29 August, 2023

Brunella Velardi

Brunella Velardi
Lab_HD Visiting Scholar
PhD student in History and Cultural Heritage at DISTU, Università degli Studi della Tuscia (Viterbo, Italy)
“As a PhD student in History and Cultural Heritage at DISTU, Università degli Studi della Tuscia (Viterbo, Italy), since 2018 I started dealing with IT and software that could support my study and help me to manage, analyze and highlight the main points of my investigation.
My research focuses on the cultural environment of production, circulation and public display of art in Naples between the second half of 20th and 21st century. More specifically, the project aims to track places and times of exhibition of contemporary artworks in the city and in its surroundings, to demonstrate the central role of Neapolitan actors – be they curators, politicians, art dealers, artists, etc. – in making Naples a crucial point of exchange for art languages and a territory peculiarly rich in terms of presence of contemporary artworks in public spaces, capable to turn it into a capital of contemporary art.
From March to May 2019, I spent a period of study at NOVA-FCSH, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, where I had the opportunity to approach some specific software and to learn how to integrate art historical investigation and IT. During my stay at NOVA, thanks to the support of prof. Daniel Alves from the Digital Humanities Lab, I deepened the knowledge of the most significant features and debates on Digital Humanities, both from a theoretical and practical point of view. Several readings and the course Informatica Aplicada à História introduced the field, focusing on the uses of IT in human studies and the most recent applications in History and Art History; different uses of databases in museums; spatial humanities and Geographic Information Systems; Social Network Analysis. A wider awareness of mapping issues and, on the other hand, of pros and limits of digital mapping tools, opened the path to the possibility of applying such methods to my research.
At NOVA-FCSH I could therefore gain some experience with tools finalized to support my study and to organize its first results.
On relational databases building with Microsoft Access – Starting from a set of data mined from the research, the task included the identification of categories and related attributes and the creation of connections between fields. The resulting model is a structure ready to be filled and, once completed, to be questioned and imported to visualization software.
On the visualization of data sets with ArcMap (ArcGis) and quantitative and qualitative analysis through the combination of specific queries – The actions led through the software included the visualization on map of georeferenced data previously collected in a simple Excel table and the characterization of selected attributes finalized to a diachronic investigation on the distribution of contemporary art venues on the territory of Naples through decades from 1950 until nowadays.
The challenge to include a conspicuous number of features to be questioned and to adapt the queries to the specific goals of the investigation was successful. Next step will be importing models from the general database to develop the research in a digital environment, leading parallel investigation on cultural phenomena through traditional and digital approach.”
Brunella Velardi
PhD student
Università degli Studi della Tuscia (Viterbo, Italy)
June 2019
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