In a nutshell, the CUDAN project mission is to further understand the nature of cultural interaction, cultural dynamics, and cultural evolution, through research in the mode of a multidisciplinary science lab, and through nurturing the associated community of practice in an exercise of intentional academic mixing.

The CUDAN project brings together a group of at least 5 postdoctoral or senior research fellows and 5 PhD students to harness the rare high-risk/high-gain opportunity of combining multidisciplinary science, computation, information design, with art and cultural history, cultural media studies, and cultural semiotics, in close collaboration and co-authorship. The newly established research group will form the core of the CUDAN Open Lab, which in addition to research aims to function as a forum for intellectual exchange, and as an incubator for follow-up projects. Ideally, the research fellows contribute aspects of network science, complexity science, science of science, computational social science, machine learning/AI, information science, data science, data visualization, user experience design, and/or digital humanities to the locally existing expertise in art and cultural history, cultural media studies, cultural semiotics, and digital technology. Beyond the local environment, the CUDAN initiative will also provide the research fellows and PhD students with the opportunity to work closely with high-profile external partners in multidisciplinary science, cultural heritage institutions, and stakeholders in the cultural industries in Estonia, in Europe, and around the globe.

We are particularly interested to work on the following research challenges:

– Using machine learning to analyze images and/or audio-visual material over historical time scales, to reveal patterns and biases in large data collections through a kind of “artificial neural science”.

– Using linguistic topic modelling and/or bi-partite network science to analyze the structure and evolution of large corpora of texts and/or classifications, feeding into a “palaeontology of memes”.

– Using temporal multilayer network analysis and/or topological data analysis to make sense of large cultural knowledge graphs, through capturing fundamental emerging patterns of “network multiplicity”.

– Combining the analysis of multimedia, unstructured, and structured data in a so-called embed-everything-approach that could result in a kind of “multidimensional fluid-dynamics of meaning”.

In addition, we aim to nurture the Cultural Analytics community through addressing the following challenges:

– Mapping and characterizing the achievements, opportunities, and limits of Cultural Data Analytics, ideally resulting in actionable maps of the relevant “multidisciplinary ski area”.

– Enabling and optimizing the CUDAN Open Lab experience through a conscious effort of user experience design, observing and designing workflows, events, and other forms of intentional “academic mixing”.

Our initial recruiting is currently complete. That said, we are always happy discuss opportunities with potential candidates or collaborators who are motivated and have the capacity to spearhead one of these aspects!

The CUDAN approach will evolve over this vision as it is the explicitly funded mission of the ERA Chair and CUDAN team to form and formulate the ERA chair research and management principles, obviously in line with the original proposal, yet also open for radical innovation. Herein lies a rare or even unique high-risk/high-gain opportunity that cuts across disciplines and even established funding panels and domains. If you are enthusiastic and like to add a meaningful aspect in this mission, please touch base with us!

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