By Claire Warwick, on 5 March 2010
While going through some old DH documents I happened upon a summary I had written of the Town Meeting for UCLDH. I had a vague memory that it was some time in March last year, but by an extraordinary coincidence I found that the date of the meeting was March 5th 2009, in other words exactly a year ago today.
There are various ways you could date the beginning of UCLDH and in some ways we have still not officially begun, as we have not yet held our external launch event. But I see the Town Meeting as the effective start, since it was at that event that we realised quite how many people were interested in DH at UCL. There were around 100 people there from every faculty, from the Library and from Museums and Collections, and more were unable to come but emailed me about their interest. It became plain how much excitement there was about the whole area, and how much good will there was from senior management. So we knew that we just had to make this happen. And it has.
I find it hard to believe just how far we have come in a year. We have been funded by the Provost’s Strategic Fund, and so we have a centre with staff who belong to it. We have an executive, who support us in all things DH. We have new funded research projects such as the Bentham Transcription initiative and Humanities Information Practices Our first Digital Excursion to the UCL Petrie Museum is happening next Tuesday and the first meeting of the Decoding Digital Humanities group on the following one with many more to come in future. We are meeting new people with new ideas for research projects. We are giving talks at and making new links with organisations outside UCL, such as the British Library and the British Museum. We have had papers accepted at the Digital Humanities 2010 conference, at which Melissa will give a plenary lecture. We are planning a new Masters course. We are sponsoring external seminars. We are blogging and tweeting anything we can think of that might interest all of you. We are busier than we could have imagined possible, but all in a very good way. And I am hugely grateful to everyone whose hard work and support has made it possible.
We have a long way to go of course, and I hope that the next year will bring with it more exciting challenges that as yet we cannot conceive of. I can’t wait!
Oh and a year and a day ago I could not imagine signing this off as Claire Warwick, Director, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.