AHRC BT Research Networking Award Holder Meeting

Notes of meeting

Time and Place

2pm – 5pm, Thursday 6th May 2010

BT Archive, Third Floor, Holborn LONDON


Joanna Pollock, Knowledge Transfer Strategy and Development manager AHRC

Susan Amor, Head of Knowledge Transfer AHRC

John Seton, BT Innovate and Design

David Hay, BT Archives

Craig McCahill, BT Innovate and Design

Sian Brereton, Lead Technologist for the Creative Industries TSB

Dr Ross Parry, LIVE!Museum: visitor and institutional contexts for digital labelling and in-gallery connectivity

Mr Marco Gillies, Digital Reconstruction in Archaeology and Contemporary Performance

Dr Jon Agar, Locating Communications Heritage: engaging the mobile user

Dr Tilly Blyth, Locating Communications Heritage: engaging the mobile user

Dr David Gill, Mobile Heritage: plotting ancient Athens''

Chris Hall, E-Learning Officer Mobile Heritage: plotting ancient Athens''

Professor Mike Wilson, Principal Investigator Linking the Chain: A Network for Digital Heritage in Wales


Peter Connor, BT Regions

Professor Robert Zimmer, MIST: Museum Interfaces, Spaces, Technologies

Dr Julia Hallam, Landscapes, memories and cultural practices: a GIS / GPS digital heritage mapping network.

Dr Kate Devlin, Digital Reconstruction in Archaeology and Contemporary Performance


  1. Round Table Introductions

The attendees introduced themselves to the group and gave a brief outline of the Research Networks that they have been involved with (or their professional interest in the call) and their progress to date. The following points of interest were raised:

  • RP commented on the novel approach of the network in producing a number of research proposals for further funding as a tangible outcome of the workshops. This has provided a useful focus to the activities.

· JA emphasised how exciting he is finding being involved in a project which will not be producing an academic book as its primary output but will instead be focusing on defining new areas for research and developing a new piece of technology.

  • TB noted that designing a service which is so carefully tailored to the user is new for the Science Museum and is proving to be an enlightening process.
  • There are a broad range of non HEI organisations participating in the workshops which is adding real value, these include: The Natural History Museum, the Pompidou Centre, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Intel, WAG, Blackbox, Google.
  1. Identifying and Capturing Successful Outcomes

JS and JP outlined BT’s and AHRC’s motivations for setting up the call and their views on what the key success indicators will be. Both emphasised the importance of the intangible benefits of networking in forming new connections and seeding new ideas. The hope is that AHRC’s relatively small investment in the networks will lead to larger knowledge exchange projects between BT and the arts and humanities research community in the future. It is also important that both organisations build up evidence of the respective value of such collaboration for both parties and JP asked the network leads to help them capture this during the projects, at the end of the projects and beyond them. The attendees raised the following as key benefits to date:

  • CM emphasised how involvement in the networks has allowed him, and his colleagues, to sustain an interest in digital heritage outside of immediate BT business goals and access research expertise beyond their own team.
  • RP detailed the way in which having BT’s name attached to the call and therefore to the projects has opened doors for them in organising workshops which have ‘the right people in the room’. He is aware that BT’s involvement has meant that organisations such as Google have accepted their workshop invitations. There was general agreement amongst the projects on this point.
  • AHRC brokering the partnership with BT on behalf of the arts and humanities research community has been hugely important for the individuals involved.
  • RP also noted that the active interest of his University Press Office in what is a relatively small Research Networking project demonstrated the status that working with BT (and others) has given them within HE.
  • IPR has not been a problem for the networks.

There was a discussion about the added value of having a ‘network of networks’ in terms of providing intellectual support and furthering their understanding of the sector. The possibility of more practical technical links was also discussed. JP encouraged the group to continue to explore these outside of the meeting if appropriate.

  1. AHRC BT Digital Heritage Showcase Event

JP and JS asked the group for their input to an event that AHRC and BT will be organising for the autumn to showcase the work of the networks and stimulate the next stage of activity. The following suggestions were made:

  • An innovative and interesting format for the day should be explored rather than the traditional series of presentations on an auditorium stage. This could involve using a number of sites and venues and offering a variety of journeys and experiences to the audience.
  • The timing is important and should be confirmed as soon as possible. This will need to fit in with the academic year and with the networks’ developments so that they have some outcomes to share. September/October would seem to be good in those respects.
  • We need to be clear about exactly who the audience is for the event; potential future funders, the public, other researchers in the sector, industry partners etc. The agenda for the day will need to reflect this composition to motivate them to attend and to ensure that the level of information shared is appropriate.
  • The event could be divided into parts for different purposes; showcase presentations, market stall demonstrations and focussed discussions, information about future initiatives from funders (Research Councils, TSB, European agencies etc).
  • We could offer opportunities for people to book individual appointments with audience members or speakers to develop specific ideas.
  • It would be useful if the museum sector is able to attend but they are working in an increasingly difficult financial climate and it may be hard for staff to find the time/money for the train fare. We could consider ‘piggy-backing’ on to another event that they would already be attending such as the UK Museums on the Web meeting in November/December at the Museum of London (next door to BT Centre). It might also be useful to talk to the DCMS digital engagement group led by Jonathan Drury.
  • We should consider making the event available online or live streaming presentations to other venues for people who can’t attend.
  • It is important to ensure that the event is not too London centric (the above would help) as the policy agenda is very different in the devolved regions

JP and JS will meet separately in the near future to discuss these ideas and will circulate further information. Networks will need to be involved in the design and production this event if it is to be successful it the above aims. The network group will convene before the event to finalise their respective contributions.

  1. Open Discussion

SB gave an outline of the upcoming TSB Digital Innovation programme and answered questions from the group.

SA will be meeting with Emily Nott and Nick Appleyard from the TSB to discuss the above programme and the ways in which the arts and humanities community can directly engage with the subsequent calls. SA will feed back to the group on this.

SB will be running a workshop with the museum and gallery sector to discuss where their interests might align with the programme.

SB briefly outlined the TSB’s work with the creative industries in ‘metadata and convergence’. The convergence theme is yet to be fully developed but a call related to metadata will be announced shortly.

SB referred the group to the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network for further information and opportunities. JP will forward details of new events and calls promoted on the site to the group as she receives them.

v Action

With regards to the showcase event, there is an action on the Networks to inform JP and/or JS by mid June what they can offer as innovative and exciting contributions and by when.

We will then be in a good position to assess how ambitious the format and scale of the event should be, and who our audience are.