Confirmed Speakers and Presenters

We are very happy to announce our Keynote Speaker, Play Session Leaders, and the Panel Members for our closing debate on Open Access Publishing in the Humanities. Hopefully you’ll agree that this is an exciting lineup!

Keynote Speaker


Dr. James Mussell, Department of English, University of Birmingham

The Proximal Past: Digital Archives, History, and the Here and Now

Dr. Mussell’s keynote will address the presence of historical materials when remediated in digital form. He will look at transformation in this light: i.e., the ways in which the past is transformed through the ways in which we access / write it.  While taking in questions of progression (do we really experience time in this way?) the focus will be on the way the past is projected from the present, and so depends on the media that make it present.

Play Session Leaders


Professor Gunter Kress,  Institute of Education, University of London

Meaning and meaning-making: a social semiotic multimodal approach to contemporary issues in research

Social Semiotics furnishes forth questions about agency, interest, sign-making, designs and compositional principles – and all  in a multimodally conceived world of meanings. Multimodality says: there is a lot more to meaning than any one discipline focusses on. In the larger frame of multimodality there is no ‘extra’ this or ‘para’ that: all features need to be considered. Reframed, ‘language’ (for instance) can become the fuller richer phenomenon that we all know it is. But in that move too, the epistemological centrality of ‘language’ is challenged.

Quite contrary to the notion that ‘language can do all’, each mode (for instance, gesture, facial expression, tone) can, on the basis of its materiality and the social work done over more or less long periods by communities / societies, do things, be used to mean things, which other modes do less well or not at all. Different modes ‘do’ different things – in effect, they ‘transcribe’ the world in fundamentally different ways, challenging the traditional epistemologies and ontologies of academic disciplines

What kinds of categories are central here? What is the role of social agents in all of this? And in relation to the ‘digital’: what kinds of sites are produced in the conjunction of profound social change and the intensifying effects of the contemporary media?

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Dr. Patricia Murrieta-Flores, Department of History, University of Lancaster

Introducing the geographic dimension to your research: GIS for the Humanities

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are becoming increasingly used by historians, archaeologists, literary scholars, classicists and others with an interest in humanities geographies. However, take-up has been often hampered by lack of understanding of the technology. Delivered by the staff of the ‘Spatial Humanities’ project based at Lancaster University, this workshop aims to provide a friendly introduction of what GIS is. It will offer a basic overview of the key abilities of GIS to integrate, analyse and visualise a wide range of data from multiple sources and its potential use in Humanities research. It will also include hands on experience with GIS software. The workshop will cover only the basics and it is aimed at people without any existing practical experience.


John Rooney, School of Design, University of Leeds

Visualising the creative gesture of a place

The city space can be viewed as a creative laboratory and information gathered from it treated as its datum. Everywhere, after all, has its unique collection of stories. John Rooney’s latest research explores ways to visualise a city’s creative gesture. Combining and curating records of past and present narratives, he transposes data using digital technologies to present a gallery of coded, interconnected and emotional information, revealed from the content of a creative space.

A wide range of creative commentary can be included here: sculpture, poetry, visual arts, architecture, pop culture and film. Gesture is recorded with image and sound.  The narrative image or trace presented reveals the creative moment. This workshop will focus on some of the techniques Rooney uses for experimentation with audio text software to create sound patterns from text. Using software designed to scan an image and then create an audio signature of the image will be used to scan letterforms and words, thus creating an audio pattern, a meta-language.

Closing Panel Discussion + Audience Q&A

Open Access Publishing in the Humanities

Issues around Open Access publishing – common in Science and Engineering departments for the past decade or so – are now starting to galvanise the Humanities, not least in the wake of the controversial Finch report. What exactly are the differences between, and the implications of, Gold, Green and Hybrid Open Access models? Does OA represent an exciting new opportunity for Humanities scholars? Or is it a threat that will diminish not only quality, but opportunity, governed by competitive corporate agendas? Our panel of OA experts and policy shapers will tell you their answers to these questions then invite you to ask your own, share your views, and contribute to one of the most important academic debates of modern times.

Dr. Stephen Pinfield (chair), Information School, University of Sheffield

Dr. Martin Eve, Department of English, University of Lincoln and Founder/Academic Project Director, Open Library of Humanities

Dr. Paul Kirby, Department of International Relations, University of Sussex

Dr. Alma Swan, director of Key Perspectives Ltd, Director of Advocacy Programmes for SPARC Europe and Convenor for Enabling Open Scholarship, the organisation of universities promoting the principles of open scholarship in the academic community.

Professor Cathy Urquhart, Head of Research, Manchester Metropolitan University.

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