5 years ago, on the 23rd October 2017, after many months of planning and construction work, the Digital Humanities Lab officially opened. Since then we’ve supported teaching and research through a pandemic, collaborated with academics and cultural heritage institutions on research projects, created many exciting digital resources and websites, worked with 28 undergraduate interns, digitised 100s of cassettes to preserve recordings for future use, worked with Exeter City FC, developed websites and databases for research projects, taken 1000s of high quality photographs of rare books and manuscripts including the Exeter Book and the University of Exeter archive, supported podcast and film recordings, created RTI and 3D printed models for archaeology and a whole lot more.
To celebrate our 5th birthday we will be running open day events throughout the term – keep an eye on our upcoming events or twitter to join us!
In the meantime, lets look back to where the lab began!
In the summer of 2016, this corner of the Queens building featured an archaeology equipment store, a bike rack and some very exciting recycling bins. And then the diggers showed up…
Recently we welcomed a distinguished guest speaker to the DH Lab, Professor Jane Winters of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, to give a seminar on the current landscape of Digital Humanities (DH) in the UK. Prof. Winters discussed the results of a major new survey, commissioned by the School of Advanced Study, the British Academy, the British Library and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, into DH research, teaching and practice in universities, GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) and the creative industries. The aims of the report were to document the current landscape of DH research, teaching and practice; identify what kind of support this needs; and explore possible demand for a UK-based DH network or association and the nature of the role that such an organisation could play.
Interpreting the statistics of the report for a highly engaged audience, Winters drew out from the facts and figures a picture of a diverse DH landscape, in which respondents identified themselves as belonging to almost forty different research areas. More than three quarters also had extensive involvement in teaching, either in their subject area or in DH. Winters noted that not all digital research and digital scholarship is described by its practitioners as ‘Digital Humanities’, even when it is firmly rooted in the study of Humanities sources and their related areas of specialisation. As researchers within universities, we therefore need to ensure that when we collaborate with creative partners or GLAM institutions, we try to use a common language to describe what we do: this will help not only in the project itself, but also in how we communicate what we do to those outside our particular areas of expertise.