25 Nov 2024 - 3 Dec 2024 1.00–4.00pm daily (GMT) Online


Application deadline: 1 September 2024

The online Cultural Heritage Data School (CHDS), taking place on 25 November–3 December 2024, is open for applications for participants across the cultural heritage sector and academia.

The school provides new methods, technical foundations and tools to create, visualise and analyse digital archives and collections.

This intensive online teaching programme will be structured around the digital collections and archives pipeline, covering the general principles and applied practices involved in the generation, exploration, visualisation, analysis and preservation of digital collections and archives.

Leading academic researchers and practitioners have created a teaching and learning experience that uses virtual tools for lectures, workshops, group work and more, developing technical skills while raising critical questions about data in the cultural heritage sector.

Previous attendees have benefitted from the practical way digital methods are applied to real problems, the critical way they are employed, and enriching interactions with teachers and peers.

We encourage anyone working with cultural heritage data to apply!

Q&A session

Want to find out more about the content, teaching team, and application process? Watch the recording of our recent information webinar below.

Further information


Coming soon

Module overview

Our modules cover the lifecycle of a data-intensive project working with cultural heritage data, including ethical research design, data collection, analysis, visualisation and presentation. Teaching includes lectures, participatory sessions, workshops, hands-on activities with leading researchers and practitioners in the field.

You will be able to collect and analyse publicly-available text and image collections from cultural heritage institutions and learn how to use AI both as a tool for research and as an object of inquiry. We will also explore methods for creating digital archives of material objects and the challenges of participatory archival practice.

This online iteration of the CHDS will focus on the theme of Data Preservation, exploring technologies and infrastructure for managing cultural heritage data. In an era where cultural institutions are often making their collections freely available online, questions around data provenance, data protection, and data security remain crucial. In addition to dedicated sessions on data preservation, the online CHDS will also cover broader data inquiry topics, such as first steps in coding, machine learning for collections, and data visualisation.

Modules will cover the following content:

  • Data Preservation Practices
  • Ethical Research Design
  • Collecting and Working with Cultural Heritage Data at Scale
  • AI and Collections
  • Text Wrangling for Cultural Heritage Projects
  • Digital Research Design and the Project Lifecycle

Digital Research Design and the Project Lifecycle

This introductory module explores the lifecycle of a digital research project across the stages of design – data capture, transformation, analysis, presentation and preservation. It also introduces tactics for embedding ethical research principles and practices at each stage of the research process. We will discuss the importance of the documentation of data provenance, examine the practical and ethical challenges involved in common methods used for bulk data capture, including use of APIs and working with data collected by others. The second session in the module will introduce the data-cleaning tool OpenRefine and provide a set of exercises for participants to work through in their own time.

Text Wrangling for Cultural Heritage Projects

Participants will explore workflows for dealing with textual resources in digital humanities – where to get them (including APIs and scraping from the web), how to understand the different formats you might encounter, some common tools and methodologies for text in DH (topic modelling, network analysis, named entity recognition), and how to understand the outputs in the context of the workflow. We’ll have a quick look at text encoding, both as an input and an output of DH projects, and the sessions will include some short Python scripts for those keen to have a go at coding.

Visualising Cultural Heritage Data

It is often said we live in a society saturated with data. Visualisation methods can play a crucial role in helping to cut through the information overload. Badly designed charts, graphs and diagrams, on the other hand, can confuse or deceive. This session will introduce and contextualise established general principles of graphical communication and good practice in data visualisation methods, helping you to think more critically about your own work and that of others. We will focus on graphical display as an interpretative and persuasive practice which requires as much attention to detail as writing. A hands-on collaborative exercise will give you the chance to put your visualisation skills to work.

Social Space

Informal meet-ups where participants will be able to virtually interact with peers and some teachers. Topics can vary from Data School content, personal projects, interests or any other theme. The aim is to promote horizontal learning and participation.

Keynote speakers TBC

*Content may be subject to change

Teaching team

*Teaching team may be subject to change

Application, fees & FAQs

Who can apply?

The school welcomes applications from all backgrounds.

You might be working or volunteering in a gallery, library, archive or museum, involved in a community-based cultural heritage project or working with cultural heritage practitioners or institutions as an academic researcher or student.  Anyone who works with cultural heritage data is welcome to apply.

No previous experience of coding is required and there are no specific academic requirements, however, the course content is broadly suitable for those with an undergraduate degree or equivalent professional experience. The programme is taught in English. 

We are committed to facilitate participation by women, black and minority ethnic candidates as they have historically been under-represented in the technology and data science sector. We also welcome applications from outside the UK, assuming they can attend the live workshop slots between 1pm-5pm GMT. Sessions will not be recorded and therefore live attendance is required.

When and where

This school will be held online from 25 November3 December 2024. Data School live sessions are timetabled daily between 1pm–5pm (GMT). To convert this to your timezone you can use this Time Zone Converter.

Sessions will include live-taught instruction on Zoom, demonstrations and discussions online, with access to self-paced study materials and support via email-based discussion groups between sessions. Participants will need a laptop or desktop computer and internet access to participate in the sessions. Some sessions will require software installation — full instructions will be provided, but please ensure you have access rights to install software on the device you will be using. 

The school is highly interactive and participants need to be able to join the discussions in real time, so please ensure you have suitable internet access which will enable viewing of online videos and live participation through video calls. 

