Association launches inaugural cohort of Community Interest Groups

The UK-Ireland Digital Humanities Association is excited to announce the launch its first cohort of five Community Interest Groups. These groups will serve as one of the primary vehicles for community building within the Association and will help the Association become more inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable by providing spaces that respond to community needs.

The Community Interest Groups are flexible and bottom-up organisations that can emerge, transform and disband as priorities change within the field. There is no limit to the number of people who can participate in a group and their form and processes will be tailored to meet the needs of the specific community they serve. It is expected that they will run for at least 18 months in the first instance, with the opportunity to continue beyond that if the members would like it to.

The impressive range of groups serves as testament to the vibrancy of the digital humanities community in Ireland and the UK. The five groups that comprise this initial cohort include ones focused on developing communities of practice, exploring particular research questions, and addressing compelling environmental or ethical issues with digital research. They include robust representation from practitioners in both countries and each group responds to a clear need in the digital humanities community.

Jennifer Edmond, Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin and a member of the Association Collective, reflects on the importance of the diverse interests represented by the groups, “We never wanted to create an Association that would be seen as an arbiter of who should define or have access to the digital humanities. It’s the variety of perspectives and approaches between our countries and subfields that is our greatest strength. This is why the Community Interest Groups are such an important part of our approach, empowering members of the community to organise and drive the conversation that will underpin the supports we will provide.”

Each group has proposed a programme of activities to engage and serve their particular community. Some groups plan to produce research that can inform national policy on issues such as the environmental impact of digital research or on Research Software Engineering careers. Others are focused on producing events that strengthen or expand existing research networks in multilingual research and the use of correspondence collections. Other groups hope to produce ‘good practice’ guidance for researchers working in the field, with a particular focus on those working with traumatic collections.

In reflecting on the range of activities proposed by the groups, Jane Winters, Professor of Digital Humanities at the School of Advanced Study and a member of the Association Collective said, “The range of the new groups – from specific areas of enquiry to systemic issues facing DH researchers and on to wider societal issues where DH has an important voice – is a clear demonstration of the vibrancy and importance of DH in our countries.”

If you’d like to learn more about a particular group and how you can get involved, register for the Association’s upcoming Annual Event on 29-20 June 2023. There you will have the opportunity to hear from each group and find out how you can get involved with their work.

The full list of Community Interest Groups is below. Learn more about the work of each group by visiting the Community Interest Group page on the Association’s website.

Community Interest Groups

Research Software Engineering in the Arts and Humanities

Coordinators: Stavros Angelis (Maynooth University), David Beavan (Alan Turing Institute), Kathryn Cassidy (Digital Repository of Ireland), Mary Chester-Kadwell (Cambridge University), and Anna-Maria Sichani (School of Advanced Study)

Contact the group by emailing

The Research Software Engineering in the Arts and Humanities Community interest group aims to offer a forum for the Research Software Engineering (RSE) community working and collaborating in Arts and Humanities across UK and Ireland for more focused discussion, expertise and knowledge exchange, action, advocacy and policy making towards the development of AH RSE capability.

The CIG recognises that AH RSEs belong to the broad category of Research Technology Professionals which UKRI acknowledges are key to the delivery of high quality research. It aims to work in alignment with the UK RSE Society and other relevant national initiatives in the UK and Ireland such as the Software Sustainability Institute and the Society of Research Software Engineers.

Digital Humanities Climate Coalition

Coordinators: James Baker (University of Southampton), Christopher Ohge (School of Advanced Study), Lisa Otty (University of Edinburgh), and Jo Walton (University of Sussex)

Contact the group by emailing

The Digital Humanities Climate Coalition focuses on understanding and minimising the environmental impact of DH research. In response to the ongoing climate emergency, and considering its wider climate justice implications. We aim to: develop a clearer picture of the resource implications of digital humanities research; create resources that help researchers to make informed decisions about the impact of their work; support our institutions to adapt the services, processes, policies on which our research depends; influence funders and other key players to ensure climate responsibility is a key consideration in project planning. In 2022, the DHCC published ‘A Researcher Guide to Writing a Climate Justice-Oriented Data Management Plan’ and the Digital Humanities Climate Coalition Toolkit, which collects resources to support researchers in trying to lower their carbon footprint and resource use.

