Images at the crossroads between computer vision and the human and social sciences: An inter- and transdisciplinary project of drawings of gods


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Images at the crossroads between computer vision and the human and social sciences: An inter- and transdisciplinary project of drawings of gods
Titre de la conférence
Swiss Inter- and Transdisciplinarity Day 2018: Inter- and Transdisciplinarity in a Digital World
Cocco Christelle, Serbaeva Olga, Darbellay Frédéric, Vinck Dominique, Dandarova Robert Zhargalma, Brandt Pierre-Yves
Statut éditorial
Date de publication
The project “Drawings of gods: A Multicultural and Interdisciplinary Approach to Children’s Representations of Supernatural Agents” (Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), grant number: CR11I1_156383) is an inter- and transdisciplinary project which aims to discover novel patterns in children’s representation of gods using the mixed-method (children’s drawings, narratives and questionnaires). Unlike previous studies mostly conducted within Western Christian context, this project is based on data from a larger diversity of countries and religious traditions (currently, 6’500 drawings from eight countries) and seeks to contribute to the lack of research in culture and interfaith variation of children’s representations. Primarily rooted in developmental psychology and psychology of religion, the project largely integrates religious studies, sociology and computer sciences to gain more insight into the complexity and diversity of children’s representations of supernatural agents.
Three types of digital tools were developed to ensure the effective implementation of the project. Firstly, in order to make the collected drawings accessible to the whole interdisciplinary team of researchers, including international partners, an online database was created ( Secondly, the annotation tool “Gauntlet” was designed and created to meet the special needs of this research ( Thirdly, project specific computer vision and image processing methods, such as colour detection, were developed to deal with the large amounts of data.
One of the main challenges of the project is a necessity to test, rethink and rework the created digital tools to respond to specific needs of the interdisciplinary project and the unique character of children’s drawings. This required considerable time investment, financial resources and new skills on the part of researchers. We were faced with different types of problems, from the standardization of the quality of the scanned data to the architectural problems of the database, in order to better deal with the complexity and variety of collected data. Indeed, the digital tools considerably altered the research practices of humanities scholars.
Key readings:
Darbellay, F.; Vinck, D.; Cocco, C.; Dessart, G.; Dandarova Robert, Z. & Brandt, P.-Y. (2018), 'L'interdisciplinarité en partage: collaborer pour innover. Le projet “dessins de Dieu”', InnovatiO (5),
Cocco, C.; Dessart, G.; Serbaeva, O.; Brandt, P.-Y.; Vinck, D. & Darbellay, F. (2018), 'Potentialités et difficultés d'un projet en humanités numériques (DH): confrontation aux outils et réorientations de recherche', Digital Humanities Quarterly 12(4),
Dandarova Robert, Z.; Dessart, G.; Serbaeva, O.; Puzdriac, C.; Khodayarifard, M.; Zardkhaneh, S. A.; Zandi, S.; Petanova, E.; Ladd, K. L. & Brandt, P.-Y. (2016), 'A Web-based Database for Drawings of Gods', Archive for the Psychology of Religion 38(3), 345-352,
Drawing of gods, Digital tools, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity, Digital Humanities
Création de la notice
30/11/2018 18:19
Dernière modification de la notice
09/01/2019 8:08
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