Visit to the Institute of Making

By Claire L H Warwick, on 1 April 2014

We are very lucky to have an Institute of Making at UCL. I often walk past its impressive glass front, peer at the collection of things on shelves that can be seen inside, and wonder what on earth they are and what goes on in there. So I was delighted when a group of us from UCLDH were invited to visit and talk about things we have in common with the IoM, and what we might do together. We met the director, Mark Miodownik and Zoe Laughlin, the creative director, who told us about what the institute does. Oddly enough, it’s all about making things, but the kind of things people can make seem to be almost limitless. It’s not just about techie things such as 3D printing: members can indulge in anything that interests them, from farriery to knitting. It turns out that the enticing-looking things on shelves form the materials library: a collection of ‘some of the most extraordinary materials on earth’ as the IoM webpage puts it.

We talked about what kind of things we UCLDH people like to make. Simon was interested in the large, impressive-looking machines, but he was once an engineer. Julianne discussed digital narratives and how people understand spaces and materials both in physical and digital worlds. Claire Ross thought about how the use of the materials library might relate to her PhD work on museum spaces and digital interpretation. Steve talked about some of the cool things that CASA do in terms of making as well as digital, and we mused on future potential for various kinds of collaboration.

In general it was a fascinating visit. We didn’t actually make anything while we were there apart from an important intellectual connection, but I certainly came away with a much clearer sense of what goes on inside that intriguing space.

New Project – MiCLUES

By Nicolas E Gold, on 10 March 2014

We recently started a project called MiCLUES to develop dynamic smartphone-based visitor guidance algorithms and software for the Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments.  The aim is to enable visitors to make better use of the combined physical and digital collections and to chart both curated and personalised paths through the museum.

The project is a collaboration between the RCM and UCL and is funded by Share Academy.  Share Academy is an Arts Council England funded programme that aims to develop and foster relationships between London specialist museums and academics at UCL and the University of the Arts London.  It has funded 15 projects to help establish best practice and produce guidance for the museum and Higher Education sectors. For more information visit the London Museums Group website:

AHRC Big Data Project – Digital Music Lab

By Nicolas E Gold, on 10 March 2014

We recently started a new project in the area of big music data.  Digital Music Lab – Analysing Big Music Data is an AHRC project funded under the Big Data call of the Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities Theme. Our goal is to develop research methods and software infrastructure for exploring and analysing large-scale music collections, and to provide researchers and users with datasets and computational tools to analyse music audio, scores and metadata.

The project is being carried out collaboratively between City University London, Queen Mary University of London, University College London, and the British Library.

Sounds Like DNA – a new web installation for generative music at UCL

By Nicolas E Gold, on 10 March 2014

As part of our ongoing research and teaching in computer music here at UCL, we’ve been working with a London theatre company, Penny Dreadful Productions.  They have a new show currently touring called How to Be Immortal which presents three true-life stories about love, death and DNA and explores these through music and drama.  It has been developed with input from UCL scientists.  To give an interactive element to accompany the show, we have collaboratively developed an exciting web installation entitled Sounds Like DNA, where you can generate your own music that interprets DNA codes connected with various characteristics set by sliders.  You can reach the installation here:


‘An urban contradiction – journey under the sun’, photography exhibition by a DH student

By Sarah Davenport, on 10 March 2014

Eirene Evripidou, one of our Digital Humanities students, has a photography exhibition and book launch coming up at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens.   ‘An Urban Contradiction – Journey under the Sun’ is Eirene’s first photographic exhibition and includes photographs taken in both London and Athens, focusing on the sometimes hidden parts of the urban landscape.

Further details:

An urban contradiction – Journey under the sun

Photography Exhibition by Eirene Evripidou

Official Opening: Tuesday 11 March 2014, at 20:00

Where: Michael Cacoyannis Foundation (Piraeus 206, Tavros) Exhibition Area – 2nd floor

FREE ENTRANCE tel. 0030 210 3418579

Join Historypin and UCLDH to geo-tag artworks from the Imperial War Museums’ First World War art collection.

By Simon Mahony, on 20 February 2014

Historypin is setting up shop in one of the UCL cluster rooms and asking anyone who is interested in crowdsourcing to help with geo-tag 100s of paintings around the globe.

17:30 Wednesday 26th February B29, Foster Court

We have been given access to the Imperial War Museums’ astounding First World War art collection. We need your help to geo-tag these artworks to the locations they depict. No prior knowledge of the First World War needed, just experience with online research and a desire to solve historical mysteries!

A Google, Twitter or Facebook account is all you will need.

This is unique opportunity to participate in an innovative crowd-sourcing and geo-referencing project.

More project details are on the Putting Art on the Map flyer.   

Registration is needed via Eventbrite.

MLA Convention 2014, Chicago

By Sarah Davenport, on 3 February 2014

by Kelli Massa

The MLA (Modern Language Association) Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, USA from 8 January to 12 January 2014, just days after the first wave of the polar vortex struck North America freezing the shores of Lake Michigan.

frozen lake_foggy chicago








I attended the convention on behalf of UCLDH to present the Digital Humanities MA/MSc programme as part of the Praxis Network. This network represents six different university programmes that specialise in the digital humanities. Universities involved in the Praxis Network span three continents and four countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.

