Digital Studio Director
Professor Rachel Fensham
Professor Rachel Fensham is Director of the Digital Studio, and a dance and theatre scholar committed to the responsible development of digital and data research capabilities in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Having led digital archival projects in the United Kingdom, she established the research infrastructure to host the Theatre and Dance Platform at the University of Melbourne. This unique digital repository holds significant digital collections for theatre and dance companies in Melbourne and makes them interoperable with other datasets and interactive resources, such as the award-winning Visualising Venues project for La Mama Theatre, Union House Theatre, and Lucy Guerin inc.
As Lead Chief Investigator (CI) for “Creative Convergence: Enhancing Impact in Regional Theatre for Young People” (ARC Linkage Project, 2016-2021), she has developed the mapping tool, CIRCUIT for theatre companies to plot and identify their touring networks throughout Australia.
As of 2021, she is the lead CI on the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) project for the “Australian Cultural Data Engine: putting cultural data to work”.
Her publications include Movement: Theory for Theatre Studies (Bloomsbury 2021), and chapters on “Making and Assembling” for the Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods (2018) and "Research Methods and Problems" for The Bloomsbury Companion to Dance Studies (2019). With Dr Kate Elswit, she is co-editor of the award-winning book series, New World Choreographies (Palgrave) that recently launched its 13th title.
Digital Studio Project Officer
Dr Joanne Burns
Dr Joanne Burns is the Digital Research Project Officer and is there to provide targeted project support, consultation, and training in support of digital and data humanities research, including visualisation of research, online content management and social media communications. On behalf of the Digital Studio, she coordinates and oversees a wide range of activities, projects and events, such as symposiums and training workshops, facilitating meetings, committees and working groups.
She has a background in arts and archival studies; her doctoral thesis (2016) was interdisciplinary in the fields of English and Music, examining the role of music in the life and works of the Romantic Irish author and lyricist Thomas Moore (1779-1852). She worked intensively with The Gibson-Massie-Moore collection at Queen’s University Belfast, the world's largest collection of Moore’s published works, containing over 1,000 volumes of printed music, texts and volumes of illustrations. She was also involved in the AHRC-funded research project An Historical Typology of Irish Song at Queen’s University.
Joanne has published “Franco-Irish Musical Connections: The Influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Thomas Moore,” in France and Ireland: Notes and Narratives (Peter Lang, 2015), ““Give them Life by Singing them About”: Moore’s Musical Performances in the English Drawing Room,” in Thomas Moore and Romantic Inspiration (Routledge, 2017), and ““Our finest and most popular airs are modern”: Thomas Moore’s Thoughts on Irish Song,” in Irish Song: histories and types (forthcoming 2021).
Social and Cultural Informatics (SCIP)
Associate Professor Nick Thieberger
Nick Thieberger is an Associate Professor in Linguistics. He is particularly interested in developing methods for making better records of all of the world's many languages. This involves training new students in concepts of linguistic data management, the creation of new tools, and the use of existing records for new research.
He has worked with the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) since its inception in 2003, it is an archive that holds 12,000 hours of audio records in 1229 languages. He built the Digital Daisy Bates pages using TEI XML to display 23,000 pages of manuscript material in Australian Indigenous languages. He wrote a grammar of Nafsan (central Vanuatu) and continues to work on a dictionary of that language.
Amanda Belton is a data scientist working with education and arts researchers to visualise research information. Amanda works with playful approaches and empathetic design principles to communicate research data visually into the digital realm, with a keen interest in animation and mixed reality.
Dr Trent Ryan
Trent specialises in computational methods and analysis. His interests include data extraction and wrangling, social networks, text mining, machine learning, and statistical programming. He has worked on several projects examining the impact of social, cultural, and economic factors on cultural industries and aesthetic careers, and continues to be inspired by new and emerging methodologies designed to make sense of complex social phenomena. He is available for one-on-one research consultations on Thursdays and Fridays, and by appointment.
Digital Chamber Researchers
Dr Tyne Daile Sumner
Tyne Daile Sumner is Research Associate on an ARC Discovery Project Literature and the face: A critical history led by Professor Stephanie Trigg and Dr Joe Hughes (SCC) and Professor Guillemette Bollens at the University of Geneva and on an ARC LIEF project led by Professor Rachel Fensham (SCC/Digital Studio), Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government designed to interconnect cultural heritage datasets around Australia, as well as a researcher and consultant with expertise in digital skills training, community engagement, and Digital Humanities. Her doctoral research examined the intersection between Literature, surveillance and big data; and her monograph, Lyric Eye: The Poetics of Twentieth-Century Surveillance, was published with Routledge in 2021. On Twitter she is @tynedaile.
