Northwestern Events Calendar


WED@NICO WEBINAR: Maximilian Schich, Tallinn University, Estonia

Maximilian Schich

When: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Meghan Stagl   847.491.2527

Group: Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings



Maximilian Schich, Professor for Cultural Data Analytics, Tallinn University, Estonia


Academic Mixing for Cultural Data Analysis


Making sense of cultural phenomena often relies on qualitative inquiry to capture and synthesize the inherent complications. Meanwhile, an increasing amount of work recognizes the necessity to quantify and analyze the emerging complexity of cultural interaction and dynamics. Great potential still lies in a systematic science of art and culture where both perspectives do complement each other. Engaging in academic mixing towards this aim entails three essential challenges: The constitution of a systematic foundation, the formation of individual multi-disciplinarity, and the management of heterogeneous collaborations. A shared methodological foundation for cultural analysis, as I will briefly recapitulate, may symphonically integrate networks, topology, physics, art history, computation, and cognition. All these areas find a common ancestor in the system of Leibniz, and can feed into a coherent research process that builds on a general symbolic reference framework as first proposed by Cassirer in 1927. The formation of individual multi-disciplinarity requires meaningful maps of the opportunity space, yet also the crevasses within the multi-disciplinary ski area. The formation further requires meaningful individual curricula that capture the shared foundation and also the whole tail of possibility. In addition, the formation of multi-disciplinarity requires convincing proofs of concept, for example in the form of landmark papers, which hold up against the scrutiny of a great variety of experts while also reaching a broad audience. The management of heterogeneous collaborations can help to mitigate the associated career and group project risk that emerges from radical multi-disciplinarity. Managing heterogeneous collaborations is also necessary, as no single researcher could master all potentially relevant methods, while being sufficiently trained as a domain expert in all relevant areas of interest. The purpose of this talk is to spark a discussion around these issues, which seems highly worthwhile as NICO in particular and Northwestern in general are home to leading practitioners in the areas of academic mixing and socio-cultural complexity. I will start from the history of science, include some exemplary proofs of concept, and give glimpses into the ongoing effort of academic mixing within the generously funded CUDAN ERA Chair project at Tallinn University.

Speaker Bio:

Maximilian Schich is a Professor in Cultural Data Analytics and CUDAN ERA Chair holder at Tallinn University. A multidisciplinary researcher, Max aims to understand the nature of cultural interaction via a systematic combination of qualitative inquiry & quantification, computation, and aesthetics. Max's ongoing research builds on a background in art history, network science, computational social science, and an applied experience as a cultural "database pathologist”. Max's PhD monograph pioneered network analysis in art research, focusing on antique reception and visual citation. Later, A Network Framework of Cultural History in Science Magazine and the Nature video Charting Culture made global impact. In recent years, Max has focused on the upcoming Cultural Interaction book, which outlines a systematic science of art and culture based on two decades of work. Max has studied at LMU Munich, HU-Berlin, and Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome. Following a postdoc phase at BarabásiLab in Boston and the group of Dirk Helbing in Zurich, Max joined UT Dallas as an Associate Professor in Arts & Technology and a founding member of the Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History. In June 2020, Max moved to Estonia to build, manage, and sustain a research group of 10 fellows in the 2.5 million Euro CUDAN ERA Chair project, which is funded within the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program of the European Commission.


Webinar link:
Passcode: nico
ID: 939 0687 4654

About the Speaker Series:

Wednesdays@NICO is a vibrant weekly seminar series focusing broadly on the topics of complex systems and data science. It brings together attendees ranging from graduate students to senior faculty who span all of the schools across Northwestern, from applied math to sociology to biology and every discipline in-between. Please visit: for information on future speakers.

More Info Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in