On the Praxis Network Panel, a representative from each university spoke for five minutes about their respective programme and participated in a Q&A session at the end. Prior to the convention, the organiser, Katina Rogers, created a site for the panel where participants added their draft remarks so those attending could have a better understanding of the network and the various university programmes. These can still be found on the panel website. The presentations about various programmes revealed shared struggles with incorporating technology with humanities education and offered different approaches for success.

mla sign chicago








This is a blog entry that includes the twitter feed from the session. However, I must add that it appears this is incomplete as I posted a few tweets about the panel that are not included.

Kelli Massa is a 2013 MSc graduate of the Digital Humanities Programme at UCL. She can be followed on Twitter @kellimmassa.

Centre for Languages, Linguistics & Area Studies e-Learning Symposium

By Chris J Dillon, on 30 January 2014

I attended the LLAS e-Learning Symposium last week in a rather wet Southampton and gave a talk about Bridge to Norway and Bridge to China.

It was an Aladdin’s cave of resources for linguists e.g. #mfltwitterati !

The Stephen Robertson Prize

By Sarah Davenport, on 21 January 2014

UCLDH are pleased to announce the Stephen Robertson prize for the best dissertation in the UCL MA/MSc in Digital Humanities, sponsored by Microsoft.

Stephen Robertson obtained his PhD (on the experimental evaluation of information retrieval systems) from UCL, from what was the School of Library, Archive, and Information Studies (now Department of Information Studies), in 1975. Starting as a part-time student, Robertson was given a Royal Society Scientific Information Research Fellowship in 1973, which allowed him to pursue his PhD and related research interests for five years. Following this, he moved to the Department of Information Science at City University, where he remained for 20 years, with eight as Head of Department, and founding and running a research centre, one of whose research tools was the Okapi system (first an online library catalogue and then a free-text search system, prefiguring the current web search engines). Robertson was recipient of the 1998 Tony Kent Strix Award (from the Institute of Information Scientists, now part of CILIP). In 1998 Robertson moved to Microsoft Research in Cambridge, where he led a small group of researchers in information retrieval, making significant contributions to Microsoft products and services, including the current Microsoft web search system, Bing. The Gerard Salton Award (ACM SIGIR) followed in 2000, and in 2003 he became a Fellow of Girton College, University of Cambridge. Recently retired, Robertson is now Professor Emeritus at City University, and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science at UCL.

The first recipient of the £500 prize will be named from the finishing cohort of UCL Digital Humanities MA/MSc students in November 2014, and the prize will continue for 5 years in the first instance. We thank Microsoft, and Stephen Robertson, for their generosity.

Affect, Audience Experience and the Digital Humanities

By Vasileios Routsis, on 12 December 2013

Affective Experiences

Authors: Christina Kamposiori & Vasileios Routsis

Monday 9th December 2013 saw our conference ‘Affective Experiences: media art, design & research’ which took place at the Parasol Unit: foundation for contemporary art. This conference was a great opportunity to close the conversations we started on February on the context of the AHRC funded project ‘New Media, Audiences and Affective Experiences’.

Professor Ernest Edmonds

The project aimed to establish a platform for creative dialogue and collaboration for doctoral students from City University London, Kings College London, Middlesex University, New London Graduate School (NLGS) and University College London in the academic fields of Creative Industries and Practice, Art and Design and Digital Humanities. In this context, we were honoured to represent UCLDH as a distinguished partner of this collaborative effort. During the lifetime of the project, we organised three seminars that took place at the City University London, discussing research methods in the direction of understanding audience engagement and cultural experience through digital technologies.

Lars HoeghThrough our one day conference we aimed to bring together artists, PhD students and established academics and researchers from a variety of disciplines, including art and design, cultural and creative industries, media studies, museum studies and the digital humanities. Participants presented their research and discussed new developments on understanding and measuring affect and audience experience in the digital age.

Professor Melissa Terras presenting Textal

In particular, our keynote and panel speakers addressed issues from a wide and diverse spectrum of perspectives, ranging from the theoretical aspects of affect and perception in relation to audience experience to the more practice-based ones. For example, we had the opportunity to hear from artists and museum professionals on the innovative ways they used to engage with audiences, such as interactive installations, experiments and digital applications. In addition, we looked on methodologies and applications for furthering audience/user related-research; that is also when Professor Melissa Terras presented Textal.

Professor Lisa Blackman

Concluding, this conference was a stimulating experience and we hope that the end of this project will be a start for new collaborations and discussions on the issues of affect, audience/user experience and digital technologies in the Arts & Humanities and Culture.


Special thanks to Irida Ntalla, PhD Candidate at City University London (project’s principal co-ordinator), Marianne Markowski, PhD Candidate at Middlesex University (programme committee member), Anastasia-Yvoni Spiliopoulou, UCL Digital Humanities MA Graduate (conference volunteer) and Kathianne Hingwan (conference volunteer) for the great collaboration!