The DHCC Community Interest Group supports these aims by holding workshops, events and a discussion forum to explore the environmental aspects of DH research practice.  Through these community-led conversations the CIG will identify appropriate activities and support short term working groups to expand the toolkit and develop complementary materials, raise awareness of the need for climate conscious research practices, and build up a knowledge base of relevant resources for the Association’s wider membership. We aim to be as open and inclusive a community group as possible, and we welcome contact from anyone with an interest in our activities.

Digital Correspondence: transhistorical perspectives on language, materials and corpora

Coordinators: Mel Evans (University of Leeds), Rachele De Felice (Open University) and Helen Newsome (University College Dublin)

Contact the group by emailing

Correspondence, both historical and contemporary, provides a window on human interactions, our personal experiences and social lives. This group explores the linguistic and material facets of correspondence, broadly defined, to understand more about communication practices across the centuries. We focus not only on what was written, and by who, but also how these texts create meaning. We welcome explorations of correspondence from across the centuries and in diverse media (handwriting, print, digital) and evaluate what language analysis can tell us: what are the trends, the themes, the shared concerns over time? How are language resources used to convey identity, construct relationships, and achieve aims and objectives, spanning the personal and the political?

Digital tools are at the heart of our explorations. Corpus collections, including letters, print epistles, emails, and text messages, have transformed our ability to describe and interpret this text type. We explore how our data and its digitization enables or impedes our ability to research effectively. Key themes for discussion and potential development include the factors shaping the availability of correspondence data and how to accommodate that in the creation of correspondence corpora; the capacity to format and capture linguistic and other semiotic modes efficiently, transparently and accessibly; and the areas of interest that digital investigations, in particular, can open up for those working with correspondence across academia, cultural heritage organisations, archives and education.

Multilingual DH in the UK and Ireland

Coordinators: Pedro Nilsson-Fernàndez (University College Cork), Paul Spence (King’s College London), and Naomi Wells (School of Advanced Study)

Contact the group by emailing

The Multilingual DH CIG seeks to foster and expand multilingual digital research and practices within the UK and Ireland’s community of digital humanities researchers and related practitioners. In doing so, it aims to better recognize and value the multilingual composition and expertise of this community, and to more explicitly address the anglophone assumptions that dominate our digital research and practices. While foregrounding the research and sociocultural contexts of the UK and Ireland, the group seeks to work in collaboration with international initiatives to foster more language-inclusive research and digital infrastructures, and to raise awareness of the ways language intersects with other forms of exclusion in our field and in wider society. It will also provide a vital forum for multilingual researchers in the UK and Ireland to discuss the challenges and issues they face in their work, and to work with practitioners in areas such as academic publishing, libraries and archives, and research software engineering to better support multilingual digital research and practices.

Protecting the Investigator in Traumatic Research Areas

Coordinators: Vicky Garnett (Trinity College Dublin/DARIAH-EU) and Kristen Schuster (King’s College London)

Contact the group by emailing

The ‘Protecting the Investigator in Traumatic Research Areas’ working group (PETRA) focuses on the development, dissemination and adoption of universal best practice guidelines to support researchers working in areas of Digital Humanities where there is potential for secondary trauma, such as (but not limited to) genocide studies, issues around hate-crimes, and historical or contemporary discrimination or persecution. Over an 18-month period, the working group aims to facilitate collaborative strategies for ethical and introspective research with colleagues across a range of disciplines and sectors in the UK and Ireland that engage in DH work and research (e.g. spatial humanities, text editing, digital editions, minimal computing etc.). This will also include a range of collections managers, curators and data managers working across GLAM organisations such as archives, special collections and museums. As a community interest group, we will review current practices in place to address mental health needs among researchers and practitioners at all career levels, and identify any gaps in the sector regarding knowledge of the phenomenon among those that may be impacted by it. We will achieve this through a combination of desk research, consultation exercises, and a workshop where researchers and practitioners can share experiences and strategies for working in fields where secondary trauma is a possibility. Ultimately, our aim is to determine a set of Best Practice Guidelines that can be made available and disseminated among those working in DH in the UK and Ireland, with a further option for developing training resources to support their adoption and implementation.