model of chemical compound made of wool and knitting needles

Skills

 

Our approach to building capacity for data-led and applied digital research is grounded in the values that we hold as a Centre driven by and for researchers in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, from refining the ways we use, create and share open educational resources to exploring how we can co-create more effective learning opportunities. As we begin to explore the contexts opened up by our move into the Edinburgh Futures Institute, we're considering what innovation in training might look like, how cross-sectoral collaboration might play into capacity building, and how we can support skills development in a challenge-led environment. We're excited about the ways we are going to put our ideas into practice going forward. 

researchers trying VR headsets

a meeting of equals

 

We are driven by our belief in the value of the arts, humanities and social sciences, disciplines which teach us to how to analyse, interpret, create and communicate effectively. Our work is about helping researchers combine these disciplinary skills with the technical skills required to understand, navigate, critique and explore our increasingly datafied and digital world. Our training is developed and led by arts, humanities and social science researchers who have already been through the hurdles of exploring and embedding digital and data-driven methods in their own research and can encourage and support a critical and creative engagement with these tools. We're also contributing to the growth of specialised humanities research software engineering through our work on the DH RSE summer school.  

Learning through Real world challenges

It's common practice for trainers to develop their courses by isolating processes and using small, pre-cleaned and simplified data sets: while this ensures learners can focus on the elements being taught, it can lead to a disconnect with real world projects and make it hard for learners to apply their learning outside the classroom. We're interested in how we can support connection between research and technical skills, and in how we can equip our researchers with the skills they'll need to tackle real world challenges.

This year we began to experiment with challenge-led training through our summer school programme. We started by identifying a set of core questions that we wanted to address and developed the course around methods and techniques useful to address these questions. This year's focus was on the cost of living crisis in the UK. In this way, while still focusing on learning new methods and techniques, the attendees were able to better understand how these methods could serve specific research approaches. 

Prioritising Accessibility

2 Pathways

Pathways

One of the challenges researchers face when employing digital methods is identifying and bridging knowledge gaps and practical barriers. To help researchers navigate this complex and sometimes overwhelming landscape, we have built a series of Training Pathways which guide researchers through the steps and concepts they need to master new methodologies while highlighting interconnections between methods. We added two new pathways to the collections this year.

31 online courses

Flexible formats

Our community is highly multi-disciplinary and encompasses researchers at very different stages of their careers. Not all people learn the same way or have the same amount of time available. So, rather than trying to provide a one-fits-all model, we offer a diverse and flexible range of training opportunities. Our workshops and courses take place at varied times, and in varied formats, some in person and some online. This year, we offered half of our programme online. 

8 silent discos

Self-paced learning

Alongside our standard training, we provide community-focused self-paced learning through our 'Silent Discos' where attendees work through a tutorial at their own pace with an instructor available online to help them with any issues. This year, we held 8 silent discos.

Bursaries

Digital Humanities @ Oxford Summer School.

This year PhD Student Ash Charlton attended the Digital Humanities @ Oxford Summer School. 

Digital Methods Winter School

We supported PhD students Ari Stillman and Lara Del Molin in attending Digital Methods Winter Schools.

MSc in Speech and Language Processing

We supported Professor Will Lamb attend training in Speech and Language Processing.

grafitti saying recycle and giving back

Reuse & Recycle

In line with our values, we support the reuse and recycling of training material in multiple ways:

  • We continue our collaboration with Programming Historian and we use their peer-reviewed tutorials in our silent disco format. 
  • Our pathways link together the different steps needed to master a certain method and signpost materials and resources available within the university and beyond.
  • We release all the material produced for our training programme online on GitHub. We now have 42 repositories and 20 people have contributed to the growth of our project.