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COST Action IS0901 “Women Writers In History”
First Training School 11-16 October 2010, The Hague

Svd, AK 1-11-2010

During six days eighteen COST WWIH Action members from eight different countries came to the Huygens Institute The Hague to participate in a so-called “Training School”, the first one organized by the Action. Participants were: Juan Gomis; Hendrik Schlieper; Magdalena Koch; Viola Capkova; Jasmine Westerlund; Marie Sorbo; Anne Birgitte Ronning; Juliana Jovicic; Elisa Müller-Adams; Kerstin Wiedemann; Jelena Milinkovic; Hege Hosoien.


This Action is organized around an online database in which members can consult, stock, share and manipulate their research material: information about the European women authors we are studying in this Action, about their works, and most particularly about the reception of their works by contemporary readers. The idea is that together we prepare collective research leading to new literary historiography: empirically-based, instead of reproducing earlier literary histories determined by the 19th-century canon formation, and presenting women authors as participating in an international “movement”, not just more or less isolated figures within the different national histories.

It is clearly important that Action members, as numerously as possible, become familiar with this database; especially because during the four COST years, this database will also be further developed into a flexible Virtual Research Environment.

In order to familiarize the members with this tool, Instructions for use have been published on the website. Yet it proved clearly necessary for those starting to work with advanced ICT means to come together and have the opportunity to spend some days exclusively for this training.

At the end of the week, the participants had overcome all obstacles they initially might have experienced in using the database. They expressed the feeling that they are able to:

  • use the WomenWriters database for your own research questions,
  • to explain to assistants (when having some, or one) how to work in the database,
  • formulate needs for features to be added to the database, or to the Virtual Research Environment to be developed.

This level of competence was what we had planned as our objective for these training days.

Together, the participants have been adding several hundreds of records to the database, which for the moment contains:

  • 3355 records “Authors”
  • 9305 records “Works”
  • 19759 records “Receptions”.

For several countries important amounts of information have been added, in particular for Serbia and Norway (countries for which several members were participating). During the Madrid conference we will continue discussions about the numbers of authors, works and receptions, per country, per period etc.

As one of the participants put it: “It was very useful to have this Training School in the first year of the Cost Action, for at least three reasons. It served to make all participants familiar with the functions of the database; it gave us a long-awaited opportunity to enter our own research results into it, and it gave us a chance to discuss amendments of the database. But there is also a fourth reason I found the Training School worthwhile: it is nice to meet other Cost-researchers and work together for some days, sharing our common interest in female writing across periods and countries”.

And another: “I experienced the database as a very helpful tool to “store”, to “arrange” and to update regularly these – often heterogeneous and quantatively large – data quite easily. It was very helpful that technical questions could be discussed and answered immediately by the trainers or the other participants. Furthermore – and that is what I conclude from our common discussions –, I appreciate the database of a tool that is not static and can be adapted to future needs and interests”.

In view of this further adapting, discussions have taken place, introduced by Joris van Zundert, Ursula Stohler, Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner, Astrid Kulsdom, Suzan van Dijk. They lead to the following list of suggestions, which will be discussed on several levels: in WG 2, with Huygens Institute developers, and also during the Madrid conference.

AsK, November 2010

  • Conferences > COST Meetings > 2010 > Training School The Hague

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