Digital Humanities is an area of strategic importance to the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Digital Humanities, established in 2017, is an interdisciplinary research centre, homed in the School of Arts and Humanities, shared with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and crossing multiple Schools and other units including the University Library, Cambridge collections and other research centres. It is currently hosted administratively by CRASSH, and has, in 2022, welcomed its first cohort of students for the MPhil in Digital Humanities, based in the Faculty of English.
We define Digital Humanities as encompassing work on the cultural, social, and epistemic impacts of digital technologies (around data, on everyday life, in relation to literary, cultural forms, medium studies, including issues of technocratic rationality, power and justice); digital research methodologies; computational humanities; digital libraries and archival-based research; digital performance, and exhibition (including in cultural institutions); and research exploring cultural and social impacts of emerging technologies – notably around data, and AI informed developments in, for example, face recognition, automatic writing and the social/cultural implications of robotics.
CDH collaborates with researchers to generate and develop Digital Humanities scholarship across the arts and humanities. We create and deliver research projects, explore emerging research areas, and collaborate with international partners. We work with Cambridge University Library, Cambridge University collections, and multiple faculties and research centres. We collaborate with a wide range of international partners in Europe and the US, and a priority is to develop deeper Global South links. Our aim is to further an expansive form of Digital Humanities that encompasses work with collections, literature as digital humanities, global digital humanities, critical media theorization, digital media, methodological advancement, future and emerging technologies including AI and machine learning.
CDH comprises a core team that runs the centre’s outputs from research to networking. We also have associate members, methods fellows, and occasionally PhD students and visiting scholars.
Our Associate community is drawn from academics, developers, researchers and others building an expert community to enable the sharing of research and infra-structural knowledge, and to increase our capacity to bring together people doing DH research across a wide range of areas.
Our Methods Fellows share their expertise in methods or practices relevant to DH research. They design and deliver a series of workshop sessions and are active in the growing CDH community.
We welcome applications for short-term academic visits from graduate students and researchers from other universities.
Alongside our core research programme, CDH Learning facilitates the development of digitally informed research through its research learning programmes – including a Methods Fellow programme, short courses, fortnight-long data schools, and themed workshop series. CDH Labs, based in the Library, supports and collaborates in digital research and learning and provides technical (Research Software Engineer) expertise and infra-structural assistance.
CDH is expanding its operations into new fields. Successful grant capture is enabling diverse research projects, the CDH team and CDH associate list is growing, and cooperation between CDH and other Cambridge units (faculties, the UL, collections, other research centres) is producing new possibilities for engagement and partnership.
The new MPhil in Digital Humanities will contribute greatly to the research culture CDH is building, and will provide a stepping-stone to increasing doctoral-level research within the Centre. The course will produce postgraduates with a clear understanding of digital culture’s epistemological, ethical and political stakes, and practical digital humanities work. It will allow them to design projects involving DH tools and provide them with the practical skills to engage with them at introductory levels. This is not an advanced ‘coding’ course. It provides critical and practical literacy, the chance to advance an extant specialisation by re-contextualising it in relation to advanced theoretical work, and the chance to develop as a DH scholar. Successful students may stay with DH, return to a ‘home’ discipline for advanced study, or find a career in media and creative arts, GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), archival, digital or other sectors.