The 4th International Conference of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, entitled Textualising the Experience – Digitalising the Text: Cyprus through Travel Literature (15th-18th c.), will be held in collaboration with the University of Cyprus at the Learning Resource Centre "Stelios Ioannou", the impressive new university library in Nicosia, on 6-8 February 2019.

The aim of the Conference is to encourage the interdisciplinary study of travel literature on the Eastern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on Cyprus, and to promote the use of digital tools and resources in humanities research.

Researchers and scholars from eight countries will approach travel writing as a genre, as evidence of perceptions of the Other, as a means of representing space, as a testimonial of cultural exchange and as a historical source. In terms of background research, the presentations will be based on the platform created for the Zefyros research programme, supervised by Professor Julia Chatzipanagioti-Sangmeister (University of Cyprus) and funded by the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation. The platform containing the results of the programme will be presented at the Conference and will constitute a central point of reference in a roundtable discussion.

With an innovative approach to travel literature and a corresponding new methodology, Zefyros collected and indexed the multitude of Cyprus-related information traced in 125 editions of travel literature from the 15th to the 18th century in the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation Collection. Researchers will gain access to 60,000 entries on the natural space, habitation, society, economy, culture and history of Cyprus. Users will be able to retrieve data and view the original text.

Zefyros is the first component of a broader web platform which in the future will host further databases of travel literature on the Eastern Mediterranean.

We look forward to seeing you at the Conference and to a lively discussion during the Conference's sessions.

Sylvia Ioannou
Founder of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation