UK-Ireland Collaboration in the Digital Humanities

Posted: 23 October, 2019

The Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK (AHRC) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) are collaborating on a new programme that aims to deliver a transformational impact on Digital Humanities research in the UK and Ireland. The programme will exploit complementary strengths in the Digital Humanities between world-leading centres of excellence in the UK and Ireland, leading to new partnerships and cross-disciplinary projects, building capacity and enhancing the integration of humanities and technology in Digital Humanities development.

In the UK, the programme is supported by £4million of funding secured by the AHRC through the UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Fund for International Collaboration. The Ireland-based component of projects will be supported by the IRC. The programme will support a range of collaborative activities over three years, including research networking activity and larger research grants. The programme has begun with an inaugural two-day workshop in Dublin on 22nd-23rd October 2019. The workshop brought together 60 leading Digital Humanities researchers from the UK and Ireland to build partnerships around the aims of the programme and identify priority thematic areas to be taken forward by the partners. The first joint networking call will be announced shortly after the workshop.

Given the growth of fields such as critical digital studies, machine learning, data science and artificial intelligence, Digital Humanities represents a transformative and rapidly developing field in both Ireland and the UK. By bringing together the outstanding and complementary qualities of the Digital Humanities in both countries, it is anticipated that this programme will achieve a broad range of academic, societal and economic impacts, for example by fostering new partnerships with the creative industries sector; enhancing public access to and engagement with cultural heritage; creating new standards in open access; and supporting new learning, educational and professional skills.

“This innovative programme brings about a unique combination of strategic benefits: maintaining and enhancing scientific cooperation with the UK, becoming forerunners in the growing field of Digital Humanities, which is expected to expand greatly in importance in decades to come, and jointly shaping new smart approaches for interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborative research”, said Peter Brown, Director, Irish Research Council.

“This programme presents a unique opportunity to bring together two research communities who are world-leading in Digital Humanities research. In so doing, it will harness the transformative potential of the Digital Humanities as a field that spans disciplines and presents innovative approaches to key academic, cultural and societal challenges”, said Adam Walker, AHRC Head of International, Partnerships and Engagement.

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