Since its inception in 2012, the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) has created a cross-disciplinary and international research environment for the holistic study of handwritten artefacts and the rich diversity of global manuscript cultures beyond traditionally held boundaries of academic discipline, time, and space.
CSMC is located in two buildings at Warburgstraße 26 and 28 in the city of Hamburg. Here, some 200 junior and senior researchers collaborate on a multitude of joint projects that combine the humanities with the natural sciences. A list of currently ongoing projects can be found here, for an archive of completed projects go here. Among these, the largest is the Cluster of Excellence ‘Understanding Written Artefacts’. At present, the cluster includes 55 research projects combining more than 30 academic disciplines organised in five research fields, a research unit ‘Data Linking’ which uses and develops artificial intelligence methods as well as three working groups: ‘Theory and Terminology’ (TNT), ‘Ethics’ and ‘Facing New Technologies’.
In terms of research facilities, CSMC operates an artefact profiling laboratory consisting of a stationary high performance, a mobile, and a container laboratory presently under construction, a graduate school offering Master’s and doctoral degrees, special summer and winter school programmes as well as a research library.
Additionally, CSMC has established the division ‘Written Artefacts as Cultural Heritage’ to support and initiate projects related to the study and preservation of written artefacts in Asia and Africa in cooperation with various regional and international partners. This also resulted in the establishment of branch offices in Bamako, Mali and Kathmandu, Nepal.
To further facilitate the study of written artefacts and manuscript cultures, CSMC invites fellows and guests, organises various workshops and lectures and releases a wide variety of publications, among them a book series, a journal, occasional papers, manuals, data bases and software; a complete archive can be found here. To learn more about the roots of CSMC going back to 2004 and the Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) 950, find a comprehensive historical account here.