Hello and welcome to my Digital Humanities (DH) blog. My name is Seán and this blog forms part of the requirements for achieving an MA in Digital Humanities from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

I became aware of the MA programme in DH via an email and I subsequently attended an open day organised by An Foras Feasa on the Maynooth Campus. I felt that the course offered a great opportunity to learn new skills in fascinating areas which were a good match for my previous experience and education.

I have a background in Fine Art having previously completed a four year Level 8 programme incorporating: psychology, philosophy, history of art, photography, painting, drawing, graphics, print, and sculpture.

I have been fortunate in that my work has always been in areas which I found interesting such as heritage and the environment. My work has also been quite varied which has provided me with experience in many diverse areas including teaching computers/IT (Leaving cert applied), Library assistant, graphic design, historical display design,  photography, audio-visual editing, image and document scanning, image archiving, and web design/development. Much of this work was carried out for social justice groups, development aid, environmental and heritage organisations.

I am interested in how popular appreciation of heritage and culture can be aided by digital technologies. Contemporary technological societies are media saturated and highly visual cultures fast becoming dependent upon digital technologies. The long term effects of these technologies on our societal, cultural and political spheres are still unknown as they are fluid and emergent phenomena. However, these technologies can be harnessed to foster greater appreciation of cultural heritage through their potential to engage the public, and even offer modes of participatory engagement for non-specialist members of the public to aid or direct heritage and humanities research.

The growing movement within the Humanities towards democratisation of knowledge is fuelled by the affordances offered by digital technologies and their ability to disseminate and elucidate dynamic and complex research outcomes through innovative and creative means. This engagement, particularly when done in the spirit of free dissemination, can greatly enhance appreciation for heritage and other areas of the humanities, while increasing access for a much broader demographic range than previously possible.

I see this course as a means by which I can build upon my skills in technology and visual communication, and to ground these skills within a framework of best practice methodologies and standards in order to combine my past education, work experience, and interests, with the goal of making a positive contribution towards cultural heritage appreciation and access.