21 April – Working with the public – DCHRN Seminar Programme

DCHRN Seminar: Working with the Public

21 April 2017, 10:00 – 15:30

1.26 Patersons Land, Moray House School of Education, St John’s St, Edinburgh. Map of location.

Free to attend – lunch and refreshments included.

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Hosted by the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network, with thanks to  College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Digital Scholarship programme and the Knowledge Exchange Office for their support.

lego crowd, royalty free


This full-day event, taking place at the Moray House School of Education in Edinburgh, will combine creative and collaborative activities and discussions with stimulating presentations on a range of topics focusing on working with the public in research and cultural heritage engagement contexts. Issues discussed will include sustainable online communities; crowdsourcing; co-production; and Wikipedia and public engagement. All Network members are invited – and new members are welcome to join the network at any time – contact .

The day’s talks are:

Sustainability of online projects: a view from Historic Environment Scotland – Lesley Ferguson, HES
In recent years a number of externally funded projects have encouraged and supported engagement in the historic environment for individuals and communities. Although very successful we are now having to reassess the sustainability we thought had been built in at the design stage and learning lessons from different approaches in different projects. Drawing on projects such as Britain from Above, Scotland’s Places and Scotland’s Rural Past this paper will look at the issues experienced, how we are addressing these and learning for the future.

Lesley Ferguson is currently Head of Archives and Engagement in Historic Environment Scotland and has extensive experience in the heritage sector caring for archive collections, public engagement, working to ensure public access through online systems and search room, curating exhibitions, lecturing and publications.

Participants, Communities, Audiences and Publics: Co-production and designing for varied contributions – Helen Graham, University of Leeds
There are so many words used to refer to people that might be involved in heritage. In this presentation, I will untangle the different conceptual imaginations suggested by the terms Participants, Communities, Audiences and Publics. Having identified the political capacities (and limitations) offered by each term – and rather than choose a preferred term and seek to settle the debate – I will show how you can design co-production processes to actively engage people situated in these quite different ways. I will work through these ideas via case studies from recent action research work, including a group of people who wanted to play the electronic music collections at the Science Museum ( ) and the co-production of the online Inclusive Archive for Learning Disability History with self-advocates with learning disabilities (

Dr Helen Graham is an Associate Professor of In/Tangible Heritage and Director of Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, University of Leeds, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. Helen’s research and teaching interests directly flow from working in learning and access teams in museums and coordinating community heritage projects concerned with the co-production of knowledge, archives and exhibits. Helen’s current research explores questions of democracy and publicness through the technical, practical and ethical sites of co-production of knowledge and exhibits, of intellectual access to museums for people with learning difficulties and of copyright and informed consent. Helen has recently acted Principle Investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council Connected Communities Research project, ‘How should decisions about heritage be made?’ which has explored ‘how to increase participation from where you are’.

Cò bhios an sàs ma-thà? Scottish Gaelic and Public Engagement – Susan Ross, National Library of Scotland
In this talk, Susan Ross, the Gaelic Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Scotland, will discuss the Scottish Gaelic wikipedia: its current user group, how the development post with the National Library of Scotland seeks to expand participation, and which challenges are expected.

Dr Susan Ross is Gaelic Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Scotland and Research Assistant at the University of Glasgow on the LEACAG project on terminological and grammatical change in Scottish Gaelic. Originally from Renfrewshire, she has been learning Gaelic for 20 years.

Crowdsourcing for Research Purposes – Victoria Van Hyning, Oxford University
Zooniverse ( is the world-leading academic crowdsourcing organization based at the University of Oxford, the Adler Planetarium and the University of Minnesota. This talk will provide an overview of the types of metadata extraction and full text transcription projects and tools that are currently available on the platform. It will give an overview of the design and lessons learned from projects such as Operation War Diary, Science Gossip, Shakespeare’s World and Measuring the ANZACs, and suggest ways in which crowdsourced data can be used in the humanities. The talk will also provide an overview of the free Project Builder (, where anyone with an internet connection can create their own project and obtain their own data.

Dr Victoria Van Hyning is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford and a Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College. In 2014 and 2015 she worked as a Digital Humanities postdoctoral fellow at, a crowdsourcing research group based in the departments of Astrophysics and English at Oxford. She led the development of several projects including Science Gossip, AnnoTate and Shakespeare’s World. She is now the Humanities PI of Zooniverse, and uses data from Shakespeare’s World in her British Academy research. Her monograph, Convent Autobiography: Early Modern English Nuns in Exile, develops form her doctoral work, which was undertaken at the University Sheffield and British Library, and is forthcoming with OUP.



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5 replies on “21 April – Working with the public – DCHRN Seminar Programme”

hi Lauren – we don’t plan to record the seminar, but we will have some notes afterwards and may be able to share slides, too. Keep an eye on this site for materials! Thanks for asking about this.

[…] DCHRN’s first full-day event took place last week on 21 April. The theme was fairly broad – ‘working with the public’ – and it allowed us to bring together four very different but, as it happens, complementary talks, as well as time for some interactive sessions. About 30 people in total joined us for part of all of the day, and as ever the mix of cultural heritage colleagues along with academic, library and collections colleagues from the University made for a really vibrant mix of ideas, questions and perspectives. […]

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