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Digital Humanities Lab

News and interviews

New two-term practicum data analysis at Utrecht Data School

Starting in September, Utrecht Data School offers a newly designed track on data analysis and visualisation. As in earlier editions of the Utrecht Data School, the new two-term Practicum relies on the close cooperation with external partners from public administrations, corporations or NGO’s. “Instead of pushing our ambitious workload into one single teaching term, we now have more time to focus on basic training first and in-depth data analysis later”, Thomas Boeschoten (the co-founder and course instructor) explains the transition to the new model. The external partners seem to value the expanded model as it allows for a more thorough investigation of the specific cases.

“As the collaborations proved to be very productive, many partners would sign up for a following project anyway. The new model provides more space to carry out a research project and if needed take extra time for it”, explains Dr Mirko Tobias Schäfer, principal investigator at the Utrecht Data School.utrechtdataschool180


Boeschoten: “We encourage students from all disciplines to join the Data School”. Interdisciplinarity is key as (big) data practices emerge all over the humanities and also affect the sciences. Students learn about novel tools for scraping, analysing and visualising data. They develop a research plan for a project that will be carried out during Practicum II.


In Practicum II students work in small teams and in close cooperation with the external partner on a specific case. They apply and expand their skills in working with data. Simultaneously, students develop a deep understanding of the opportunities and pitfalls of data-driven practices in a professional environment. This knowledge is currently needed on the job market. Utrecht Data School therefore does not only provide the basic training and experience that is required for prosperous carreers, but also brings students in touch with potential future employers.


The Utrecht Data School is placed as a teaching and research platform at the Department of Media and Culture Studies. Right from the start in 2013 it cooperated with external partners, which provides the unique opportunity for students to experience the emergence of data practices and their impact on organisations and society. For the partners, the Utrecht Data School is an interesting place to scout for talent and to witness creative, out-of-the-box approaches to making sense of data. This model is quite unique, and essential to Utrecht University’s aim to prepare students for their professional career and to transmit academic knowledge to other areas in the knowledge economy.

More info on the website of the Utrecht Data School.