a specific domain; experts are specialists, they excel in a given domain. Yet regardless of the domain, there are two stances to define expertise and thereby experts. The first one states that expertise is a talent; this is the absolute approach, where experts are identified as those who produce exceptional results. The other one states that expertise is characterized by a high level of proficiency; this is the relative approach, where experts are those whose achievements and experience are greater than that of novices [2]. In that scope, Hoffman [3] defined the following proficiency scale (analogical to the craftsmanship stages as established in medieval times): Continue reading On Expertise and Expert Performance

From Artefact to Meaning

Initialement dans le contexte de la recherche en papyrologie et en épigraphie, mais à plus longue échéance dans le contexte d’artefacts culturels et historiques en général (textuels ou non), ce carnet de recherche vise à documenter:
• l’étude des pratiques des experts lorsqu’ils s’attèlent à la tâche de déchiffrement et d’interprétation d’un artefact.
• les méthodes adoptées afin de provoquer, d’identifier, de soutenir, et d’enregistrer les moments clefs de la découverte, de la création, de l’invention de la signification des objets étudiés et du savoir historique qui en découle. Ces méthodes auront recours à des approches issues aussi bien des sciences cognitives que de la philosophie et de la sociologie des sciences.
• l’élaboration d’un logiciel de support pour cette tâche, basé sur les résultats d’études de cas.
• l’évaluation de l’impact de l’outil informatique sur les pratiques traditionnelles, et son intégration dans le processus professionnel des chercheurs.
L’objectif ultime est de montrer que, au-delà de la curation des (méta-)données attachées à un artefact, il est essentiel d’aussi conserver les étapes intermédiaires de la création du savoir attaché à cet objet afin, le cas échéant, d’en faciliter la ré-interprétation. La contextualisation des objets est cruciale à leur interprétation, et par conséquent à leur signification, telle qu’elle est restituée dans les musées. L’aspect narratif associé à la diffusion du savoir historique et culturel consistera aussi en un des objets d’études de ce carnet de recherche.