Digital Humanities Projects at Newcastle University (snapshot)

As a member of the Turing Institute Research Group for Data Science and Digital Humanities I was asked to compile a brief snapshot list of current/recent digital humanities projects at Newcastle University. Not having much time to do this, I sent out an email to various people across the university I knew were involved in digital projects and they forwarded it to others and people responded by putting the necessary information in a google doc or providing information by email. There are many projects (and specifically the research of many people) that is not reflected here. But this is a snapshot of the data that I got back and submitted to the Turing Institute google doc in case it is useful for future reference. The list will be used to inform discussion at a meeting the Turing Institute is having in Edinburgh in September 2018. (It is less about being a complete record and more about giving a sense of the variety/scope of projects.) There may well be errors in this data (and some entries really cover a significant number of separate projects). Not being on this list simply means that I overlooked the submission or no one submitted that project, no quality selection or removal of submitted projects has been undertaken. The data should be treated ‘as-is’. They are ordered in the order received.

Title ATNU: Animating Text Newcastle University
Summary Animating Text Newcastle University (ATNU) is a digital collaboration between scholarly editors based in humanities disciplines and the Digital Institute that sets out to create new ways in which readers/users can interact with texts, and to explore and test opportunities for immersive reading/writing. What’s unique about ATNU is that our ideas for the immersive texts of the future are based on the texts and books of the past that we are editing (1500-1900), which were already imagined as variable, dynamic, vital, interactive, akin to a 3D experience. ATNU is conducting a variety of pump-priming pilot projects.
Digital Methods ATNU is trying to build on the opportunities afforded by digital technologies in:

  • using data analytics techniques for the automatic analysis of text, including tracing changes through revisions;
  • exploring methods of representing the underlying text that can make it more amenable to computational analysis and multiple forms of presentation;
  • investigating how to support and enhance annotation, including the use of ontologies and controlled vocabularies, and the support for enabling and analysing multiple editorial views over the same text.

Its pilot projects include those presenting combinations of MEI encoded text with images, animation of early modern woodcuts, user-controllable text to speech synthesis, visualization of early modern translation networks across europe, strategies for stand-off markup for many multi-witness editions, and investigations of publication strategies for digital editing.

Paper None yet, but lots of conference presentations.
Contributor James Cummings (on behalf of ATNU project people:


Title Proto-democracy pilot
Summary A prototype visualisation of 18th C Newcastle poll book data showing day by day geo-located voting data points
Digital Methods Visualising historical poll books with linked data vis facets
Paper None yet
Contributor Tom Schofield ( project led by Matthew Grenby with technical work from Tom and mostly Dan Foster Smith)


Title Children’s Magical Realism For New Spatial Interactions: AR and Archives
Summary Modern mobile phones allow new kinds of interaction which mix the real world and virtual worlds together. So called ‘augmented reality’ (AR) usually overlays digital images or 3D models on to video from phone cameras to present audiences with new kinds of mixed reality that they can explore almost as if it were real space. In recent months, some new developments from Google and Apple have pushed the technical boundaries of what mobile phones can do allowing much more complicated interactions with real space allowing us to cause digital objects to appear really rooted in the real world.

Although the technical possibilities of this work are exciting there is a real danger that the experiences designers create may be led by the technology and not inspired by other kinds of creativity. If we would like to explore spaces and places in new ways we should look to other forms such as film, theatre, dance and in our case books to expand our vocabulary of space.

Our project, with our partners Seven Stories, uses the work of a prominent author of children and young adults’ books, David Almond to suggest new imaginative spatial interactions for AR. Almond has been describe as a magical realist author and much of his work is about confusing or ambiguous cross overs between worlds, real and imaginary, past and present, everyday or mythical. During our project we will work with specialists from our project partner, Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books as target audiences and AR specialists to co-design new kinds of spatial interaction for AR and VR applications.

Digital Methods Creative design prototyping AR for mobile
Paper None yet
Contributor Tom Schofield, (CI Kim Reynolds, RA Diego Trujillo Pisanty)


Title Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages (prototype work in progress)
Summary Visualising manuscript translation and transmission in the medieval insular world
Digital Methods Mapping and timelining manuscript metadata
Paper None
Contributor Tom Schofield, technical work Tom but mainly Dan Foster Smith. Project led by PI Victorial Flood (Birmingham university)


Title CoHERE – Critical Heritage Performing and Representing Identities in Europe (funded through Horizon 2020 under grant agreement No 693289)   
Summary Work Package 4 (WP4) of the CoHERE project explores the role of dialogic digital technologies and design methods to support deeper understandings of European heritage alongside reflexive identities and inclusive senses of belonging.
Digital Methods Variety of methods embedded in a research-through-design methodology and critical studies approach. This includes experimentation with audiovisual interfaces in public spaces, AI and visualisation of user data.  
Website CoHERE:  

WP4 Living Lab:

WP4 Future/Erasure:  

Paper Report: Online Visual Dialogues about Place: Using the Geostream Tools to Identify Heritage Practices on Photo-sharing Social Media (available from:

Chapter: Arrigoni G., Galani A. (2018. In Press) ‘From place-memories to active citizenship: the potential of geotagged user-generated visual content for memory scholarship. In: Drozdzewski, D.; Birdsall, C. (eds.) Doing Memory Research: New Methods and Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan.

