How my experience at DH-IGNITE changed my research perspective

By: Babongile Bidla (Masters student in Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape)

DH-IGNITE was truly an amazing experience. I got to experience the event in person and virtually. We heard presentations from different speakers about the work they are doing in their different fields as well as the tools and methods they are using. A key takeaway from the event was the importance of interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration in research.

As a political studies student, I am interested in how technology can transform the way the government works and improve public service delivery. DH-IGNITE helped me gain new insights into the power of data visualization and storytelling in communicating complex research findings. Moreover, the presentations left me thinking about how I can apply digital humanities methods, such as network analysis, to present complex political and social phenomena in my work.

Attending the event has left me with a renewed appreciation for the power of data visualization and storytelling in communicating complex research findings. I hope to incorporate various multimedia elements into my research to help explain complex research findings and explore more digital humanities possibilities in my research.

Presentations I liked the most

The presentation on “Tracing innovation and identity in early African Nationalism with computational social science” was really interesting to me. The methods used actually got me thinking about my case study and how the area has such complex networks that would be interesting to map. The network analysis presented by Dr J. Schoots really got me thinking about how one could visualize complex networks in my case study.

Another interesting presentation was on Mozilla Common Voice by Roné Wierenga. I really like the work Mozilla Common Voice is trying to do — capturing different South African languages. I thought it was quite cool to actually have a proper language database where the contributors can donate their voices and also review what has been submitted.

The UJ Methods Lab presentation was interesting as a way of seeing that there is a place where you can learn about innovative new research methods used in the field of humanities and social sciences.

The discussion about ChatGPT really sparked my interest in its impact on academic research and its accuracy. It got me thinking about how students can build critical thinking skills when this AI tool can supposedly do everything for them.

For the full programme see