We need to inform and advance a national strategic blueprint for humanities, arts and culture research infrastructure – the platforms and investment needed to digitally preserve and share Australia’s vast social and cultural data enabling all Australians to easily access these resources for a wide range of social, cultural, economic, health, and environmental benefits.

In Australia and internationally, humanities, arts and culture (HAC) research and data curation, are at a pivotal juncture.

Digital and big data developments are transforming the possibilities for research into Australian society and culture, enabling unpreceded inquiry into our history and heritage, our place in the region, and the way we live now and into the future. Yet Australia’s unique social and cultural data and the source material required for research – such as artefacts, field notes, film, and oral recordings – are largely unconnected and locked away in individual projects, collections and institutions.

In order to make new discoveries that will transform our understanding of our cultures, identities, heritage and history, researchers require access to dispersed collections of qualitative and quantitative data and advanced tools to enable data-intensive research and analysis.

The National Research Infrastructure Roadmap

In addressing this issue, the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training released the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap in 2017. It defines ‘research infrastructure’ as the nationally significant assets, facilities and services available to support leading-edge research and innovation that is accessible to public and private users across Australia, and around the world (p. 1). The Roadmap identified the need for national-scale infrastructure for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) research to drive transformations in the way researchers discover, access, curate and analyse social and cultural data.

Our Academy led work, in collaboration with the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) and galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) colleagues, to outline a framework for Platforms for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences as part of the current National Research Infrastructure Roadmap and investment process.

In response to the 2018-19 Federal Budget, the the Academy welcomed the commitment to implementing the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan. The Plan directs investment in current and future platforms, assets and facilities as prioritised in the 2016 Research Infrastructure Roadmap.  

Humanities, Arts & Culture Data Summit

Save the date, 27-29 March 2019 Canberra
The second annual Humanities, Arts and Culture Data Summit and third international DARIAH Beyond Europe workshop will be held at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.
An Australia-Europe knowledge exchange, convened by the Academy with the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) and the European Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities initiative (DARIAH), this event will explore new horizons for data-driven humanities and arts research, digital cultural collections and research infrastructure.

In 2018, the Academy hosted the inaugural Humanities, Arts & Culture Data Summit in Canberra. For the first time in Australia, the summit bought together more than 100 delegates from universities, peak bodies, national cultural and collecting institutions, government departments, key projects and organisations, and National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) facilities to help frame a national HAC research infrastructure agenda.

See the Integrated Research Infrastructure for Humanities, Arts & Culture discussion paper that shaped proceedings.

An overview of the event’s themes and highlights is available online, signalling next steps and opportunities for improving frameworks for accessing, analysing and sharing Australia’s rich and vast HAC data collections. Highlights have been made on Twitter using #HACDS2018

Also available are select presentations from the inaugural summit:

Professor Linda Barwick FAHA (Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney) and Associate Professor Nick Thieberger (ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language), PARADISEC Developments 2003-18

Adam Bell (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies), Transforming the Archive: Digital preservation and access at AIATSIS

Professor Robyn Owens (University of Western Australia), National Research Data Cloud (NRDC) and Adjunct Professor Rob Cook (NRDC Reference Group), NRDC Future Design 

Alison Dellit (National Library of Australia), Trove: Aggregator Host Platform Community 

Professor Rachel Fensham (University of Melbourne), Research infrastructure for digital HASS at Melbourne: Research platforms, SCIP, and the Digital Studio

Professor Mark Finnane FASSA FAHA (Griffith University), The Prosecution Project: Investigating the criminal trial in Australian history

Andrew Gilbert (Bioplatforms Australia), National footprint, capability impact, and accessible infrastructure and data 

Dr John La Salle (Atlas of Living Australia), The Atlas of Living Australia 

Ingrid Mason (AARNet), Platforms for HASS

Dr Steve McEachern (Australian Data Archive), The Australian Data Archive as infrastructure for the HASS community

Roxanne Missingham (ANU), Data in the Humanities: Digital dancing

Jan Müller (National Film and Sound Archive), Platforms for HASS: CLARIAH – A case study

Professor Bert Roberts (ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage), A Time Machine for Australia?

Dr Merran Smith (Population Health Research Network), Experience and opportunities 

Professor Julian Thomas FAHA (RMIT), Linked Semantic Platforms for Social and Urban Policy and Practice

Further information

Please contact our Director, Policy and Research Dr Kylie Brass for further information.