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Wed 8 Mar 2023
10:00 - 14:00

Venue: Sidgwick Site, Alison Richard Building, S1

Provided by: Cambridge Digital Humanities


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CDH Methods | Theorising Transparency in Digital Culture

Wed 8 Mar 2023


This project begins from the premise that ‘transparency’ is not clear at all. Transparency is historically mediated, culturally constructed, and ideologically complex. Understood expansively, transparency is enmeshed with a variety of functions and associations, having been mobilised as a political call to action; a design methodology; a radical practice of digital disruption; an ideological tool of surveillance; a corporate strategy of diversion; an aesthetics of obfuscation; a cultural paradigm; a programming protocol; a celebration of Enlightenment rationality; a tactic for spatialising data; an antidote to computational black boxing; an ethical cliché; and more.

Across two workshops, we will explore the multidimensionality and intractability of transparency and investigate how the demand for more of it—in our algorithms, computational systems, and culture more broadly—can encode assumptions about the liberational capacity of restoring representation to the invisible. As a group we will conduct a survey of transparency and its political ramifications to digital culture by learning about its conceptual genealogies; interrogating its relevance to art and architecture; questioning its limits as an ethical imperative; and mapping it as a contemporary strategy of anti/mediation. Drawing on a combination of artworks, historical texts, cultural touchstones, and moving images, these workshops will give participants an opportunity to attend to transparency’s complex configurations within contemporary culture through a media theoretical lens. This project is designed to facilitate collaborative study; foster inter-disciplinary discourse; promote experimental learning; and develop a more theoretically nuanced and historically grounded starting point for critiquing transparency and its operations within digital culture.

Target audience

This workshop is open to graduate students, early-career researchers, and staff at the University of Cambridge.


Participants may be asked to complete some preparatory reading, screenings, or reflections before each session. Participants are requested to complete this questionnaire before the event. Please ensure you are logged onto your University Google account to access the form further help here


Number of sessions: 1

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Wed 8 Mar   10:00 - 14:00 10:00 - 14:00 Sidgwick Site, Alison Richard Building, S1 map Carleigh Morgan

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