30 October – 1 November 2017
The Manchester Museum

About the Conference

Researching Digital Cultural Heritage is a 2-day international conference that takes place in Manchester on 30/11 – 1/12 2017. The conference  proposes a critical examination of established and emerging theoretical, methodological and analytical frameworks in researching cultural heritage spaces, objects, audiences and practices in the digital realm. The conference explores both the impact that digital media have in developing new research methodologies and frameworks of analysis of cultural heritage; and the practice of researching digitally mediated or digitally constituted heritage objects, spaces and interactions and the environments in which this research takes place.

The conference brings together established and early career academics, students, practitioners and policy makers from fields as diverse as museology, heritage studies, digital humanities, social anthropology, sociology, geography, education, history, archaeology, material culture studies, design, communication studies, cultural studies, media studies and computer science, who are interested in reflecting critically on research practices in digital cultural heritage.

Ancient Identities at the Conference

  • Dr Chiara Bonacchi and Marta Krzyzanska presented the text mining and topic modelling methods for heritage on Facebook and Twitter on the pre-conference research training workshop on Wensday, 29th November.
  • Dr Chiara Bonacchi chaired a session on ‘Visual methodologies and digital cultural heritage’ on Thursday, 30 November.
  • Dr Chiara Bonacchi and Marta Krzyzanska presented a paper on the 30th November 2017:
The roles of heritage in political micro-activism on social media. An ethnographic approach

This paper presents results from an ethnographic study of the ways in which objects, places and practice from the past have been used in the context of political microactivism on social media. We will focus on articulating how ideas and materials from the Iron Age, Roman and Early Medieval periods have been called upon to shape ‘hoped for political identities’ (Marichal 2013) in relation to debates about borders and mobility, and regarding Brexit in particular. In addressing this topic, we have been examining how the ‘pasts’ under question are drawn upon in response to pressing contemporary challenges, as part of human activities that can potentially unfold across both on- and off-line fields of investigation (Hine 2015). We have approached social media as a research environment, but bearing in mind its limitations and bias and the nature of social media engagement as a social practice in its own right. In this talk, we will introduce the overall theoretical framework at the basis of our methodology as well as the specific methods that we have been leveraging. These include data-intensive techniques such as text mining, topic modelling and sentiment analysis as well as more qualitative explorations of the data. We will also discuss how we have been drawing on open source software and collaborative programming to create bespoke workflows to answer our research questions in ethical ways. Our conclusions will reflect on the utility of research designs that combine larger data-driven and smaller-data driven kinds of analysis.


Conference website

Conference program