Session 10 — AHRC Digital Transformations Theme Roundtable

Friday 14:00 - 15:30

High Tor 2

Chair: Andrew Prescott

Intellectual Property and Impact

  • Andrew Prescott,
  • Martin Eve,
  • Charlotte Waelde,
  • Simon Tanner


The Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom established four strategic themes in 2010, one of which was ‘Digital Transformations’. The Digital Transformations theme aims to explore the way in which engagement with digital technologies can change the subject, methods and outputs of research in the arts and humanities and create innovative modes of scholarly investigation and discourse. The theme also seeks to bring an arts and humanities perspective to bear on such issues as digital identity, intellectual property and privacy.

The Digital Transformations theme has funded nearly one hundred projects in areas ranging from big data to the internet of things across the full range of arts and humanities disciplines. Among these projects are three large-scale projects: ‘Digital Panopticon: the Global Impact of London Punishments, 1780-1925’ (PI, Professor B. Godfrey, University of Liverpool), which will bring together existing and new genealogical, biometric and criminal justice datasets held by different organisations in the UK and Australia; ‘Fragmented Heritage’ (PI, Dr R. Donahue, University of Bradford), which will seek to dramatically improve the scale and quality of the analysis by archaeologists of fragmentary materials across large sites; and ‘Transforming Musicology’ (PI, Professor T. Crawford, Goldsmiths’ College), which will explore how emerging technologies for working with music as sound and score can transform musicology, both as an academic discipline and as a practice outside the university.

We propose a series of round tables for the Digital Humanities Congress 2014 which will present and discuss overarching themes and issues which have emerged from the various projects in the Digital Transformations theme. Each roundtable will consist of four academics from various projects funded under the theme who will make short (ten minute) presentations presenting their perspective on the general theme of the roundtable, leading into a wider discussion. Each roundtable will be chaired by Professor Andrew Prescott (King’s College London).

Intellectual Property and Impact

One aspect of the Digital Transformations theme has been to explore the ways in which arts and humanities offer insights into issues emerging from current changes in culture and society linked to the increasing pervasiveness of digital technology. One such particularly prominent issue in the arts and humanities is that of intellectual property. The new types of artistic work and forms of scholarly output emerging through engagement with digital technology challenge and disrupt our current understanding of intellectual property. Outputs produced by projects funded within the theme provide valuable insights into how new technologies are reshaping and challenging intellectual property. The roundtable will present work undertaken on the intellectual property issues raised by projects under the theme. These issues also intersect strongly with research into the ways in which impact of digital creativity and scholarship can be assessed and measured, and the way in which we construe the value of digital projects will also be discussed in this roundtable.