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News

Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities - Big Data Projects Call

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Date: 06/02/2014

​Masses of data is being generated every day, it is being collected, searched and shared. The majority of the data is digital and with more powerful computing facilities and larger storage capabilities, research into larger and larger quantities of data has become possible. In order to meaningfully engage with information on such a large scale, it is necessary to develop new tools and methods.

The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, has today (Thursday 6 February) announced funding of £4.6 million for 21 Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities projects as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council investment in Big Data. At a speech at the High Performance Computing and Big Data Conference Mr Willetts outlined what steps are being taken to strengthen the UK’s competitive advantage in Big Data.

The twenty-one new research projects will be addressing the challenges of working with big data and making the information more accessible and easier to interpret by a lay audience. Part of the Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities theme each of these research projects will produce a tangible asset that sustains beyond the life of the project.  These will include open source tools to analysis election poll data and an online teaching resource which will hold a collection of pronunciations of words from speakers of different varieties of English.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "Getting quality data out of the hands of a few and into the public domain is an important goal for this Government. This funding will help to overcome the challenge of making vast amounts of rich data more accessible and easier to interpret by the public. These 21 projects promise to come up with innovative long-lasting solutions.”

Professor Andrew Prescott the Digital Transformation theme Leadership Fellow commented; “The exciting projects announced by the Arts and Humanities Research Council illustrate how the arts and humanities can help exploit the opportunities offered by these vast data resources. They cover an amazing range of subject areas, from classical history and more efficient retrieval of information about music to the use of online gambling data for more accurate political analysis. By developing better tools for the visualisation and analysis of data, these projects will have significant impact beyond the arts and humanities and will assist the UK in grasping the economic and social opportunities offered by big data.”

The projects include:

  • Frameworks and tools for statistical big data in the humanities led by Dr Humphrey Southall at the University of Portsmouth
  • What are the odds? Capturing and exploring data created by online political gambling markets led by Dr Matthew Wall at Swansea University
  • Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies: Data and Relations in Greco-roman Names led by Dr Gabriel Bodard at King's College London
  • The Secret Life of a Weather Datum led by Dr Jo Bates at the University of Sheffield
  • Optical Music Recognition from Multiple Sources led by Dr Alan Marsden at the Lancaster University
  • DEEP FILM Access Project led by Dr Sarah Atkinson at the University of Brighton
  • Visualising European Crime Fiction: New Digital Tools and Approaches to the Study of Transnational Popular Culture led by Dr Dominique Jeannerod at the Queen’s University of Belfast
  • Understanding the annotation process: annotation for Big data by Dr Robert Villa at the University of Sheffield
  • A Big Data History of Music led by Dr Stephen Rose at the  Royal Holloway, University of  London
  • A Pilot Historical Thesaurus of Scots led by Dr Susan Rennie at the University of Glasgow
  • Big Data for Law led by Mr John Sheridan, at The National Archives
  • Lost Visions: retrieving the visual element of printed books from the nineteenth century led by Professor Julia Thomas at the Cardiff University
  • Traces though Time: Prosopography in practice across Big Data led by Dr Sonia Ranade at The National Archives
  • Digital Music Lab - Analysing Big Music Data led by Dr Tillman Weyde at the City University London
  • Semantic Annotation and Mark Up for Enhancing Lexical Searches led by Dr Marc Alexander at the University of Glasgow
  • Palimpsest: an Edinburgh Literary Cityscape led by Professor James Loxley at the University of Edinburgh
  • Mining the History of Medicine led by Professor Sophia Ananiadou at The University of Manchester
  • Proteus: Capturing the Big Data Problem of Ancient Literary Fragments led by Dr Dirk Obbink at University of Oxford
  • Seeing Data: are good big data visualisations possible? led by Dr Helen Kennedy at the University of Leeds
  • Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities (BUDDAH) led by Dr Jane Winters at the University of London
  • Dynamic dialects: integrating articulatory video to reveal the complexity of speech led by Professor Jane Stuart Smith at the University of Glasgow

The projects have been funded under the £4.6 million, ‘Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities: Big Data Research’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council with support from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Notes for Editors

For further information, please contact:

Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 416021 d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

  • Digital Transformations aims to exploit the potential of digital technologies to transform research in the arts and humanities, and to ensure that arts and humanities research is at the forefront of tackling crucial issues such as intellectual property, cultural memory and identity, and communication and creativity in a digital age.
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.  www.ahrc.ac.uk
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. www.esrc.ac.uk