Contributor Areti Galani (Co-I), Gabi Arrigoni (RA), Annelie Berner and Monika Halina Seyfried (Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design (CIID))


Title Creative Fuse North East
Summary Creative Fuse North East is a multi-disciplinary, multi stakeholder action research project focused on the strength, diversity and nuanced nature of the North East’s creative, digital and IT sector (CDIT).

The project builds upon two previous AHRC funded research projects – Brighton Fuse and London Fusion and will further explore the social, economic and innovation value of the CDIT sector in the region.

Digital Methods In the early phases of the research, we scrutinised business databases to get a sense of the scale and diversity of the sector. From our enquiries, we were able to confirm, for example, that the North East CDIT sector is dominated by micro-businesses – firms that have ten employees or less.

We then ran a detailed survey, inviting businesses and freelancers to respond. The survey results are providing a more nuanced understanding of markets, business models, networks, skills, key opportunities and barriers to growth in the region.

To complement the survey, we interviewed a range of people across the sector. These qualitative interviews will provide further insight into CDIT challenges and opportunities, and the salience of these within the business community.

We also have a dedicated Creative Fuse ethnography team. The ethnographers will use a range of qualitative methods, including interviews and observations, throughout the project. Through this, they hope to better understand processes of interdisciplinarity within the project.

Paper N/A
Contributor Richard Clay (PI: Eric Cross)


Title Digital Institute Newcastle University: DH Projects
Summary Our work is largely multi-disciplinary, ranging widely over areas including healthcare, smart cities, assistive technology for an ageing population and transport. We have been responsible for some of the UK’s largest research projects, including the RCUK £12m Digital Economy Hub in Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE)  whose work is currently being further developed through the new £40m National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation.

A number of Digital Humanities projects:

  • SiDE: £15M Social Inclusion through Digital
  • Economy Romtels: Roma and Traveller communities in education
  • GCRF Urban Futures: Global Challenges Research Fund
  • Tweet My Street: Twitter analysis
  • Other facilities
    • Cloud Innovation Centre
    • National Innovation Centre for Data (NIC.D)
Digital Methods In recent years, the ability to combine expertise in scalable computing, statistics and visualisation has proved valuable in tackling many research problems. One current focus is the Internet of Things and­ much of this work is focused on Newcastle’s new £70m Science Central Smart Campus development, and on healthcare analytics from wearable devices. The DI has expertise across a wide range of digital methods especially in the areas of data science, linked data, visualization, and GIS.
Paper (Many across individual projects so not submitted)
Contributor James Cummings (On behalf of Nick Holliman and Paul Watson)


Title Rock Art CARE
Summary The CARE Portal supports the management of open-air rock art, also known as cups and rings, in the UK, Ireland and beyond. It provides people with responsibility for looking after rock art with reports and guidance. These are based on a Condition Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) approach.
Digital Methods Mobile application to collect data on heritage monuments. Incoming reports automatically assessed and sent to local government contact responsible for preservation in each UK county or national park.
Paper Rock art CARE: A cross-platform mobile application for crowdsourcing heritage conservation data for the safeguarding of open-air rock art (2018)
Contributor Mark Turner


Title Our Wallington: Victorian Scrapbook
Summary he first one, done as part of the Co-curate project back in 2014-15, involved children from Cambo First School visiting the archives, completing various Victorian entertainments during a Victorian day in school, orienteering around the grounds at Wallington to re-create the original Trevelyan photos and much more.
Digital Methods Their work was firstly compiled into a physical album which was then also presented online, with audio commentary added, using the same software as is used to digitally present the original Trevelyan family albums online (Turning the Pages).
Paper N/A
Contributor Gillian Johnston


Title Amazing Archives
Summary Created when we took part in Culture 24s’ Let’s Great Real – Young Audiences programme, involved us working with children from a local middle school to repackage some of our existing digital content in a way that would appeal to younger audiences.  
Digital Methods Children selected items from our Collections and a children’s illustrator created the web landing page using the children’s ideas. The children also had a say in how the information was presented – e.g. the ‘Did you know?’ feature.
Paper N/A
Contributor Gillian Johnston







After working at the University of Oxford for the last 14 years, I’ve now moved here to take up a post as “Senior Lecturer in English Literature (c. 1350-1510) and Digital Humanities”. As such, I’ve set up this new site to host posts and pages.  I’ll intend to post things very regularly but will likely actually do so very irregularly!  However, I might as well get it set up in advance.  An additional blog with my Oxford (and other) posts was moved to before I left.  It is mostly concentrating on XML and XSLT matters

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Interesting. NCL seems to have two wordpress multi-site places I can have for a web presence in addition to the staff profile in my school.  (And various project sites of course…) There is this place and I’d already set up a blog at  I wonder what the difference in hosting (one seems to have 7 themes installed, the other 9?) or perception is? I’ll probably end up using since well that has a more official looking URL for things which are _not_ just blog posts.  Time will tell.