The Digital Studio is playing a key role in the future of national Humanities data-driven research as one of the nodes that is leading the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Data Enhanced Virtual Laboratory (HASS DEVL). Following a formative year with eResearch South Australia, the HASS DEVL and Tinker (its online data and tools platform) have come under new management in 2019.
The project’s new lead agent, the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF), in partnership with the University of Melbourne will bring together fragmented data, tools and services into a shared workspace as well as deliver training and engagement opportunities for HASS researchers nationally. University of Queensland’s Marco Fahmi (HASS DeVL project manager) is working closely with Dr Tyne Daile Sumner at the University of Melbourne in her role as deputy project manager. Tyne brings an invaluable set of skills and experience to the project with a research background in Humanities (Literary Studies and Surveillance Studies) as well as experience in digital research tools training, building communities of practice, consulting on digital and data projects and leading dynamic teams.
Funded by National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) investment through the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), the HASS DEVL project aims to increase the capacity for innovative data-driven research in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences by building skills and giving confidence to those using digital tools and methods. The Tinker digital platform provides an easy-to-use ecosystem of data, tools and services including Text Analysis tools, Transcription tools, guidance on working with Geospatial data, and a bespoke HASS environment for learning and using Jupyter Notebooks.
The project’s Queensland node (the Queensland Digital HASS Network - a collaboration between the University of Queensland, Griffith and QUT) will carry out technology development, training and skills development, communications. Meanwhile, the Victorian node (based at the University of Melbourne) will deliver a Data Curation Framework and community engagement activities including the Digital HASS Champions program, roundtables and workshops. Both nodes will continue working closely together to contribute to a future vision for digital HASS research
The project’s key institutional partners include:
- Australian Data Archive (Australian National University)
- Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN)
- TROVE at the National Library of Australia
- Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet)
- Alveo, and
- Griffith University
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Tinker digital platform
A place to learn, explore, create and collaborate with all things Digital Humanities.
- Professor Rachel Fensham, School of Culture and Communications, Chief Investigator
- Professor Denise Varney, School of Culture and Communications, Chief Investigator
- Andrew Fuhrmann, School of Culture and Communications, Research Assistant
The Theatre and Dance Platform is a digital archives project hosted by the Digital Collections repository at the University of Melbourne which aims to diversify and enhance the University’s contribution to AusStage, an online database that records information about live performances in Australia. The platform, managed through the Digital Studio and created with LIEF 5 support, hosts a range of digitised material related to the performing arts, including photographs, scenic and costume designs, video recordings, posters and textual material such as programmes, reviews and correspondence.
Using an accessible search interface, the project’s key research focus is the cultural heritage and legacy of national and internationally significant dance and theatre collections, such as those of the Melbourne Theatre Company, Lucy Guerin Inc and La Mama Theatre. Digitised visual and textual material and its information architecture is linked to Austage, and is compliant with national and international metadata standards.
With LIEF 6 support, we have continued to add material related to the venues of the theatre and dance collections listed above as well as the Union Theatre complex. These venues, publically funded through the grants system, are key examples of the development of major production venues across the City of Melbourne over a fifty year period.
Using this additional material, and in partnership with Digital Heritage Australia, we have created a series of interactive tour experiences combining photosphere images that document venue interiors and exteriors with digital objects from the Theatre and Dance Platform. These objects include posters, programs, archival audio-visual material and other ephemera, which, along with commentaries and specially commissioned interviews, provide enhanced historical and research context.
Other projects undertaken by the Theatre and Dance Platform include the preservation of websites that document performing arts companies and artists of national significance. We have preserved the Pram Factory website developed by Suzanne Ingleton with the support of the Myer Foundation and Australia Council and the original Lucy Guerin Inc website, which was replaced by the company in early 2019.
Published: 26 Feb 2021 under Archive
The Pram Factory archive
The Australian Performing Group at the Pram Factory
Published: 26 Feb 2021 under Article
From child stars to lost theatres: capturing our ephemeral history of live performance
An article from The Conversation
Published: 26 Feb 2021 under Research project
Inhabiting the Archive
Creating content-rich visualisations of significant performing arts venues
- Molly Walker, Research and Collections, First Peoples
- Daphne Daniels, Ngukurr News Editor
- Maree Clarke, Independent artist
- Shannon Faulkhead, Acting Head, First Nations
- Melanie Raberts, Collections Manager, Indigenous
- Nancy Ladas, Head, Arts
University of Melbourne
- Dr Fran Edmond
- Dr Richard Chenhall
- Professor Rachel Fensham, Assistant Dean, Digital Studio
- Associate Professor Kate Senior, University of Newcastle
- Dr Greg Wadley, School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne
The Living Archive of Indigenous Collections provided a context and framework to test a digital Community Access Portal (CAP) linked with Museums Victoria’s collections. A collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Museums Victoria, the project employed a collaborative community-based approach engaging with the Ngukurr Community in southeast Arnhem Land.
The notion of a ‘living archive’ is a move towards acknowledging the networked, interconnected nature of Indigenous knowledge in archival and collection systems, traditionally static sites of preservation. Alongside work on the return of cultural heritage and data sovereignty, the ‘living archive’ is a valuable lens through which museum collection data structures and systems can be reformed and re-envisioned. By linking and enriching established catalogue information with contemporary representations of lived culture, a ‘living archive’ supports Indigenous communities to control their data and direct the narratives that surround this material.
Hosted in room 306 of the Digital Studio, the UoM Incubator provides the team, structure, frameworks and capability so great ideas and tested prototypes can progress quickly and find a home within their existing UoM portfolios.
What is the UoM Digital Incubator?
In short, the UoM Digital Incubator is a collaborative initiative led by Chancellery, Digital and Data with the intention to:
- Create a Proof of Concept environment for rapid prototyping
- Bring to life ideas and insights from anywhere across UoM
- Use agile development and user-centric design approach
- The focus is on progress over perfection and creating a safe environment to explore, prototype, develop and iterate ideas
Why do we need it?
- UoM has collected plenty of discovery and insights with limited capacity to act on them quickly
- University wide challenges are recognised when attempting to do smaller scale innovation and discovery activities
- Many UoM processes are set for large investments, but lack flexibility for smaller initiatives
- The cost of PoC activities is still high and not becoming more efficient
The Incubator as a response
- The UoM Digital Incubator fills in a gap for smaller size, discovery-oriented activities to come to life
- It is focused on quick testing of new and innovative concepts
- It provides an avenue for UoM teams to use experienced digital product designers and developers
- Who can create a prototype solution for the challenge or opportunity they or their users are facing
- Without extended wait period to kick off the process
- And create a validated pathway to make some of these solutions production-ready