Despite growing debate about the qualities of big data and the ways it might be changing knowledge creation and paradigms in the social sciences, opinions on these themes remain rather fragmented and heritage scholars’ contribution to the conversation has been very limited so far. This conference was generate focussed discussion on the ontologies, epistemologies and ethics of undertaking heritage research drawing on big data. Our aim was to discuss possible uses of big data to study contemporary interventions on the past. To do so, we reflected on empirical work that has been undertaken on this topic until now, and foster critical thinking and theory development from the ground up. Together, speakers and delegates unpacked the multiple forms of ‘technicity’ that lie behind digital heritage research, and engaged with the conceptual implications of applying data science in and for heritage studies. As part of this, we considered the heritage we are producing while performing our research – through collecting, deleting, editing, synthesising and rehashing.
Speakers at the conference were:
Mark Altaweel, Reader in Near Eastern Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology.
Chiara Bonacchi, Lecturer in Heritage, University of Stirling.
Rodney Harrison, Professor of Heritage Studies, UCL Institute of Archaeology.
Lorna Hughes, Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow.
Lise Jaillant, Lecturer, University of Loughborough.
Marta Krzyzanska, PhD Candidate, Cambridge University.
Stuart Lewis, Associate Director of Digital, National Library of Scotland.
Shaleph O’Neill, Senior Lecturer and Head of Communication Design, University of Dundee.
Daniel Pett, Head of Digital and IT, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University.
Andrew Prescott (TBC), Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow.
Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, Edinburgh Futures Institute, University of Edinburgh.
Terrie-Lynn Thompson, Lecturer in Digital Media and Professional Education, University of Stirling.
To find out more, see our News item. We will be uploading the video of the conference soon.
This event was organised by Chiara Bonacchi (University of Stirling), Rodney Harrison (UCL Institute of Archaeology) and Daniel Pett (Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge) as part of the AHRC-funded project Ancient Identities in Modern Britain and the AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellowship.