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12 New UK-Ireland Digital Humanities Collaborations Announced

Date: 06/08/2020

A ground-breaking joint call between UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) is supporting 12 new collaborations between UK-based and Ireland-based researchers working within the inherently interdisciplinary field of Digital Humanities. 

At a time of upheaval and uncertainty, these networking grants provide an opportunity for international co-principal investigators and research teams to work together to enhance experiences and understandings of culture, heritage and the arts, while pushing the boundaries of emerging technologies. 

In addition to producing excellent research, these networks will reinforce UK-Irish cooperation and innovation ties, preserving the long-standing synergies between these two countries.

This collaborative funding programme aims to deliver a transformational impact on Digital Humanities research in the UK and Ireland.

The Irish teams are supported by the IRC, whilst the UK teams are supported by £280,000 from UKRI’s Fund for International Collaboration, which aims to enhance the UK’s excellence in research and innovation through forging new bilateral and multilateral research and innovation programmes with global partners. This £280,000 will support innovative Digital Humanities projects that range in aim from joint infrastructure and capacity-building to providing the public with online access to hidden monuments, heritage landscapes and digital reconstructions of historic buildings.

All partnerships will commence in August, and a full list of projects is available below. Lead researchers from ten British research organisations and seven Irish universities have been selected for funding in this highly competitive call.

Amongst the collaborations announced:

  • Ms Sophie Chessum (National Trust) and Professor Christine Casey (Trinity College Dublin)’s 3D CRAFT network will bring together art historians, heritage professionals, conservators, and computer scientists to digitally recraft lost interiors in Britain and Ireland, making damaged, many-layered, or repurposed historic buildings accessible to cultural heritage visitors and academic and online audiences. Exploring the interface between conservation, research, and 3D visualisation, they aim to develop a clear UK-Ireland research strategy for the dynamic and analytical presentation of significant lost interiors.
  • Dr Ruth Gibson (Coventry University) and Dr Jenny Roche (University of Limerick) are establishing a network of experts to experiment with ways of capturing and disseminating experiences of “liveness” in dance across digital platforms. They aim to democratise the viewing experience by creating multiple access points for more diverse populations outside of contemporary dance audiences, and to reduce touring by demonstrating sustainable alternatives.
  • Dr Shane O'Sullivan (Kingston University) and Dr Ciara Chambers (University College Cork) Make Film History network will develop a new, sustainable model for the creative, non-commercial reuse of archive material by young filmmakers. This collaboration seeks to resolve licensing difficulties, increase community engagement with hidden cultural heritage, and strengthen communities by enabling emerging filmmakers to make new works that reflect on the past and develop talent for the future.
  • Professor Gregory Toner (Queen’s University Belfast) and David Stifter (Maynooth University)’s network will collaborate with libraries in Britain and Ireland to explore the impact of digitisation on how manuscripts are accessed and research on medieval Ireland and Scotland is conducted. This network aims to develop a framework that will transform the reach and effectiveness of digitisation projects relating to the hidden heritage of the Gaelic world, through increased interoperability and long-term curation, and by equipping early career researchers with the skills and experience to become future leaders in the Digital Humanities.

Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair, AHRC, stated: “In the current times, the importance of digital research as a means of enhancing our access to, and understanding of, culture and heritage has never been greater. The UK and Ireland are world-leading in the field of Digital Humanities. These networking awards will bring together complementary strengths across multiple academic institutions and project partners in both countries to drive new standards in digital innovation. In so doing, they will create a platform for deeper research collaboration between the UK and Ireland, to be taken forward over the remainder of the joint funding programme and beyond.”

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council, added: “The impressive range of projects funded is a testimony to the vision, expert skills, creativity and cultural sensitivity of Digital Humanists working within Irish and British universities and heritage organisations. The Irish Research Council is delighted to partner with the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council to support North-South and East-West collaborations and the further development of this area of shared strength, dynamism, and opportunity.”

These networking grants are the first of two proposed AHRC-IRC joint funding calls in the Digital Humanities.  Please follow @ahrcpress and visit https://ahrc.ukri.org/ for further updates.

See also the full list of awards (PDF, 104KB).

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