King’s College London joins DARIAH as Cooperating Partner

First Published on the DARIAH website on 6th November 2023.
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© Photo by Diva Plavalaguna on Pexels

The Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH-EU) is proud to announce it has renewed a Cooperating Partnership agreement with King’s College London in the United Kingdom.

“I'm enthusiastic about the of King's College London’s collaboration with DARIAH as cooperating partner: this partnership not only amplifies the impact of digital humanities in the UK but also opens doors for enhanced research projects, resource sharing, and knowledge exchange, ultimately strengthening the digital humanities landscape for research and teaching.”

Barbara McGillivray (Lecturer in Digital Humanities and Cultural Computation, DDH)

“I am delighted to support this partnership agreement with DARIAH, which will strengthen connections with our fellow European partners and foster greater opportunities for innovation in digital humanities across a vibrant international research community with invaluable experience in developing open science across the arts and humanities.”

Paul Spence (Reader in Digital Humanities, DDH)

DARIAH is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) whose mission is to empower research communities with digital methods to create, connect and share knowledge about culture and society. In addition to having 22 member states, DARIAH has also established a network of cooperating partners in non-member countries.

“The renewal of our Cooperating Partnership with King’s College London is a key part of our overall strategy to bring DARIAH to the United Kingdom,” said Edward Gray, DARIAH’s Officer for National Coordination. “KCL has a longstanding history with DARIAH, and their strong DH experience and multitude of expertise and tools will be a valuable addition to our ecosystem. This partnership should tie KCL, and the UK, even closer to the European DARIAH network.”

King's College London (KCL) has a distinguished reputation in the Arts and Humanities and a long tradition of research in the Digital Humanities (DH), going back to the early 1970s with a strong focus on research infrastructures (including the set-up of a central eResearch function). King's is one of the few places in the world where students at all levels, including PhD, can pursue a wide range of interdisciplinary study involving the application of computing methods and tools in the arts and humanities. This is manifested in two complementary units in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) concentrates on research and academic teaching in the wider domain of DH and it is the largest department of its kind anywhere. The King's Digital Lab (KDL), currently a research facility, has the broader remit to increase digital research capability in all arts, humanities and cultural heritage disciplines. The goal of establishing KDL in 2015 was to balance a commitment to intellectual quality and high-quality teaching with high intensity technical development, underpinned by industry-standard approaches to research software engineering (RSE), infrastructure management, and research data management.

Dual logos of DARIAH logo at the top and KCL logo at the bottom.
DARIAH - KCL logos

Research and Teaching Strengths of KCL

DDH is typically involved in more than 30 major research projects at any one time (with partners such as the British Library, the National Archives, the Tate, the British Museum, the Royal Archives) and offers a dedicated education in DH through a number of programmes: MA in Digital Humanities, MA in Digital Culture and Society, MA in Digital Asset and Media Management, MA in Big Data in Culture and Society, MSc in Digital Economy. It was the first department to launch a PhD programme in DH.

KDL undertakes a range of innovative digital collaborations both with academic staff across the Faculty and with external partners. KDL's existing digital humanities activities are wide ranging, from creativity and AI, data visualization, machine learning as well as more traditional approaches such as digital scholarly editing, historical prosopographies and literary analysis. KDL actively developing research themes currently include Digital Creativity, (e.g. see Room is Sad and Digital Ghost Hunt), AI and Machine Learning (e.g. see Critical Modelling of Extensive Literary Data), and Indigenous Digital Humanities.

Integration with DARIAH

“King’s had a very important role in the early conception and set-up of DARIAH via colleagues like Sheila Anderson and Tobias Blanke. This partnership renewal confirms our firm intention to collaborate and follow up on the many other activities we undertook together (such as the DESIR project or the RSE training) as part of a diverse yet united community.”

Arianna Ciula (Director of KDL)

The renewed cooperation with DARIAH will allow DDH, KDL and other colleagues in Faculty to strengthen their international collaborations as well as access and contribute to DARIAH resources. The goal in the next three years will be for the UK to achieve full membership in DARIAH via the UK Ireland DH Association (of which KCL is a founding member) acting as the basis for a national consortium liaising with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and its research infrastructures programme.

KDL will support DARIAH Cooperating Research Activities by adding resources, like code repository, onto the SSH Open Marketplace and will contribute with DDH to the Research Data Management working group, the Sustainable Publishing of (meta)Data working group, and the DARIAHTeach working group. In addition to the existing membership of Barbara McGillivray (DDH) to the SSH Open Marketplace editorial board, other outreach and networking activities will be identified on an ad hoc basis.

Beyond existing working groups, KDL and DDH are assessing appetite for two new Working Groups, one on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) - with a focus on social justice and inclusive practices in DH through collaborations, including involvement of indigenous communities, and one on RSE to leverage on the development of RSE communities of practice of within DARIAH, DH Tech ADHO SIG and the RSE CIG of the UK Ireland DH Association.

For more information on the Cooperating Partners membership in DARIAH, their role, tasks and benefits, have a look at the DARIAH detailed post here.