What do you know about digital humanities? Generally speaking, it is viewed as an area of scholarly activity, involving the systematic use of digital resources in the humanities. Here digital humanities can be reflected in students’ artworks, in which students give full play to their knowledge related to digital technology and humanity studies in support of the epidemic battle.

Students are encouraged to share their ideas through artworks by integrating professional knowledge into practical applications in the recent activity called “Youwei Youth”(‘Youwei’ is the name of an important figure ‘Kang Youwei’ in the late Qing Dynasty, which means outstanding) held by the Communist Youth League of SCNU. Among them, students from the School of Urban Culture stood out, skillfully using digital tools to show their understanding and empathy for those dedicated to the fight against Covid-19.

"During the epidemic, I have seen so many touching stories on line that it prompts me to express my feelings by way of giving full play to my professional skills. Since Hubei, Wuhan in particular, is the epicenter of the outbreak, I choose the image of medical workers standing in front of the iconic building, the Yellow Crane Tower, in Wuhan as my drawing subject,” says Huang Qiying, majoring in the Internet and New Media. 


Huang Qiying’s works: Persevere in Wuhan《坚守黄鹤》

“I design and edit with Photoshop after a period of self-study. Though I have encountered several technical difficulties in the designing process and changed the draft many times, I took it as a good opportunity to practise and express my personal feelings on national affairs,” she says.

"From the perspective of my major, digital expression is an indispensable technical carrier, while humanity is the integral ideological and culture basis, each complementing the other. Only on the basis of humanistic care can we produce evocative works with digital technology,” says Qiying.

Speaking of the relationship between digital humanities and digital tools, Huang Qiying thinks that digital humanities is rooted in the characteristics of both culture and new media, not separated and pieced together. Now with the internet expanding exponentially, it is urgent and crucial for us youths to acquire the theoretical basis and professional skills to explore and lead in the new era. 

Another piece of artwork reflects more understanding on a special group “mothers” amid the pandemic. “My work is inspired by a police mother who gave up her holiday to attend to her child and remained at her post. Deeply moved by her stories, I tried to record the human warmth in the anti-epidemic battle with my drawings, to pay tribute to all the blue-collar guards position at the rear, wishing that more people could see what front line fighters have done and the spirit they hold up,” says Yang Xuxia, a student majoring in Culture Industry Management.


Yang Xuxia’s works: The most beautiful mother in mask《最美口罩妈妈》

"I dabbled in areas that are new to me through the activity, for example combining the art of painting with my major. It also made me realize that we should encourage the exploration of alignment of our professional studies with societal trends,” she says. 

"For the field of cultural industry management, the co-exisistence of the cultural industry and the Internet is particularly in need of further research and development. Take the music industry, for example, many exhibition halls have carried out ‘cloud viewing exhibition’ projects and on-line concerts, taking the advantage of new media through the Internet. These cases have indicated hopeful directions for the future development of our profession and the trajectory of digital humanity.”

Since the outbreak began, the Internet and various new media have shown their critical role in timely transmission of information and mobilization and inspiration to the public while people were staying indoors. With the continuous development of the Internet and the increasing number of users of digital products, the scope of influence of the Internet and new media will be gradually expanded together with the vitality of humanity and culture exchanges, and more, other fields will also become involved.

"I was profoundly amazed at their productions, by the beauty of the creative expression of participants’ professional knowledge, and by the sincere wish for the success of fighting the epidemic,” Mo Xiushan, a member of the planning group of the activity said. “We hope that through this activity more students can reflect on how their future professional studies can be better combined with the context of our time, and that digital humanities can continue to play its part in lifting people’s spirit in the struggle at the time of the pandemic.”

Written by Xu Wenting

Proofread by Edwin Baak

Edited and reviewed by Li Jianru

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