An in-person Cultural Heritage Data School is also scheduled to take place in Cambridge from 7–11 April 2025. Applications will open in late 2024 – please check our website or sign up to our mailing list for more details. Please note that the fees for in-person Data Schools are higher than for the online versions.


  • Standard: £245 per person
  • Concession (limited places): £145 per person

This fee covers around 23 hours of teaching sessions, access to online teaching resources, virtual space for discussions with top practitioners and peers, and troubleshooting sessions. All required software is free to use. 

There is a limited number of concessionary places for the unemployed, unfunded projects, and Global South residents that can demonstrate financial need. In addition, a small number of bursaries (waived fee) are available to those who are not able to afford this training and can demonstrate how attending the school will be beneficial for them. You can apply for this on the application form.

The deadline for payment will be 16 October 2024 (where a place has been offered and confirmed).

How to apply

Complete an application by 1 September 2024. You will hear whether your application was successful or not by 6 September 2024.

The Cultural Heritage Data School is application-only with limited places. During your application you should make best use of the free text sections to explain your current experience, and what you would get out of attending the School.

Apply via our application system here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fee rates, prices, eligibility

Q – I’m a student / member of staff at the University of Cambridge, can I apply?

A – While University of Cambridge staff and students are welcome to apply, we strongly encourage you to sign up for the CDH Learning Programme sessions which take place throughout the academic year. Most of the content of the Data School is repeated in our regular programme which is open to graduate students and all categories of staff, and for this reason we are likely to prioritise external applicants for Data School places, unless the applicant meets other eligibility criteria (for example, if you are a staff member or student applying in relation to your engagement with a community heritage project, or if you are visiting scholar and you would benefit from an intensive programme).

Course content, level, pre-requisites

Q – What level of technical knowledge do you expect of participants? 

A – We are looking for participants who are comfortable with regularly using computers in their work or study, but we don’t require specialist knowledge or experience of programming. To keep up with the course you’ll need to have some basic knowledge of how to handle files on your computer, how to input data into a spreadsheet (e.g. Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets) and how to install software.

Q – Do I need to know how to code to attend the Data School?

A – No, you don’t. We may be teaching some Python as an option in some modules, but you can follow the course without knowing any code.

Q – Are there any academic requirements for attendance at the Data School?

A – There are no specific academic requirements however the course content is broadly suitable for those with an undergraduate degree or equivalent professional experience. For the Cultural Heritage Data School in particular, we strongly encourage participants to familiarise themselves with with the contents on this free online course from Open University before attending the Data School:  https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/digital-humanities-humanities-research-the-digital-age/content-section-overview?active-tab=content-tab 

Q – Will I get academic credits or an official accreditation from the Data School?

A – The Data Schools are not an accredited course, so no academic credits or official accreditation will be offered. However, we extend a certificate of attendance if you fulfil the attendance requirements.

Q – Are there language proficiency requirements for the Data School? 

A – The Data School will be taught in English and participants will need to be able to follow the live sessions, interact with other participants and read English in order to take part.

Technical requirements, hardware, software

Q – What equipment do I need to take part in the Data School? 

A – To access the Data School live sessions you will need an internet connection and a laptop (Wifi in the university is available for free in-person editions). You can use a mobile phone or tablet to join the live video sessions but you will need to have a laptop on which you have admin privileges in order to install software to work through the course content.

Q – What time commitment is expected in the Data School?

A – Usually, each module in the School consists of two live sessions. The first hour-long session will focus on demonstrating methods and techniques, so you should allow around 1-2 hours in addition to work through the material again before the second hour-long live session. The teaching materials provided will also include suggestions for further self-paced work on the topic which you may find beneficial if you want to explore in more depth.

The only exception to this are modules that offer two different ‘tracks’ for participation: a ‘no-code’ track which will take 1-3 hours outside the live sessions and ‘coding track’ which will take around 3-5 hours outside the live sessions.

Learning sessions

Q – Can I access these teaching materials after the DS?

A – The teaching materials are available for participants’ private study after the Data School. They will be delivered via our own virtual learning environment, Moodle, which will be accessible for the rest of the current academic year. However, copies can be downloaded and archived for future use beyond this date. Some teaching content may be available to share publicly and re-use, depending on what licence the individual teacher has decided to use for their materials (there will be resources explaining this in the Moodle and if in doubt please check with the person who created the content – ie the teacher of that specific session).

Q – Can I reuse/repurpose the material for something unrelated to CDH?

A – You need to check the licensing of the specific material in question. If the author has used a Creative Commons licence which allows public sharing and/or adaptation (for example a CC-BY licence, or a CC-BY-SA licence) then you can. But if it is marked as ‘All rights reserved’ then you can only use it for private study unless you get permission from the author. If the material is marked as CC-BY-ND then you may share copies but not adapt or transform it.

Q – Is it possible to have recordings of the sessions?

A – The short answer is no. We encourage all participants to be present in the live sessions, as we don’t have plans to record them in the near future. We are developing some on-demand materials, but these will be used in conjunction with the live sessions, not as a substitute.

Q – What happens if I miss one or more sessions?

A – We understand that anything can happen with online teaching and all of us may have unexpected urgent things to solve. If you miss one or two sessions we will ask why and try to understand your situation, if you miss three sessions with no justifiable reason we will reserve the right to deny access to live teaching and other materials.

Cambridge Digital Humanities

Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk