July 13, 2017
by Helen Bradley

Animating Archives: Curating Small Research Data

A workshop at the University of Edinburgh

Wednesday 19 July 2017

10:00 to 16:15, Room 3.15, 18 Buccleuch Place

Organisers: Niamh Moore (Edinburgh) and Rachel Thomson (Digital Humanities Laboratory, Sussex)

Booking via: niamh.moore@ed.ac.uk

A crucial challenge in the rapidly changing landscape of ‘data management’ is exciting the involvement of a wider range of researchers, and research data, than is currently the case. In particular, the focus on ‘big data’ and the computational possibilities of large datasets, has contributed to a sense for many qualitative researchers, or those working with smaller scale data sets, that these discussions are irrelevant for their own practice. Key concerns are that that the labour required to prepare data for deposit in a repository for possible future use by other researchers is ethically challenging, laborious, costly, unrewarding and of no real and meaningful benefit to the current researcher. This is exacerbated in a context where there is much enthusiasm for ‘data management’, but a lack of resource for supporting such work and a lack of recognition for those who take the time to engage in data archiving.

This workshop aims to articulate a necessary cultural shift towards practices of ‘animating archives’ (including realising the potential of emerging digital technologies), and away from narrowly construed notions of ‘data management’ and ‘data repositories’, which have arguably served to obfuscate the creative possibilities of working with data. Questions raised in the various debates around data management, data archiving, data curation, data repositories, cannot be solved by one discipline alone, and need the concerted involvement of researchers across the field of the social sciences and humanities as well as those involved in libraries, archives and various repositories. As the possibility and desirability of expanded archival practice becomes an issue of international relevance we see value in consolidating and extending learning in a UK context where the RCUK requirement to archive (since 1996) has stimulated activity. In particular we see the need to shift from a focus on the necessary challenges of doing this work to sharing examples of researchers collaborating to explore the creative possibilities of ‘animating archives’.

Participants from Sussex, Digital Humanities Lab:

Rachel Thomson, Co-Director, with Liam Berriman, Lucy Robinson, Sharon Webb.

Rachel Thomson is a Professor of Childhood and Youth and sociologist with interests in social change, gender, sexuality and the everyday. She is one of the directors of the Sussex Humanities Lab leading the digital lives and memory strand. Her own work has involved creating, digitising and archiving major qualitative data sets including the 15 year Inventing Adulthoods study the digitisation and archiving of which was a ‘demonstrator’ project for Qualidata, and most recently the Curating Childhood collection within the Mass Observation Archive. She was one of the directors of ESCR Timescapes initiative and played a role in shaping ESRC funding around investment in qualitative longitudinal research. Her current interests include ‘archival proximities’ and archiving as part of everyday practice, strategies for archiving social research and personal archives, and exploring decentralised notions of ‘scaling up’ and ‘assembling’ collections.

Sharon Webb is a lecturer in Digital Humanities with specific interest and expertise in the development of long-term digital preservation repositories, and the policy and best practice standards associated with this. Sharon is involved with a number of projects which seek to provide support and guidance to community driven archives. In particular she is interested in how we can maintain and sustain community archives that are not linked to larger intuitional repositories or structures.

Liam Beriman: Since 2013, I’ve been involved in the longitudinal ‘Everyday Childhoods’ project (2013-present), which has involved setting up a new digital archive on children’s lives based in the Mass Observation collection. I’ve also recently developed a research bid that aimed to bring together different archive collections on children’s everyday lives together for a cross-generational studies of children’s digital from the 1980s to the present. I’m particularly interested in ‘following’ and mapping ideas/questions across archives, as well as the everyday practices of curation and archiving undertaken outside of traditional archive settings.

Lucy Robinson is a Contemporary British Cultural Historian. She jointly co-ordinates the Network for Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change and was academic lead on their JISC funded project ‘Observing the 80s’.  Her work covers politics, popular culture and identity since 1960 with a particular interest in DIY histories, gender and sexuality. She has recently published a number of pieces on subcultural archiving and digital history and on punk pedagogy.

This workshop is funded by a Dean’s Award from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh


June 8, 2017
by Helen Bradley

New Chair of Digital Cultural Heritage

Her appointment as Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage strengthens the University’s commitment to applying data science, in this case to address questions related to culture and society.

Digital techniques in research and teaching

Professor Terras will also develop training and degree programmes as well as supporting staff and students in using digital techniques in research and teaching.

Melissa Terras has a background in Classical Art History, English Literature, Computing Science and Engineering.

Her research focuses on computational techniques that facilitate research in the arts and humanities that would otherwise be impossible without digital technology.

