Announcing International Collaborations on Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions

The following is an announcement from funding and cultural organizations from the United States and the United Kingdom about a new collaboration supporting digital scholarship. 

The Library of Congress Labs team is co-hosting a workshop to kick-off international collaborations around digital scholarship. Partners in the UK and the US are coming together to collaborate on the role of digital scholarship in transforming museums and other cultural institutions such as libraries, archives, and galleries.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the UK (EPSRC), the National Endowment for the Humanities of the US (NEH), the National Science Foundation of the US (NSF), the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in the US, are working together with the anticipation that new transatlantic research partnerships will reimagine the future of the world’s leading cultural institutions.

They will aim to achieve this by transforming the ways in which culture and heritage can be experienced by global audiences; developing new directions for organisational leadership and new forms of curatorial practice; opening new research frontiers and questions; and advancing collections-based research methods for the 21st century.

The first major activity supported jointly by the partners will be a co-sponsored workshop held in Washington DC from 18th – 19th September, convening leading experts from academia and cultural institutions from both countries examining the impact digital technologies are having (and will have) on museums and related institutions. The workshop will explore a number of themes such as Machine Learning and AI, crowdsourcing and models of co-creation, and enhancing visitor experiences; it will be unique in drawing from a diverse range of expertise – data scientists, archaeologists, digital curators, and even ornithologists!

A report summarizing discussions, describing the priority thematic areas identified and recommending actions, will be the key output from the workshop. This will provide a basis from which the partners will consider next steps, including the possibility of future collaborative activity and funding calls that advance the field through new transatlantic partnerships.

United Kingdom

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

The Arts and Humanities Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, funds world-class, independent researcher and postgraduate training in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more.. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

The lead contact is Konrad Mould.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC invests in world-leading research and postgraduate training across the engineering and physical sciences. Their research builds the knowledge and skills base needed to address scientific and technological challenges and provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.

The lead contact is Joanna Holbourn

United States

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

NEH is an executive-branch, independent grant-making agency of the Government of the United States of America dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities and in those social sciences that use humanistic methods. NEH accomplishes this mission by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars.

The lead contact is Brett Bobley.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States of America is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861 et seq) (the “Act”)). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is “to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering.”  NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, non-profit organizations, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

The lead contact is Roxanne Nikolaus.

The Smithsonian Institution (SI)

The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex. It was established for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge” and has established museums, research centers and programs dedicated to the understanding and preservation of humanity’s cultural heritage, the encouragement of contemporary cultural creativity, and the understanding and sustaining of the planet’s biodiversity.

The lead contact is Michelle Delaney.

The Library of Congress (LoC)

The LoC is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The LoC is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. The LoC’s Mission is to engage, inspire and inform the public with a universal and enduring source of knowledge and creativity.


The main lead contact is Abigail Potter.

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