Dr Mia Martin Hobbs
Mia Martin Hobbs is an early career oral historian, with a research focus on transnational histories and memories of war and conflict, trauma, and reconciliation. She has been developing a digital mapping project, ‘Return to Vietnam: Mapping Combat Tours and Post-War Tourism of Australian and American Veterans’ with Emily Fitzgerald and Daniel Russo-Batterham from the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform. Based on her PhD which interviewed Australian and American Vietnam veterans who returned to Việt Nam after the War, the map will exhibit the spatial-temporal dynamics of veterans' return journeys. Users will be able to watch the trajectory of veterans' return journeys across time, and the map will include clips of interview data for users to open and listen to. The plan is for completion by October 2021 to coincide with the publication of her book Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans' Journeys (Cambridge, 2021).
She completed her PhD in History at the University of Melbourne in 2018, where she teaches American and Southeast Asian history. She has published on veteran memories and war narratives in The Australian Journal of Politics and History and Oral History Review, and written on contemporary issues surrounding veterans’ returns to Vietnam for The Conversation and Australian Policy History (twice). Mia tweets @miamhobbs.
Dr Reuben Brown
Reuben Brown is an ethnomusicologist with expertise in Indigenous Australian performance traditions from northern Australia, and digital environments for accessing, locating, and recirculating archival recordings of song and related metadata. Reuben enjoys research affiliations with the Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL), Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures (RUIAC), and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL).
With a postdoctoral 2020 ARC DECRA, he is developing a project on modern diplomacy that involves understanding ceremonial exchange at Indigenous festivals. This project aims to investigate how ceremonial performance – between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants, and between different clan and language groups – generate diplomacy and intercultural dialogue at Indigenous festivals in northern Australia enacts diplomacy. Expected outcomes include a mobile song library of archival recordings. Expected benefits include strengthened community efforts to sustain Indigenous song traditions into the future.
For his PhD research based at PARADISEC, Reuben returned archival recordings of song from the 1948 American Australian Expedition to Arnhem Land to communities in the Northern Territory. He collaborated with ceremony leaders of manyardi in western Arnhem Land to document and analyse these recordings as part of a living and multilingual song tradition performed at funerals, diplomacy ceremonies, festivals and public celebrations; as well as working with an interdisciplinary team of linguists, musicologists, historians, archivists and song specialists in the Pilbara and western Arnhem land to build online and offline platforms for accessing archival song recordings linked to community-enriched metadata. Reuben tweets at @ReubenJayBrown.
Dr Henry Reese
Henry Reese is a historian, researcher and musician. He completed his History PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2019. Entitled ‘Colonial Soundscapes’, this thesis was the first cultural history of early sound recording in Australia. Using a novel methodology that combines the material and the cultural, this project knits the sensory, social, business and economic histories of sound recording in a modern settler society into a cohesive whole. He is currently working as a sessional tutor and research assistant on various projects including the history of museum exchanges, urban history and podcasting. He is also a research assistant on Dr. Reuben Brown’s DECRA project.
Dr Hannah Gould
Hannah Gould is a socio-cultural anthropologist and research fellow (SSPS), and a member of the DeathTech Research Team at the University of Melbourne. For the DeathTech project, she works on questions of discarding and disconnection, religion, and material culture, through interconnected research projects on ‘the stuff of death’ and ‘the death of stuff’. Her doctoral research, for which she received the Japan Foundation Fellowship, investigated the Japanese funeral industry, showing how cultural traditions around death can themselves ‘die’, be replaced, or transformed. Hannah’s ethnography of the production, consumption, and disposal of domestic Buddhist altars reveals how people creatively use material objects to forge intimate relationships with the dead.
Nat Cutter is a PhD candidate (SHAPS) at the University of Melbourne, researching the experiences of British expatriates in the Ottoman Maghreb, 1660-1714, and their influence on diplomatic, economic, military, and cultural relations between Britain and the Maghreb. Nat has published prize-winning research on representations of Maghrebi diversity and Anglo-Maghrebi relations in early British newspapers, news transmission between Britain and the Maghreb, and British social life and isolation in Tunis and Tripoli. He is a founding contributor to Medieval and Early Orients, an AHRC-funded digital project for the study of premodern exchanges between England and Islamic worlds, and is affiliated with the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Contemporary Culture Research Unit at the University of Melbourne.
From 2017-19 Nat served as Acting Project Officer in the Digital Studio and then as Project Manager on the ARC Linkage project Creative Convergence: Enhancing Impact in Regional Theatre for Young People. He will be returning as Research Assistant on the ARC LIEF project led by Professor Rachel Fensham (SCC/Digital Studio), the Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government, designed to interconnect cultural heritage datasets around Australia. Nat teaches in medieval-early modern history, history of piracy, and economic history, and tweets @NatCutter.
Andrew Fuhrmann is a PhD candidate in the School of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne. He is currently researching the work of Melbourne-based contemporary dance choreographer Lucy Guerin AO. He also has a research interest in performing arts archives and curates the Theatre and Dance Platform with Rachel Fensham, an archival project initiated by the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne.
