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Welcome to our MA Programmes in Digital Culture and Cultural Data


We are looking forward to welcoming you to the University of Sheffield’s Digital Humanities Institute and Faculty of Arts in September 2021. On this page you will find information about our MA courses, careers, and life at the University.

Meet your tutors

  • Professor Nicola Dibben, Professor of Music, Department of Music. Read more
  • Nikki talks about the module Introduction to Digital Culture. Watch the video
  • Jamie McLaughlin, Research Software Engineer, DHI. Read more
  • Jamie talks about the module Designing Cultural Data Products. Watch the video

Your career

Digital culture is everywhere, and it is driven by cultural data. Our MA programmes are designed to train the next generation of leaders and innovators for careers in the world’s growing digital media, arts, cultural heritage and information technology sectors.

Our programmes will include presentations from experienced leaders such as Mervyn Levin, who currently provides advisory services on innovation to governments, industry and the research community across the UK, Europe and Asia.  Advances in digitisation and data science across multiple sectors, including the creative industries, permeate his career. He has held international management positions at Reuters and was the UK Government’s first Head of Digital Content Policy.

You will also have access to the University’s Careers Service and its postgraduate careers support.

Here are some of the sectors that need experts in digital culture and cultural data:

  • Journalism and media
  • Online gaming, entertainment, and serious games
  • Search, social media and e-commerce
  • Museums, galleries, libraries and archives
  • Arts and cultural heritage sites and organisations
  • Music, performing and visual arts
  • Education technology and software
  • Publishing
  • Advertising
  • Product design, web design and digital content creation
  • Technology research and innovation
  • Doctoral research (PhD)

Modules and seminar topics

Here is a summary of the topics which will be included in each module. Some of these are core modules, and other modules are optional depending on the course you are taking. We also have other optional modules from within the Faculty of Arts & Humanities for you to choose from. Please refer to the MA Digital Culture or MA Cultural Data prospectus to find out which modules are relevant to you.

Introduction to Digital Culture

This module examines the theory and history of how culture is shaped by digital technologies and practices. Read more

Seminar topics:

  • Theories of digital culture
  • Inequalities
  • Histories of digital culture
  • Identities
  • Surveillance
  • Social movements
  • Gaming and learning

Introduction to Cultural Data

This module examines cultural data, including methods for creating, analysing and communicating data. Read more

Seminar topics:

  • What is cultural data? 
  • Extracting meaning from texts
  • Modelling culture: data models and databases
  • Data analysis: making data visualisations
  • 3D, virtual worlds and augmented reality
  • Using digital media
  • AI and culture
  • Created by users: social media data mining
  • Analysing social media

Managing Digital Projects

This module examines project management in the context of developing data products and digital performances. Read more

Seminar topics:

  • What is project management? 
  • Conception methodologies
  • User design, requirements and specifications
  • Designing for your users
  • Planning and resourcing
  • Development methodologies and tools I (cultural data products)
  • Development methodologies and tools II (digital performances)
  • Planning your project
  • Data management, preservation and sustainability

Designing Cultural Data Products

This module examines how cultural data products are designed. Read more

Seminar topics:

  • What are cultural data products?
  • Interface design: history and best practice
  • Initial product ideas
  • User-led design methodologies 
  • Understanding websites, systems, apps and tools
  • Designing your product
  • User testing methodologies
  • Licensing, IP, data ethics and re-using data
  • Dissemination planning

Language Analysis, AI and Culturomics

This module examines the nature and analysis of cultural data in the form of language. Read more

Seminar topics:

  • Asking the right questions: From culture to text analytics
  • Thinking quantitatively about culture
  • Scoping and critiquing project ideas
  • Cultural data preparation: Compiling and cleaning texts
  • Corpus linguistics: Annotation and analysis
  • Automatically retrieving meaning from texts: Collocations and keywords
  • Teaching computers to understand culture with Natural Language Processing
  • Teaching computers to understand culture with Machine Learning

Dissertation: Digital Culture and Data e-Portfolio

This module uses a ‘dissertation by portfolio’ approach. You will compile a portfolio which explores all aspects of the design and use of a digital product, service, performance, installation or artefact. The portfolio can include written pieces, drawings, designs, plans, example data etc. Read more

Learning and teaching resources

Located within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Digital Humanities Institute benefits from access to world-leading expertise within the Faculty’s Departments and Schools.

You will have access to state-of-the-art study spaces, scholarship and online resources via the University Library, as well as major research databases and datasets published by ProQuest, Gale Cengage and others (for example, every edition of the magazine Vogue from 1891).

The DHI will provide you with access to tools and data for digitisation, digital editing, data mining and data visualisation (you can use your own data as well), and if you want to be creative you will have access to digital media production suites and equipment.

Studying at Sheffield

Former students of the University

George Ergatoudis, UK’s Head of Music at Apple and Douglas Young, the co-founder and chief designer of Hong Kong-based lifestyle and retail brand Goods of Desire (G.O.D.)

“My knowledge in intercultural communication helps me build trust with diverse clients working in different sectors and countries” (Eri Kikkawa)

“I have fallen head over heels for everything Sheffield embodies” (Wong Jhing Mern)

“The friendly people and the beautiful scenery make this city a wonderful place” (Kuang-Chih (Gigi) Tsou)

“I found the kind of profession that I can also call my hobby” (Milda Petraityte)

“Sheffield is a safe and convenient city, it’s a great place to live” (Can Du)

Get in touch

For further information please contact Dr Seth Mehl.