Knowledge Machines: The Potential of the Digital

Symposium on alternative practices in humanities research


A collaboration between the TEEME programme affiliated with the University of Kent and Coventry University’s Centre for Disruptive Media, this 1-day symposium and workshop on alternative digital practices in the humanities will be divided into three major themes: the digital humanities, posthumanities, and collaborative humanities. What binds the day together is a focus on the way we do scholarship, and how new digital tools and methodologies are changing research practices.

The day starts with three keynote speakers introducing the themes. The second part of the day consists of a selection of practical showcases, which map onto the themes presented in the morning. These showcases are predominantly focused on postdoctoral and early career researchers and have a ‘hands-on’ mentality and interactive approach. A variety of practical research projects will be presented during the showcases, as part of which the participants can try out relevant tools and technologies and can engage in a discussion on their benefits and uses for their own research.

The themes

Digital humanities

Many experiments with alternative forms of scholarly communication have arisen from what has become known as the digital humanities, which has been defined as ‘not a unified field but an array of convergent practices’ (Presner and Schnapp, 2009). Digital humanists use digital tools, technologies and media as well as computational methods to supplement current research methods, whilst discussing how digital media and technology changes the way we do research.


This strand of thinking focuses on the need to explore how as theorists, scholars and practitioners we can perform our work, roles, institutions and practices differently. This to examine more thoroughly, instead of taking for granted, the way that we produce, disseminate and consume scholarly knowledge. But also to analyse the potential implications of the digital for our ideas of the text, the book, authorship, originality and fixity, as well as for the humanist legacy still underlying most of our (digital) humanities work.

Collaborative humanities

Digital tools, technologies and media can be seen to stimulate interdisciplinary collaborative work, including collaborations with non-academic partners such as cultural institutions (i.e. publishers, libraries and archives, museums, theatres, etc.) in an endeavour to disseminate research to a wider audience, to produce knowledge in a collaborative cultural and scholarly setting, as well as to closely align scholarly aims to societal and cultural need

Knowledge Machines ~ School of English ~ © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 21/08/2014

Photos by Darrel Birkett