How can big data be used in Arts and Humanities?


We are seeing a range of funding bodies offer opportunities for researchers to work with Big Data, with two current calls seeking to address how this can most effectively be used within Arts and Humanities. Big data is information resources which are so large that they exceed the capacity of commonly used software and analysis tools, so new approaches and methodologies have to be developed to analyse them.  Big data is a challenge across all research disciplines, from the Large Hadron Collider to British Library archives and poses new legal and ethical challenges in its use.

The AHRC has a £4 million pot to explore Big Data as part of their Digital Transformations on the Arts and Humanities theme, with a closing date of 12th September.  There are two different scales of projects that will be supported, those up to £100K and those up to £600k.  For funding of up to £100k, pilot projects looking at innovative uses of existing datasets are sought; with early career researchers in particular being encouraged.  For the larger projects more in depth approaches are sought.  Collaborations and interdisciplinary investigations are encouraged across both strands, with British Library and National Archives offering to consider access to materials.

Nesta also has a specific Big Data strand under its Collaborative R&D Fund for the Arts.  This funding stream will support partnership applications involving a consortium of 3 arts organisations, a technology partner and a research partner. Friday 13th September is the deadline for expressions of interest, for projects up to £300k.

Please contact if you are interested. Further information: AHRC and  Digital R&D funding for the Arts

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