Sam Holleran’s PhD examines public participation in the reimagination of urban burial sites and he is a member of the DeathTech Research Team at the University of Melbourne. He is also an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose work examines the power and politics imbued in urban design, and in particular, the use of everyday objects in cities, like street furniture, parks, and signage. He has worked as an art director, researcher, and educator in the field of civically-engaged design with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) in New York City and the Chair for Architecture and Urban Design at ETH-Zürich. He tweets @sam_holler.
Tom Keep is a PhD candidate in Archaeology, under the supervision of Dr Gijs Tol and Associate Professor Andrew Jamieson of the University of Melbourne, and external supervisor Dr Rhodora Vennarucci at the University of Arkansas. He is interested in how the value of archaeological research can be most widely, equitably, and engagingly distributed in the digital era. He has previously worked as a research assistant at LithodomosVR under University of Melbourne alumnus Dr Simon Young.
Interested in joining the Digital Chamber community? We welcome applications from researchers, particularly early career researchers, working in fields relating to digital humanities and social sciences.
Digital Studio Visiting Fellows
The Digital Studio supports international knowledge exchange across the digital humanities, arts and social sciences, by hosting a range of fellows and visiting researchers.
Are you interested in being hosted by the Studio as a visiting fellow?
For more information please Contact us.
Dr Rafael Cabredo
The Digital Studio hosted Dr Rafael Cabredo from 19 October to 14 December 2019, in partnership with Graduate House as part of the United Board Fellowship program.
In a fast-paced information age, leaders need to be agile and adaptive to the changing educational landscape. All decisions and actions should be supported by verified data and be grounded in established values of the institution.
Dr Rafael Cabredo is the Dean of the College of Computer Studies at De La Salle University in the Philippines. Digital humanities is a burgeoning domain for researchers at De La Salle University, with new collaborations established between the College of Computer Studies and the College of Liberal Arts supporting the development of a number of local digital heritage projects – from documenting native dance and local languages, to using natural language processing to analyse historical texts and literature. Dr Cabredo’s research draws on classical music training to blend music theory with computer science techniques, such as discovering how different chord progressions evoke emotional responses in listeners.
As an Honorary Fellow in the Digital Studio, Dr Cabredo explored how the digital humanities are delivered at the University of Melbourne, examining models for interdisciplinary practice and collaboration that can help inform research at his home university. He engaged with academics across faculties at Melbourne to share perspectives and approaches that support the continuing development of digital humanities tools and methods in the Philippines.
Dr Liz Stainforth
The Digital Studio hosted Dr Liz Stainforth from June to October 2018, as part of the Australian Endeavour Fellowship Scheme.
Being based in the Digital Studio was a brilliant experience. Taking part in the Studio’s Digital Heritage Seminar Series, provided invaluable networking opportunities and connected me with other Digital Humanities researchers.
Elizabeth Stainforth completed her doctoral studies in 2016 and has since worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (University of Edinburgh) and as a Lecturer at the University of Leeds. Her research explores digital heritage and memory cultures, and she is currently working on a collaborative book-length project about digital archiving practices (provisional title: All and Each: Dialogues in the Digital Archive). She has been an Associate Editor for parallax journal and published articles in journals including Museum and Society and Digital Humanities Quarterly.
Elizabeth’s Endeavour Research Fellowship explored digital heritage culture in Australia, and the ways in which digital cultures inform wider social transformations. The study focused on Trove, a digital heritage aggregator hosted by the National Library of Australia, which provides online access to a range of Australian cultural heritage resources. Trove is one among a number of aggregators, including Europeana, Digital NZ and the Digital Public Library of America, that point towards the reimagining of library and museum spaces online. This development raises important questions about the negotiation of public space, collections preservation and cultural engagement in the digital environment. The project had two distinct but related aims: first, to investigate the development of Trove, alongside comparable initiatives, in order to promote new understandings of their infrastructures; and second, to look at the social context for digital heritage, with an emphasis on the collections of Australian public heritage institutions.
Digital Studio Steering Committee
The Steering Committee meets bi-monthly to oversee the Digital Studio’s strategy and policy
Professor Rachel Fensham
Director, Digital Studio
Research and Collections
Ms Donna McRostie
Acting Director, Research and Collections, University Library
Research Platform Services
Dr Stephen Giugni OAM
Associate Director, Research Platform Services
Ms Cat Knights
Research Manager, Faculty of Arts
Professor Dan Woodman
Deputy Associate Dean, Impact and Engagement, Faculty of Arts
Associate Professor Nick Thieberger
Mr Brenton Porter
Manager, Alumni and Industry Relations
Dr Liam Cochrane (SCC)
Dr Una McIlvenna (SHAPS)
Professor Michael Arnold (SHAPS)
Dr Signe Ravn (SSPS)