Brown Bag Talk with Alison Chapman and Samantha MacFarlane

Posted on Mar 18, 2016
March 23, 2016
12:00 pmto1:00 pm

The Electronic Textual Cultures Laboratory at the University of Victoria ( invites you to attend the fourth meeting of the 2015-16 Brown Bag Speaker Series. This is a series of informal lunchtime seminars for faculty and graduate students in the Department of Humanities and across the university to discuss issues in digital literacy, digital humanities, and the changing face of research, scholarship, and teaching in our increasingly digital world. For an hour once per month, we meet to hear from an invited speaker, share ideas, and build knowledge.

On Wednesday, March 23rd, from 12 until 1 p.m., Alison Chapman (Associate Professor at the University of Victoria) and Samantha MacFarlane ( PhD Candidate at the University of Victoria) will be presenting a talk entitled,

How Student Collaboration and Innovation Helped Build a Database of Victoria Periodical Poetry

Details are below and in the attached poster. Please share this announcement and poster with anyone who might be interested in attending.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 12 – 1 p.m.
MacLaurin D283, University of Victoria

Abstract: A Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry [], edited by Dr Alison Chapman, evolved out of discussions in 2010 with her graduate student (Dr Caley Ehnes), and was developed and sustained by the collaboration and labour of a team of undergraduate, MA and PhD students, as well as the technical support and intellectual collaboration of HCMC and Special Collections. The relational Database has over 7,600 poems from a range of Victorian periodical print held in the university library.
This talk will offer a brief biography of a database, outlining the student interventions, collaborations, and research discoveries that are fundamental to the success of the project. We will sketch out some talking points around issues of student DH labour (training, accreditation, intellectual ownership) in terms of both opportunities and challenges. We will also talk about the research questions raised by creating a database of poems that includes the page images of their primary print publication as well as attribution of authorship. Finally, we will address the often messy afterlife of a DH project, and especially the challenges posed with completion, funding, and preservation.

Dr Alison Chapman is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada. She has also been a Faculty member at the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow. Her areas of research interest are Victorian literature and culture and digital studies. She is the author of The Afterlife of Christina Rossetti, the co-author of A Rossetti Family Chronology, and the editor or co-editor of several collections of essays including A Companion to Victorian Poetry and Victorian Women Poets. A new monograph, Networking the Nation: British and American Women Poets and Italy, 1840-1870, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015, and she is continuing to work on the digital project A Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry ( Recent DH publications include an essay on “Digital Studies” in the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature, and the chapter “Virtual Victorian Poetry” in the collection Virtual Victorians: Networks, Connections, Technologies. She is an editor of two Victorian poems in the new COVE (Central Online Victorian Educator) digital project, founded by Dino Felluga (
Samantha MacFarlane completed her B.A. (Honours) and M.A. in English Language and Literature at Queen’s University and is a fourth-year SSHRC-funded Ph.D. candidate at the University of Victoria, where she specialises in Victorian poetry. Her dissertation analyses the emergence of the Victorian verse novel in the mid-nineteenth century by examining its socio-cultural context and critical reception, as well as contemporary debates on genre and poetics, and she was awarded the Hugh Campbell and Marion Alice Small Graduate Scholarship for Scottish Studies for 2015-16 for this research. She has presented papers at conferences hosted by the British Women Writers Association, the North American Victorian Studies Association, and the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada. She has also taught academic reading and writing as a sessional instructor, worked as a research assistant on the Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry, and serves as a Graduate Student Representative on the Executive Committee of the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada.

Bring your lunch and join us to discuss digital technologies and research in our community!



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