01 Dec 2010
As the sole London-based member of Meedan's far flung team (we have developers in Damascus, Amman, San Francisco and Portland, not to mention our team of editors and translators across the Middle East), I was glad to have some company last week when some of my colleagues dropped in for a visit.
The occasion was a two-day gathering at the University of Cambridge with the academic partners behind our inter-faith project. We are working on a multi-year project with the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme to develop cross-language approaches to inter-faith study and discussion online. It is a very exciting project which has the potential to provide new directions not just in models of inter-faith engagement, but in the digital humanities too.
We were joined at the meetings by members of CIP's core staff, including the world renowned director of the programme, Professor David Ford, as well as scholars from a series of other key partners: Sohail Nakhooda, inter-faith research fellow at Kalam Research and Media; Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute, Professor Robert Gibbs; Professor in Foundations of Information at the University of Toronto, Brian Cantwell Smith; Director of Development for the Cambridge Abraham Project and former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC, Michael Wakelin; and former academic director at CIP, Dr Nicholas Adams.
The meetings provided us with an opportunity to show the platform development to date (due for a more formal release in early 2011), explore use cases and discuss the next phase of development of the tools. We paid particular attention to the cross-language tools we hope will set this platform apart in the field: the glossary, the discussion and annotation tools, and the text library.
The aim of this work is to bring texts to life through shared study. Scholars will be able to explore and learn about practices of reasoning across different faiths in a collaborative environment. If you would like to learn more or contribute suggestions, contact me on Twitter.