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The Julfa Cemetery Digital Repatriation Project: Countering Cultural Genocide through Technology

April 6, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Julfa Cemetery project will be the main subject of this session, but it will begin with an outline of its digital humanities context.

One focus of the project is a virtual reconstruction of the now-destroyed cemetery, for which the research and development required is primarily technical. The main source materials for this reconstruction are over 4,000 original photographs of the site dating from 1915 until the present, illustrated manuscripts, handwritten journals, architectural sketches and audio recordings. The core of the photographic archive is a collection of 2,000 pictures taken by Argam Ayvazyan over a period of 25 years, often at great personal risk.

In order to provide proper context, however, research is needed on the funerary moments that are to be reconstructed and on the individuals they commemorated. The project is also committed to collaborating with the many other projects that are tackling complex issues involved in preserving cultural heritage, with the urgency of such work escalating daily.  In the best ‘traditions’ of digital humanities research, it also aims to provide a basis for wider research, beyond what can be feasibly tackled in the project itself.

The presentation will describe briefly both the technical and contextual research components of the project, and will identify some of the challenges that are raised in cultural heritage projects of this kind.

The presentation will be followed by a discussion period in which these and other relevant issues can be explored, including the significance of such a project in a period that sees many culturally important sites under threat of destruction, and also the potential of a project such as this to contribute to wider research agendas.


Harold Short is a Visiting Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University and is Emeritus Professor of King’s College London.  At King’s (1988-2010) he founded and directed the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (later Department of Digital Humanities).  He was involved in the development of three MA programmes: Digital Humanities, Digital Culture and Society and Digital Asset Management, and, with Willard McCarty, of the world’s first PhD programme in Digital Humanities, launched in 2005. He also played a lead role in a number of large-scale inter-disciplinary research projects.   2011-15 he was a visiting Professor at Western Sydney University, where he was closely involved in the establishment of the Digital Humanities Research Group, which hosted the Digital Humanities 2015 conference.

He is a former Chair of the European Association for Digital Humanities and the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations in which he has a continuing role to support the development of digital humanities associations world-wide. He is a general editor of the Routledge series Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

For more information please contact

Johanna Romero
Tel: (310) 825-1181

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Studies, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures


April 6, 2016
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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