Building on world-leading expertise

Professor Terras serves on the Board of Curators of the University of Oxford Libraries, and on the Board of Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.

She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and Fellow of the British Computer Society

June 1, 2017
by Helen Bradley

‘Humanities Research and GIS’: Digital Humanities event hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology – 12/06/2017

Monday 12 June: Workshop 2.30 – 4.30pm, Lecture 5.00 – 6.30pm followed by reception

Seminar Room 1, Chrystal MacMillan Building

Are you, or have you ever thought about the spatial dimensions of your work, and how GIS might help your research?
The Digital Humanities group in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology is pleased to announce its summer event, ‘Humanities Research and GIS’. This will combine a key note lecture by Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores, Director of the Digital Humanities Research Centre, University of Chester, following an afternoon workshop for all Humanities researchers interested in showcasing and discussing existing GIS-related projects, or discussing the potentials of GIS for their own research projects. We are excited to be joined by Dr Murrieta-Flores, an archaeologist, whose interdisciplinary work in texts, corpus linguistics and GIS will speak across the disciplines in our school. The event will be catered, with refreshments during the afternoon, and a reception after the early evening’s lecture. Please could you let the organisers know if you are coming to help with catering numbers. Details below.

Early evening lecture: Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores, Digital Humanities and Geographical Text Analysis: Introducing Computational Approaches for History, Archaeology and Literature.  Venue: Seminar Room 1, Chrystal MacMillan Building

Collaborations between disciplines such as Geography and different fields in the Humanities are not new. However, the adoption of theories and methods from computational fields such as the Geographic Information Sciences in Humanities-based fields has taken place only in relatively recent times. While in the field of Archaeology tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been used for several decades, it has been only in the past few years that disciplines such as History and Literature have started to explore the possible uses of the technology. As a result, ‘Spatial Humanities’ is rapidly developing as one of the most exciting and innovative fields of research in Digital Humanities, exploring the analysis of space and place in different disciplines. This talk will walk you through the world of spatial technologies, and the most cutting-edge research taking place in the Humanities combining Geographic Information Systems, Corpus Linguistics, Natural Language Processing techniques and Text Mining.
Dr Murrieta-Flores is an archaeologist and Digital Humanities specialist, working with Spatial Humanities in the investigation of different aspects of space, place and time using a range of technologies including Geographic Information Systems, Image Processing Techniques, and Corpus Linguistic approaches. From 2012-2014, she was European Research Council Associate Researcher at ‘Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS and Places’ based at the History Department (Lancaster University).

Afternoon workshop: ‘Workshopping Humanities with GIS Research Projects’. Seminar Room 1, Chrystal MacMillan Building

Brief presentations from researchers working with GIS, to encourage discussion of their practicalities, potentials and academic outcomes, and to encourage other researchers to see the potential of GIS/spatial approaches for their work. This is open to all staff and postgraduates.
For those not certain about which aspect of GIS would be most effective for their research, this is a good opportunity to learn about the potential of this software and how it can be applied to a variety of problems.  This is also a good platform for those who have just started using GIS to briefly present on what they have done so far and receive feedback and input about techniques and approaches.
Session will be led by Xavi Rubio-Campillo, Anna Groundwater and Patricia Murrieta-Flores.
If you would like to present on your work, please could you email Xavi and/or Anna as soon as possible? Xavier.Rubio@ed.ac.uk Anna.Groundwater@ed.ac.uk

April 3, 2017
by Helen Bradley

Visualising Data in QGIS – 27/04/2017

Date: 27 April 2017

Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm

Place: uCreate Studio, room 1.12, Main Library

Bring: Your own laptop with software downloaded (see below)

Ever wondered how people create those 3D maps and data visualisations? Want to know how to animate data on maps to show how the data changes over time? This workshop will show you how to create these sorts of data visualisations with QGIS.  We will introduce you to a range of data visualisation plugins for QGIS. A core point dataset will be manipulated in a range of ways along with backdrop mapping to produce interesting views of the data.

The workshop will take you through the process of creating point data from a csv file; overlaying it on an OpenStreetMap basemap; visualising it as a heatmap; Using a hexagonal grid to sample the data; create 3D skyscraper diagram of the hexagon; and visualise changes to the point distribution over time.  The final outputs will be a 3D model built into a web viewer and an animated heat map as an mp4 movie.

To book your place please click here.

