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Sociology: Events


Animating Archives: Curating Small Research Data

Animating Archives: Curating Small Research Data
Hosted by: Niamh Moore # University of Edinburgh; Hosted by: Rachel Thomson # University of Sussex
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
19th Jul 2017 10:00 - 19th Jul 2017 16:15
Room 3.15, 18 Buccleuch Place, University of Edinburgh

Please click here to download the conference pack, which includes a final programme, abstracts, background reading and other introductory materials

A crucial challenge in the rapidly changing landscape of ‘data management’ is exciting the involvement of a wider range of researchers, and research data, than is currently the case. In particular, the focus on ‘big data’ and the computational possibilities of large datasets, has contributed to a sense for many qualitative researchers, or those working with smaller scale data sets, that these discussions are irrelevant for their own practice. Key concerns are that that the labour required to prepare data for deposit in a repository for possible future use by other researchers is ethically challenging, laborious, costly, unrewarding and of no real and meaningful benefit to the current researcher. This is exacerbated in a context where there is much enthusiasm for ‘data management’, but a lack of resource for supporting such work and a lack of recognition for those who take the time to engage in data archiving.
This workshop aims to articulate a necessary cultural shift towards practices of ‘animating archives’ (including realising the potential of emerging digital technologies), and away from narrowly construed notions of ‘data management’ and ‘data repositories’, which have arguably served to obfuscate the creative possibilities of working with data. Questions raised in the various debates around data management, data archiving, data curation, data repositories, cannot be solved by one discipline alone, and need the concerted involvement of researchers across the field of the social sciences and humanities as well as those involved in libraries, archives and various repositories. As the possibility and desirability of expanded archival practice becomes an issue of international relevance we see value in consolidating and extending learning in a UK context where the RCUK requirement to archive (since 1996) has stimulated activity. In particular we see the need to shift from a focus on the necessary challenges of doing this work to sharing examples of researchers collaborating to explore the creative possibilities of ‘animating archives’.
Please contact Niamh ( if you are interested in giving a short contribution which addresses the focus of the workshop, or in attending.
Organisers: Niamh Moore (Edinburgh) and Rachel Thomson (Sussex)
Guest speakers from the Digital Humanities Laboratory at the University of Sussex include: James Baker, Liam Berriman, Lucy Robinson, Rachel Thomson and Sharon Webb (read more)
This workshop is funded by a Dean’s Award from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh.
The workshop is free and refeshments and lunch are provided.

Comference  Programme


Registration and coffee


Introduction – Niamh Moore and Rachel Thomson



Professor Lydia Plowman, Dean of Research, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


The time/s of archiving

Rachel Thomson, University of Sussex

‘Revisiting and reanimating archives as materialising social change’

Liam Berriman, University of Sussex

‘Curating Childhoods: ethics, co-production and the archive’

James Baker, University of Sussex

‘Born-digital archives: state of play’




Learning from community archiving

Niamh Moore, University of Edinburgh

‘DIY Academic Archiving: Learning from Community Archiving’

Sharon Webb, University of Sussex

‘Community Archives, preservation and practice’

Lucy Robinson, University of Sussex

‘Animating the Archive: DIY Digital Practice’




Learning from other fields




Mapping influences, challenges and opportunities – focussed collective discussion