Book Launch: ‘Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage’, ed. Mia Ridge

Cover image for Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage, edited by Mia Ridge

Date: Thursday 20th November, 6.30pm.

Venue:  Arts & Humanities Common Room, Foster Court, UCL

The UCL Centre for Digital Humanities (UCLDH) is pleased to announce the book launch party for Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage (2014), edited by Mia Ridge and published by Ashgate

Crowdsourcing, or asking the general public to help contribute to shared goals, is increasingly popular in memory institutions as a tool for digitising or computing vast amounts of data. This book, edited by Open University’s doctoral researcher Mia Ridge, brings together for the first time the collected wisdom of international leaders in the theory and practice of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage. It features eight accessible case studies of groundbreaking projects from leading cultural heritage and academic institutions, and four thought-provoking essays that reflect on the wider implications of this engagement for participants and on the institutions themselves.

Please register your attendance via Eventbrite:

Early Career Research and Interdisciplinarity, 23 September 2014

Pushing the Boundaries event logo

Date: Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Venue: The Open University in London, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London, NW1 8NP  Venue directions and map

Time: 10.00am until 5.00pm. Lunch will be provided.

The Open University is proud to host this British Academy-supported one-day event particularly aimed at Early Career Researchers (ECRs)*.

It is widely claimed that the future of the Humanities lies in interdisciplinarity. For example, the CHASE Consortium of Humanities and Arts South East England website announces that ‘It is fundamental to the CHASE ethos that serious disciplinary research is interdisciplinary’. However, it is not clear what this means or what the implications are. The aim of the event is to explore the nature of interdisciplinary work, discuss its place in the Humanities, and examine its problems and prospects.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Simon Goldhill, Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge, and Director of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and the Humanities (CRASSH). There will also be panels to give advice on publishing interdisciplinary collections, applying for grants, digital humanities and other matters.

If you would like to attend, please email the following address to register: Please direct any questions on the event to Derek Matravers

*Our working definition of ECR for this event is someone within up to 8 years of the PhD.

via British Academy Event for Early Career Researchers – Philosophy – Faculty of Arts – The Open University.

CFP: Hidden Histories of Things: Genealogies of the Non-Human

Commodity Histories project logo

Call for Papers: Hidden histories of things: genealogies of the non-human

Venue: Institute of Making, University College London

Date: 26 January 2015

UCL’s Institute of Making is a creative space for those interested in materials and the made world, providing a location for investigation, research and play with an enormous variety of materials.  The Open University’s Commodity Histories project  focuses on the histories of a wide range of commodities that have become an indispensable aspect of people’s daily lives throughout the world, providing a forum for new research in the field.

They have come together to propose an interdisciplinary workshop on the hidden histories of the non-human, understood in its widest sense to include materials, objects, animals, plants and natural phenomena.

Overwhelmingly, research on the non-human, whether stressing collaborative relationships between things and humans or conversely the intractability and resistance of certain properties of the non-human to human will and control, tends to focus on the contemporary world. This one-day workshop takes a step back and aims to explore how the histories of materials and non-human phenomena might inform our understanding of their present workings and future potentialities. It views history as a creative process, capable of suggesting new possibilities by revealing hidden stories and episodes from the past. We invite papers that range across the entire spectrum of the non-human and that problematise the present by asking new questions of the connected past. Papers may, for instance, explore:

  • biographies of materials, plants, or commodities, outlining their various connectivities and agencies
  • the complex journeys of particular artefacts from past to present
  • how natural phenomena such as weather and climate have been understood in different  historical periods
  • animal-human relationships in historical context
  • the environmental and cultural consequences of the production of particular materials or minerals over time

Papers that deal with materials and natural phenomena in ‘unfamiliar’ spatial settings, e.g. locations in Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, and Latin America, are particularly welcome as are abstracts from early career researchers and PhD students.

Papers will be circulated in advance of the workshop. Registration requests and abstracts of 300 words should be sent to by Monday 6th October 2014.

Conference organisers: Sandip Hazareesingh (OU), Sarah Wilkes (UCL), Mat Paskins (OU).

via Hidden Histories of Things: Genealogies of the Non-Human | commoditieshistories.

Being digital from OU Library named site of the month on PRIMO

Being Digital banner image Open University Library Services

Being digital, The Open University Library Services’ collection of bite-size interactive online skills materials, was featured as site of the month for June 2104 on the Peer Reviewed Instructional Materials Online PRIMO website.

PRIMO, part of the American Association of College and Research Libraries, showcases high-quality teaching resources on finding and evaluating information in networked environments. Being digital was accepted into the Peer Reviewed Instructional Materials Online PRIMO database in 2013. The recognition by PRIMO comes hot on the heels of the Credo Award for Information Literacy 2013.

Being digital is a collection of 40 freely available, bite-size interactive activities on finding, using and creating information online. The aim is to help students become confident and critical users of digital tools and resources for study, work and everyday life. Activities cover topics such as digital identity, communicating and networking, trust online, evaluating and using online tools, searching effectively and referencing your sources. All activities take 10 minutes or less to complete, and can be done on a mobile device or desktop PC.

Being digital was originally devised for undergraduate students at The Open University, but is freely available to all interested users. Do you or your students need to refresh your digital skills?

Digital Humanities seminar, 17 June: Text Mining for Historical and Literary Research

Information and cursor logo, by Heather Scott

Image by Heather Scott. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Digital Humanities at The Open University network is pleased to present the next event in the Digital Humanities in Practice series:

Text mining for historical and literary research: the Trading Consequences and Palimpsest projects

Date: 17 June 2014

Time: 2.30pm-4.30pm (note later start time)

Venue: Arts Music Studio, The Open University Walton Hall, Milton Keynes (directions)

Speaker: Dr Beatrice Alex (Informatics, University of Edinburgh)

By collaborating together, computer scientists, historians and literary scholars are developing text mining and visualisation techniques to interrogate, explore and understand digitised historical and literary texts on an entirely new scale.

In this seminar, Dr Beatrice Alex will discuss the challenges she has encountered while building a text mining tool adapted for two interdisciplinary projects in the Humanities: Trading Consequences (, which focuses on commodity trading in the nineteenth century, and Palimpsest (, which is studying fictional and remembered space in literary Edinburgh.

Tea and coffee will be served. Please register for the event by emailing Heather Scott ( by 13 June.