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Arts and Humanities e-Science Theme | Arts and Humanities E-Science Support Centre

Arts and Humanities e-Science Theme

AHeSSC is coordinating a 'Theme' entitled 'e-Science in the Arts and Humanities' at the e-Science Institute in Edinburgh. The Theme's website contains more information, including the original proposal and mid-term report.

The Theme's activities have taken a number of forms, and all have contributed to AHeSSC's community building and outreach activities in different ways.

Arts and Humanities e-Infrastructure

The nature and needs surrounding e-infrastructure research frames much of the current Arts and Humanities e-Science agenda. The Theme a supported strategic meeting in Manchester and developer training sessions in Edinburgh. As a European level, the Theme will be working closely with the Digital Research Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities project.

The Theme is both facilitating and contributing to a nmumber of developer workshops in the area of e-infrastructure. See the for more details.


The Theme provided an induction to Arts and Humanities e-Science as part of the ‘All Hands’ meeting for the A&H e-Science Initiative projects in May 2008. We will also be working closely with a separate series of methodological workshops, which will provide a high-level introduction to areas such as Web 2.0, motion capture, 3D modelling and research portals. It will also be developing a lightweight training module to address some of the user needs identified in the workshops and workgroups.

Workshops and workgroups

Our workshops and workgroups have generally been in the round-table ‘expert seminar’ format. These have ranged from the relatively practical and application-oriented, to the very speculative. These have been a crucial part of our community building activities, and have provided fora for arts and humanities researchers and computer scientists to interact in a way that is rarely possible. So far these have included:

Enhancing and Exploring Epigraphic and Archaeological Data through

This workshop was organized by Irene Polinskaya, Gabriel Bodard and Stuart Dunn in February 2009, and addressed the discipline-specific problem of using XML-based methodologies to crosswalk between different databases and data frameworks. For the provisional report of this event, click here.

Living texts: interdisciplinary approaches and methodological commonalities in biology and textual analysis

Held in collaboration with the Acume 2 European network project this workshop, held in October 2008, explored the methodological commonalities between textual studies and biological research. "Bluse skies" events of this kind enable critical thinking about research problems which arts and humanities e-science provokes. More information about the meeting's outcomes will be posted shortly.

Space and time: methods in geospatial computing for mapping the past

This workshop was organized by Stuart Dunn and Leif Isaksen in July 2007. It explored the broad field of geospatial methodologies, and condluded that interdisciplinary engagement, especially with relevant disciplines in the social sciences and performative arts, was essential for the arts and humanities to gain maximum benefit from geospatial technolgies. Click here for the workshop's outcomes.

In the near future, workshops and workgroups will include:

  • e-Science for Musicology
  • Formation of a SIG on development research infrastructures for A+H (working group meeting)
  • Object, artefact, script: integrating digital approaches to inscribed surfaces
  • A workshop on ontologies in humanities research
  • A workshop at AHM/IEEE in December 2009.
  • Representation at conferences

    We have promoted the Theme and its content at numerous national and international meetings, including:

    Digital Humanities 2008 (June 2008)

    e-Research in the Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage, e-Research
    (October 2008)

    Humanities, Arts and Social Science Community Group at the Open Grid Forum (June 2008)

    Lectures, summer 2007

    The lecture series in 2007 gave AHeSSC the opportunity to showcase the first round of Arts and Humanities e-Science Initiative funding, and to some of the key areas that would frame the rest of the Theme’s activities. These were:

    A potential for all: e-Science for the Arts and Humanities
    Sheila Anderson, Arts and Humanities Data Service and AHeSSC
    David Robey, AHRC ICT in Arts and Humanities Research Programme

    Methods and Technologies for Enabling Virtual Research Communities
    David Shepherd, University of Sheffield
    Andrew Prescott, University of Wales at Lampeter
    Robert Crouchley, Lancaster University

    Ontologies and Semantic Interoperability for Humanities Data
    Mark Greengrass, University of Sheffield
    Oscar Corcho, University of Manchester

    Collaborative Text Editing
    Gabriel Bodard, King's College London
    Juan Garces, British Library
    Jean Carletta, University of Edinburgh

    Grid Enabling Humanities Datasets
    Mark Hedges, Arts and Humanities Data Service
    Melissa Terras, University College London
    Shirley Crompton, CCLRC
    Neil Chue Hong, University of Edinburgh

    E-Science and Performance
    Gregory Sporton, University of Central England
    Angela Piccini, University of Bristol
    Russell Beale, University of Birmingham
    Daisy Abbott, University of Glasgow

    Aspects of Space and Time in Humanities e-Science
    Stuart Jeffrey, AHDS Archaeology
    Femke Reitsma, University of Edinburgh
    James Reid, EDINA