Weaving Humanities Research Software Engineering and AI

|||Written by David BeavanApril 12, 2023Comments: 0

I’m never one to leave a metaphor untouched, as you can see, but there’s something in it. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how large-scale research, like Living with Machines (LwM), depends on a weaving together of people, skills and disciplines, just as a loom weaves cloth from thread. LwM reveals itself to be a radical collaboration, and a model for new adventures.

I had the absolute pleasure to give the very first talk of the very first Humanities Festival at University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, USA on 15 March 2023, an opportunity I was not going to pass up. Here’s a re-recording of my talk, the full document published on Zenodo.

YouTube video of presentation

I took inspiration from the theme of weaving on a number of levels:

  • how different values come together to make up job identity (touching on the Craftsperson and the Scholar)
  • how different professions and roles come together to form a team (from curators to research software engineers)
  • how different disciplines come together to drive new research (from history to geography)

The presentation introduces the Turing Research Engineering Group and talks about highlights and learnings from Living with Machines as well as challenges on accelerating digital research infrastructure.

I wish to thank the very welcoming staff and students at UGA. Over three full days I met dozens of engaged students and staff, sharing our passions and knowledge for all things digital humanities. We made plans for a very concrete future weaving together of AI and A&H, so watch this space! Special thanks to Katie Ireland (DigiLab), Nicholas Allen (Willson Center) and Bill Kretschmar (English) for the invite. The UGA campus in Athens is beautifully green, and Athens itself has a wonderful vibe and music heritage.

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