The magic of time travel

Digital humanities as a link between the past and the future

My name is Iana Sotnikova. For the past 13 years I’ve been working as an interpreter and translator. I graduated from foreign languages department at Kharkiv University of Humanities (Ukraine), where I had been studying English and German. I started my career as a translator and later on as a simultaneous interpreter.

Five years ago I started writing fiction and got interested in literature and book industry. I wrote a book for children, which was published in Ukraine in the beginning of this year. The more I got involved into the book production process, the more interested I were about the technical side of it. I am truly fascinated with everything concerning book design, illustrations and typography.

A couple of years before that I had been taking lessons of water marbling in Istanbul. I discovered that art accidently and I just fell in love with it. Marbled papers had been used since the middle ages for the decoration of the books. They served as covers and end-leafs in old editions. I was very passionate about that art and I even had my little art studio, where I was making marbled paper and the biding following the old manual techniques to produce hand-made notebooks.


What brought me here to Besancon to study Rare Book and Digital Humanities was my love to books, old crafts and languages.

This all had actually started with my old dream to speak French. At first I thought I would just go to France for a couple of weeks for a language course to experience the immersion into the language and cultural environment, but then I realized this would not be enough. I started to think about something bigger and eventually I decided to check the other educational programs, apart from the language ones. At first the idea of master program felt crazy to me. I graduated long time ago and becoming an international student seemed exciting but very challenging . But all my doubts faded away when I came across the Rare Book and Digital Humanities program at Université Bourgogne – Franche-Comté. I read the curriculum and it was like an epiphany for me, because it seemed to combine everything I was interested in. It looked like a perfect match, so I put all my hesitations aside and decided to apply.

In my motivation letter I wrote that there is no future without due knowledge, respect and preservation of the past. I think this program is that link between the past and the future that is being built up today. Being a student of Rare Book and Digital Humanities I have an opportunity to literally touch the history with my hands and preserve it for the future generations. This actually conveys the whole idea of the written word as the medium of the knowledge transference. And I am truly happy to be able to contribute to this magical process of time travel.