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Cambridge Digital Humanities: a collective effort

CDH's predecessor – the Digital Humanities Network (DHN) – was established in 2011 with funding from the University's Research Policy Committee as part of a series of Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks, which are designed to encourage research across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

Many of the DHN's original activities have now been assimilated within other divisions in Cambridge Digital Humanities, although the CDH Network retains the particular task of building a sense of community and identity across the large and diverse body of DH researchers at the University, in addition to providing a public face for their work. These functions are being undertaken in part through events for internal and external audiences, including the Distinguished Lecturer Series, launched in 2019 and CDH's 'Searching Questions' symposia, the first of which was held in 2018.

The Network is also a catalyst and focal point for the collaboration links that CDH is pursuing both within the University and outside it, for example, CDH has a partnership with Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University, as a result of which joint workshops have taken place. CDH also works closely with DH centres at other leading UK universities.

A range of external partners have contributed to CDH Learning, including Transkribus, The National Archives and Cambridgeshire County Council Archives, all of which have been involved in Machine Reading the Archive. These partners have helped to design and deliver sessions in the programme and will continue to work with CDH in developing future learning curricula.

Alongside these and other institutional affiliations such as those with Malmö University and the National Library of Science in Beijing are innumerable project-specific collaborations, for example with King's Digital Laboratory at KCL, Bodleian Library in Oxford, and HUMlab at Umeå University, and with the John Stevens Henslow Project, Joseph Dalton Hooker Correspondence Project at Kew, Correspondence of Michael Faraday, and Correspondence of John Tyndall, among others.

Finally, CDH is actively pursuing a Knowledge Exchange programme in order to develop links with business and industry and to extend the impact of the University's research in Digital Humanities beyond acadame. In 2019 the CDH Knowledge Exchange Fellowship was launched, and training sessions where held for representatives from business and industry, focusing on ethics, social media and data mining.

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How to get involved

Cambridge Digital Humanities offers a creative space for dialogue, experimentation and discovery. Its main aim is to support, sustain and initiate the development of world-class excellence in an increasingly central and significant field of research and scholarship. Collaborative by nature, CDH depends upon and benefits from the input and engagement of a diverse community within and beyond the University of Cambridge.

Members of the CDH team – including the directoratestaff and affiliates – are keen to liaise with others about new or existing research activities and about ideas that might be developed further in collaboration. The first step in any research initiative, whether in DH or another field, is to articulate the questions or problems that must be addressed if understanding and knowledge are to expand and develop further. CDH is ideally positioned to help members of the DH community at Cambridge embark on that process, whether through its Learning programme, by receiving high-level incubation advice and research support from members of the CDH Lab, by participating in CDH Network activities, or by liaising with individual PIs and other researchers involved in current projects.

CDH Seeks additional collaborations within and outside the University, building upon its ongoing partnerships. Further Knowledge Transfer opportunities are also sought with members of the business and industry sector.

Like Digital Humanities in general, CDH operates in a flexible, dynamic domain that transcends disciplinary boundaries. Its work is defined by the community at large – one which will continue to grow as CDH itself generates further momentum and critical mass.

If you would like to discuss a possible DH project with members of the CDH team, then please email your initial ideas to lab@cdh.cam.ac.uk. More general enquiries about CDH Research can be made to research@cdh.cam.ac.uk. Information about the CDH Learning programme can be obtained by writing to learning@cdh.cam.ac.uk, and about the activities of the CDH Network via network@cdh.cam.ac.uk. General enquiries can be emailed to office@cdh.cam.ac.uk.