Recap of Workshop 1: Cultural Heritage Sparks

The first DCHRN workshop took place last Friday, 29 January, and feedback so far indicates it was a great success. About 30 people attended from across the University and from six cultural heritage organisations, and in the course of the afternoon we heard 13 brief ‘lightning talks’ covering topics from MOOCs to the semantic web to mapping literary history to the sustainability of digital collections.

You might also like to check out Lorna Campbell’s summary of the afternoon on her blog.

Photos from the first DCHRN workshop.
Photos from the first DCHRN workshop.

Rebecca Sinker, Curator: Digital Learning at Tate, gave a stimulating talk that closed with a series of provocative topics and open questions for the network to consider. She identified work to be done on issues including the ethics and value of visitor generated content; cultural value in digitised and born-digital cultural content; critical frameworks for digitisation and access; open (cultural) data; redundancy in technology formats and platforms, and new or hybrid research forms and outputs.

Rebecca Sinker's closing thoughts at the first network event.
Rebecca Sinker’s closing thoughts at the first network event.

And there was time for informal discussion as well as an in-depth conversation about a series of research topics and questions identified by network members:


How can digital media increase participation, enhance engagement and encourage collaboration between academic and cultural institutions and their diverse audiences?

How does meaning reside in digital cultural artefacts? How are voice(s) and creative participation encouraged, represented and interpreted?


Why are so few cultural heritage bodies really making use of semantic web technologies? Is it that they don’t believe it’s the way forward, or are there more tractable barriers?

Given the increasing amounts of cultural heritage data available, how might we develop forms and modes of curation and navigation which enable and support meaningful interactions with that data?


One of the biggest challenges to networks like these is sustaining the initial contact and ideas through to achieving tangible results. How can we embed inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional relationships and practices in ways that will outlast any individual involvement in the network?

How might we address complex contemporary issues from dynamic and practical perspective, involving different fields of study?

How can the network infrastructure support digital research and cultural heritage?


How can we best preserve the rapidly expanding amount of cultural heritage data, in a world where we can’t all be librarians/information professionals?

As more cultural heritage digital collections become open, what new research opportunities emerge?

How can digital cultural heritage collections be released under open license and used more widely for teaching and learning?

You can revisit the afternoon in real-time by viewing the workshop’s Twitter feed:

The first workshop of the Digital Cultural Heritage Reserach Network took place on 29 January 2016, at the School of Education, University of Edinburgh.

The next workshop is taking place on Tuesday 22 March, at the National Museums of Scotland. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to join us and haven’t already registered!

One reply on “Recap of Workshop 1: Cultural Heritage Sparks”

[…] Anyone who follows this blog will know that I have a bit of a thing about opening access to digital cultural resources so I was pleased to be able to contribute a lightning talk on digital cultural heritage and open education. This was one of an eclectic series of lightning talks that covered a wide range of subjects and topics.  I live tweeted the event and Jen Ross has collated tweets from the day in a Storify here: Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network, Workshop 1 and has also written a recap of the workshop here Recap of Workshop 1: Cultural Heritage Sparks. […]

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