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Building cultural heritage knowledge

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British Museum

BP Lecture Theatre

Great Russell Street

London

WC1B 3DG

United Kingdom

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This conference seeks to highlight the challenges for sustainable knowledge building between cultural heritage institutions, universities and the other interested audiences.

How do we combine knowledge, skills and experience to create digital resources that have high research value, meaningful content, and are interesting to a wide range of people and groups? How can interdisciplinary work be practically supported and maintained? How can the outputs of digital research be academically robust and accessible for reuse in other projects? How can we avoid digital disruption and fragmentation? Finally, what role should cultural heritage institutions and organisations play in preserving and disseminating knowledge?

Papers will include the principles, methodology, techniques and viewpoints of people and projects attempting to answer these questions and provide practical solutions. The focus is not simply on integrating and connecting information but about connecting people and knowledge from different backgrounds, skills and experience. Workshops will talk about and demonstrate techniques used to transfer knowledge systems to the World Wide Web.

A British Museum/ResearchSpace symposium is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. A drinks reception will be held on Thursday until 19:00

Lunch and refreshments are provided.

Some Bursaries available (see below)

Keynote Speaker Professor Andrew Prescott

Remediating Our Culture: Threats and Challenges

Since the publication of foundational works of cultural theory by commentators such as Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall, we have become conscious of the complex ways in which culture embodies power structures. Just at the time we have become aware of the complexity of ideas of culture, the emergence of new digital and network technologies has profoundly changed the way in which we engage with the holdings of galleries, libraries and museums.

It will be argued that, far from democratising our culture, there is a risk that digital projects can return us to backward-looking and elitist views of culture, both as a result of the use of commercial partners and because of the way metadata is constructed. It will be suggested that museums and other memory institutions have a moral responsibility to engage with these emerging digital cultures in order to resist such retrograde cultural outlooks. One of the most important achievements of the British Museum’s ResearchSpace project is the way in which it facilitates the development of more nuanced and sophisticated views of culture in a digital environment.

Andrew Prescott is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Glasgow. He is AHRC Theme Leader Fellow for the Digital Transformations strategic theme. He was formerly a Curator of Manuscripts at the British Library, where he was the principal curatorial contact for the Electronic Beowulf project. He has also worked at digital humanities units and libraries in the University of Sheffield, King’s College London and University of Wales Lampeter.

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Speakers

Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO) - Speaker: Arno Bosse (Oxford University)

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation the Early Modern Letters Online project provides an online research resource around sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century letters, and has an ongoing mission to develop an expert system for historians and other scholars using these primary sources.

Arno Bosse is the digital project manager for the 'Cultures of Knowledge' research project on early modern correspondence at the University of Oxford, and its flagship catalogue, 'Early Modern Letters Online'. Previously, he worked as director of Humanities Computing at the University of Chicago and as a research associate in the R&D department of the Göttingen State and University Library. He received his B.A. in Art History/Literature from Reed College and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago. He is a member of the 'Data Exchange and Strategic Planning' Working Group in the EU COST Action ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters’.

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PHAROS (The International Consortium of Photo Archives) Speaker: Dr Louisa Wood Ruby (The Frick Art Reference Library )

A consortium of fourteen European and North American art historical photo archives committed to creating a digital research platform allowing for comprehensive consolidated access to photo archive images and their associated scholarly documentation. The project is currently undertaking a conversion of consortium data to the CIDOC CRM for use in the ResearchSpace system and was recently featured in the New York Times.

Louisa Wood Ruby received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University with a dissertation on the Drawings of Paul Bril, subsequently published by Brepols in 1999. Currently she is Head of Research at The Frick Art Reference Library where in addition to her charge to increase awareness of methodological and scholarly trends in digital humanities and art history, her activities include the oversight of the Montias database of 16th and 17th century inventories of Dutch art collections found in the Gemeentearchief, Amsterdam and consulting for staff and researchers on issues pertaining to Dutch and Flemish art. With the Frick’s Digital Art History Lab, she has recently begun a database of all the works that have historically been attributed to Johannes Vermeer. Her articles on Netherlandish art have appeared in Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, Journal of the Historians of Netherlandish Art as well as in Festschrifts, symposia proceedings and exhibition catalogs. She is currently working on an online monograph and catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jan Brueghel the Elder in conjunction with Terez Gerszi of the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, which will result in an exhibition in Antwerp in 2019. She is a member of the College Art Association, The Renaissance Society of America, The Sixteenth Century Society, CODART (Curators of Dutch and Flemish Art), and Vice-President of the Historians of Netherlandish Art.

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SPHAERA: System Evolution and the Shared Scientific Identity of Europe - Speaker: Florian Kräutli (Max Planck Institute - History Of Science)

Using the ResearchSpace Semantic Database Builder, this Max Planck (History of Science) project investigates the knowledge tradition that is interwoven with the history of one book: the Tractatus de sphaera of Johannes de Sacrobosco. The work is a 13th century treatise on cosmology that – until the 17th century – has been repeatedly published as university textbooks.

Florian holds a BDes. from the Design Academy Eindhoven and an MSc. in Cognitive Computing from Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, focusing on philosophy of perception and artificial intelligence. He is experienced as a designer, software developer and lecturer, and his work has been internationally exhibited and featured in both design- and technology-focused media. His PhD at the Royal College of Art, London, looked at the connection between digital humanities and design; he works on projects with archives and museums and writes on the topics of cultural data, data visualisation and visualisation of time and is the Research Technology Officer at Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

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ConservationSpace - Speaker: Mervin Richards (National Gallery of Washington)

ConservationSpace is a web-based digital document management system developed specifically for the needs of conservators that marries the versatility of a word processor with the capabilities of a database. Manage all material associated with a cultural object all in one location. It also offers task and workflow management tools. The system is highly configurable and designed to interface with collection management systems.

Merv Richards is Chief of Conservation at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Bio to be completed

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Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society - Speaker tbc

An AHRC funded project researching a new interpretation of the only non-Western figure among a handful of artists of global appeal and significance. As East Asia emerges as a key driver of global development, there are clear benefits to providing students and the public with an enhanced understanding of Hokusai's achievement and its importance for transcultural exchange. The project links to the British Museum's temporary exhibition,

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave

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GRAVITATE - Speaker tbc

An H2020 project the overall objectives of the GRAVITATE project are to create a set of software tools that will allow archaeologists and curators to reconstruct shattered or broken cultural objects, to identify and re-unify parts of a cultural object that has been separated across collections. Adding 3D image and data analysis to the ResearchSpace environment.

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ResearchSpace

The ResearchSpace project will be represented in various presentations that explain the underlying principles and methods used in its production and use - firmly based on knowledge representation. A workshop is also now available for registration at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-build-a-semantic-web-database-in-one-morning-tickets-33893615717

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Bursaries

A limited number of bursaries are available for cultural heritage and humanities researchers (including PhD candidates) for the symposium, covering travel, accommodation and living expenses. The bursaries include:

Flights and travel to a maximum of £300.00 for EU and £750.00 non-EU. Per diem expenses of £30.00 per day (3 days). Accommodation for maximum of 3 nights - £120 per night

An additional day of accommodation and per diem expenses will be available for applicants who register for the workshop on 29th July (tbc)

Applications should include a description of the relevancy of the symposium with a minimum of 200 words and be sent to researchspace@britishmuseum.org with organisational and contact details.

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British Museum

BP Lecture Theatre

Great Russell Street

London

WC1B 3DG

United Kingdom

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