What you will need:

  1. Some previous experience with GIS software is helpful but not strictly necessary if you are comfortable using computers.
  2. Your own laptop, this should be reasonably up-to-date, with a screen 13 inches or more, and have spare disk space. If your laptop struggles with Office it will not cope with QGIS!
  3. Please ensure QGIS installed prior to the workshop:
    1. Download the software for free here: http://www.qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html
    2. The PC installation is easy but it is a bit more involved for Mac Users, here is a step by step guide: http://drjill.net/install-qgis-on-a-mac-in-8-steps/
    3. Start QGIS and make sure you can open a new blank map.
  4. Please bring a mouse! Navigating around maps in QGIS is much easier If you have a mouse, if you have access to one with a scroll wheel that would be best for zooming in and out.

March 23, 2017
by Helen Bradley

Statistical Literacy: What You Need To Know and Why – 06/04/2017

Date: Thursday 6 April  

Time: 9.30 – 12.30

Place: uCreate Studio, room 1.12, Main Library

Bring: Your own laptop

As computational and data-led research become increasingly common across the disciplines, statistical literacy is becoming more important than ever. The aim of this workshop is to cover some of the core concepts that underpin statistical literacy. In particular we explore where statistics come from, what they look like and represent, how they are communicated, and what uses they are put to. Through a mix of activities, discussions, and puzzles, participants are exposed to a range of statistical claims and encouraged to make judgments as to their credibility. As a result of participating in this workshop, individuals should have a new sense of confidence regarding their ability to critically consume the statistical claims they encounter in their research and everyday lives.

This workshop is suitable for individuals with little-to-no knowledge or experience of statistics and are looking for a basic understanding of the subject. As such, the session does not cover formulae, quantitative research methods or commonly used statistical software packages.

Workshop Preparation: The following materials provide an engaging and informative insight into some of the issues and barriers we encounter in becoming statistically literate:

How not to be ignorant about the world | Hans and Ola Rosling [19:09 minutes]

Everyday risks: when statistics can’t predict the future | Michael Blastland and David Speigelhalter

Our nine-point guide to spotting a dodgy statistic | David Speigelhalter

Bacon Sandwiches – Professor David Spiegelhalter explores the risk [4:37]


Book online here

March 15, 2017
by Emma Cockburn

Free Webinars from the UK Data Service – 2017

The UK Data Service provides the UK’s largest collection of social, economic and population data resources suitable for research and teaching. To help you navigate the data that they hold they run introductory webinars on key data, which focus on their most popular datasets. Join them for webinars on:

In addition, they provide webinars which introduce different aspects of the Service:

They also provide more specialised webinars, such as:

All webinars run from 15.00—16.00 and are free to attend.

You can book, or find out more information about any of our events, on their events pages.

For a quarterly round-up of our latest news, features, and forthcoming events, subscribe to their newsletter. For more regular updates and news, subscribe to their Jiscmail.

February 23, 2017
by Anouk Lang

Karen Gregory, “The Labor of Digital Scholarship” – 23/02/2017

Seminar: “The Labour of Digital Scholarship”

Karen Gregory, School of Social and Political Science

Organised by the Centre for Research in Digital Education, in partnership with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Digital Scholarship programme.

A recording with the audio and slides for this seminar is now available here, and an updated set of slides is here.

Time: 12 noon-2pm

Date: 23rd February 2017

Location: Project Room 1.06, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9LH

Open to all (lunch is provided)

Digital platforms have given rise to new modes of scholarly communication. From individual scholarly blogs, shared digitalresearch libraries, open online teaching, social media profiles, to Open Access university initiatives, contemporary academic labour is increasingly becoming digital labour. Drawing on work done in the fields of education, media studies, and cultural studies, this talk will offer a definition of academic digital labour in order to ask make visible the nature of this work, as well as to offer a theory of why such digital work is increasingly valuable in the University. I argue that digital labour is the unacknowledged thread that links disciplinary work, instructional and educational technologies, library services, and information technology to larger administrative visions and goals for restructuring the University. Such restructuring, however, also entails demands for decreased labour costs and docile labour, both of which have resulted in an increasingly contingent, precarious, and causalized University. As such, tracing the labour that makes digital scholarship possible enables us to chart new labour arrangements in the University, as well as ask larger and essential questions about the labour required to curate, sustain, and steward knowledge in a digital society.

About the speaker: Karen Gregory is a Lecturer in Digital Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Her work explores the intersection of digital labor, affect, and contemporary spirituality, with an emphasis on the role of the laboring body. Karen is a founding member of CUNY Graduate Center’s Digital Labor Working Group and her writings have appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Women and Performance, Visual Studies, Contexts, The New Inquiry, and Dis Magazine. You can often find Karen online at @claudiakincaid.


