The neologism “thinkering”, word composed by the verbs “tinkering” and “thinking”, was first coined by the internationally known media historian and theorist Erkki Huhtamo. Thinkering describes the action of playful experimentation with technological and digital tools for historical interpretation and its presentation. The researcher no longer explores passively the past, but uses the newly developed digital tools to discover new and potentially unexplored aspects of his historical research, therefore becoming by extension an active participant in the construction of new historical discoveries. This is explained by the inherent social and amusing nature of most digital tools, which often were not considered adapted or destined in first place for academic research. The experimentation with these tools does however develop an awareness for the creative process of historical evidence and interpretation. The result of thinkering is the following: the historian has to think and question his choice of preference for a particular narrative, born out of his tinkering with the tools and historical sources.


Sönke ARENS, Experiment und Exploration. Bildung als experimentelle Form der Welterschliessung, Bielefeld, Transcript, 2011

Barry BROWN, Oskar JUHLIN, Enjoying Machines, Cambridge, MIT Press, 2015

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