February 23, 2017
by Emma Cockburn

Liz Losh, “Nasty Women, Private Servers, and Digital Purity Myths” – 31/03/2017

Nasty Women, Private Servers, and Digital Purity Myths

Liz Losh, Associate Professor of English and American Studies, William and Mary University

11.30 am – 12.30 pm, Friday 31 March (with lunch from 12.30 – 13.00)

Room G.06, Ground Floor, 50 George Square

A recording with the audio and slides for this seminar is now available here.

A seminar presented by CAHSS Digital Scholarship, Digital Education and Sociology, University of Edinburgh


This talk argues that the rhetoric surrounding failed U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 email scandals can be understood as the consequences of a particular confluence of gender and technology in which excessive digital privacy is represented as a feminized user choice and digital transparency is presented as a masculinist norm.  In visual culture depicting Obama, Clinton, and Trump as users of personal mobile devices in public places Clinton is shown as a secretive user of email, Trump as a demonstrative user of Twitter, and Obama – the digitally fluent president – as a figure of ambiguity, both technologically and in terms of the gendering of digital labor. Using the concept of algorithmic hospitality, this talk also explores how a user’s relationships to non-human servers, peripherals, and portable devices is perceived of as potentially threatening to the sexual order and by extension threatening to political sovereignty.

About the speaker:

Elizabeth Losh is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at William and Mary with a specialization in New Media Ecologies.  Before coming to William and Mary, she directed the Culture, Art, and Technology Program at the University of California, San Diego.  She is a core member and former co-facilitator of the feminist technology collective FemTechNet, which offers a Distributed Open Collaborative Course, and part of the organizing team of The Selfie Course.

She is the is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes (MIT Press, 2009) and The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University (MIT Press, 2014). She is the co-author of the comic book textbook Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013; second edition, 2017) with Jonathan Alexander.  She is the editor of the edited collection from University of Chicago Press MOOCs and Their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education.

In addition to recent work on selfies and hashtag activism, she has also written a number of frequently cited essays about communities that produce, consume, and circulate online video, videogames, digital photographs, text postings, and programming code. The diverse range of subject matter analyzed in her scholarship has included coming out videos on YouTube, videogame fan films created by immigrants, combat footage from soldiers in Iraq shot on mobile devices, video evidence created for social media sites by protesters on the Mavi Marmara, remix videos from the Arab Spring, the use of Twitter and Facebook by Indian activists working for women’s rights after the Delhi rape case, and the use of Instagram by anti-government activists in Ukraine.  Much of this body of work concerns the legitimation of political institutions through visual evidence, representations of war and violence in global news, and discourses about human rights.  This work has appeared in edited collections from MIT Press, Routledge, University of Chicago, Minnesota, Oxford, Continuum, and many other presses.


Click here to book your place.

Click here for venue map

February 22, 2017
by Emma Cockburn

Working with Images – 20/03/2017

Date: Monday 20 March

Time: 10am – 12.30pm

Place: uCreate Studio, room 1.12, Main Library

Bring: Your own laptop.

As libraries, galleries and museums increasingly digitize their collections, more and more high quality images are available for research and teaching. At the same time, new digital imaging techniques such as 3d scanning, multispectral imaging and photogrammetry are becoming increasingly important research methods. This workshop gives an overview of the key attributes of images (file types, resolution, size, etc.) and how these attributes can be adjusted to suit different purposes: participants will be guided through the process of using editing software to manipulate digital images. There will also be the opportunity learn about new imaging methods, and about how such research methods can be supported at the University of Edinburgh.

This workshop is an introduction to working with images, and no previous experience is assumed: it is recommended as a primer for researchers who may wish to subsequently pursue imaging methods in their work.

Prior to the class, participants should download and install the free trial version of Adobe Photoshop, which is available here:


Book online here.

February 16, 2017
by Emma Cockburn

An Introduction to Ircam AudioSculpt – 06/03/2017

An Introduction to Ircam AudioSculpt

11.00 am – 1.00 pm

Monday 6 March 2017

Soundlab, Room 1.08, Alison House

Eleni-Ira Panourgia

Organised in partnership with College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences digital scholarship programme.


In this two-hour workshop you will analyse your sounds, transform and re-synthesize them.

We will explore AudioSculpt’s functions of:

Filtering directly on the sonogram using a pencil or eraser or by specifying with the mouse the points forming a polygon.

Compression/expansion allows modification of the length of a sound without changing its pitch or timbre while maintaining the quality of the transitions.

Cross synthesis application of spectral data from one sound to another in order to create a hybrid sound or a transition from one sound to another.

Requirements: Bring your own sounds and headphones



Register your place here.