Art students, an archaeology store, and some cool technologies

This post originally appeared in the Basing House: Community, Archaeology & Technology (CAT) Project blog:

Photos Acknowledgements: All of the photos in this post were taken by Alick Cotterill, so a big thank-you to him for letting us include them in this post. 

Touring (*a small part of*) the Archaeology Collection stores

Last week I travelled up to the Hampshire County Council Museums Service Headquarters in Winchester to meet with a fab bunch of people. The Winchester School of Art staff and students had come to visit the Basing House archaeology collection, housed partly at the Winchester site and partly at Basing House, in order to learn about some new technologies.

We were planning to try to out pieces of kit for recording the artefacts from Basing House.

The day was a continuation from a project that we have been working on with Winchester School of Art to identify collaborations and opportunities for Archaeology and Art students by working together. We’ve been sharing skills, swapping data, and generally getting to know one another for a few months, and you can see what we’ve been up to over on the Archaeological Computing Research Group blog.

Archaeology PhD students spend the day at the Winchester School of Art print workshop:

Art students spend the day at the Archaeology Department’s Archaeological Computing Laboratory (now the Digital Humanities Distributed Laboratory) finding out about 3D technologies:

Highlight RTI

The first is a set of equipment that I have been using for a year or so as part of a project to record graveyard and cemetery headstones and church memorials with local history groups. The technology is called Highlight Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or Highlight RTI for short, and is a form of computational photography which allows you to take a series of photographs of an object and then compile them together into an interactive file where the light source can be manipulated in order to get better views of the object you’ve recorded. The project I’ve been working on has a blog here, where you can read all about what RTI is and how it works.

OuRTI project blog:

Here is an RTI that we made during the visit. This stone is not from Basing House, but was found at Manor Farm, Chalton and was found ‘under the lawn near the well’. Manor Farm has links back as far as the 13th century, although the provenance of this stone grafitti has not been confirmed.

An RTI from the day
An RTI from the day


The other technology is something that I haven’t had a chance to try out yet. Although we have similar equipment in the Archaeology Department, Winchester School of Art have recently procured a ZScanner. This is a fantastic piece of kit is a small handheld laser scanner that allows you to easily record a 3D record of an object in realtime. Here’s a picture of the ZScanner in action:

I haven’t seen the final results of the scans that the teams did on the day, but the real-time data that I saw on the laptop screen while they were trying the scanner out looked awesome. You really can just watch the object appear out of nowhere, with no yukky data processing before you get to see any results. The ZScanner really does promise to make recording objects in 3D a quick and easy task.

Here are some of Alick’s great ‘work in progress’ photos of the ZScanner in action:

Using the ZScanner to record one of the Basing House corbels.
The ZScanner in action


The students also sketched some objects from the collection, and I am really looking forward to seeing the results from their work. I think that they are going to be on display at the WSA World Book Day event, so if you can go along to that then I highly recommend it.

Sketching in the Archaeology Store

World Book Day Event

The event is on the 7th March, from 12-4pm, in the Rotunda on the campus of Winchester School of Art, and will include Skill Sharing, Stalls, Installation Events, and Cakes, as well as Multiples, Zines, Prints, Casts and Books on show and/or for exchange or sale.

Next Steps

There is obviously a lot of potential for the use of the above three methods for the recording of objects relating to Basing House, but also I think for the sharing of those objects. I’d like to investigate how the records of these objects can now be shared, so if you’d like to get involved in this, please do get in contact.


Urban Variation Conference

Last week Gareth and I travelled to Gothenburg in Sweden to present at the Urban Variation conference.  The conference website is here:  The conference was organised by the Early Modern Town Project team (find the University of Gothenburg project website, here; and was attended by a multidisciplinary crowd of academics and professionals.

We met people interested in a huge variety of approaches to the Early Modern town. Topics presented included: the architectural traditions of city development, the spreading of language across countries through urban environments, the use of surveying to better understand the make-up of the city, and the relationship between the structure of a city and economical and socio-cultural factors.  There was much food for thought over the three days, particularly as we are planning an excavation at an Early Modern site ourselves this summer!

Our Presentation

We were at the conference to talk about the Re-imagining the British Memorial Project, an initiative to develop training methodologies for local history groups wishing to use new technologies to record church memorials. You can read more about the project here:

The Technology Session

The conference organisers had placed our presentation in a day-long session that explored how technology could contribute to the study of the early modern town, and there were some fascinating talks covering other technologies.  I won’t describe them all here, as there is going to be a publication available soon, but you can read through the abstracts here:

Presentations in the session included a project using a motion-sensing Microsoft Kinect alongside open source to create a reconstruction of a church interior, a description of the challenges faced by geophysical prospection in urban environments in Sweden, the use of RTI to record graffiti on Swedish churches with a view to creating a comprehensive database of transcriptions, and the use of Unity for exploring the historiography of the interpretation and records of an archaeological site through a 3D reconstruction.

Gareth stands behind a table in a lecture room. In front of him is a camera on a tripod. The camera is set up to take a R.T.I. and so there is also a flash gun, a pool ball and a remote control on the table.
Gareth explaining the mechanics of the RTI set-up.

Highlight RTI Workshop

In the afternoon, Gareth and I ran a workshop on using Highlight RTI to record details of structures in the urban environment.  We showed examples of related RTIs and had a troubleshooting Q&A for those planning to use the technique for their own research.

Thank-you to the Early Modern Town Project

The trip was fantastic and we’d like to extend a huge thank-you to the Early Modern Town Project who made the visit possible.

Follow the Project

The Early Modern Town Project is planning to develop a communication network based on the initial conference, so do visit their website to keep up to date with further work:


This blog post is available also on the ACRG website:

New paper: World Archaeology

My paper all about the possibilities of open data for institutionally implemented community archaeology projects is now available in the Open Archaeology special issue of World Archaeology, edited by Mark Lake.

All the papers in this issue are temporarily open access (6 months), so please do go and get them before they’re behind a pay wall.

Posted from WordPress for Android, whilst out and about adventuring in the wilds.

#DE2012 Session 3B: Network Analysis

I tweeted this session, see below:

Peter Laflin (Alexander V. Mantzaris, Desmond Higham, Peter Grindrod, Fiona Ainley, Amanda Otley): Twitter’s Big Hitters

@systemspeter of @bloomagency talking about the #de2012 tweets at #de2012. Exposure to tweets. Top tweeters.
We’re on @systemspeter‘s screen at #de2012. Does this mean we’re famous, @graemeearl?
@OMcGee82 @DrPhilipEly @clareclare18 I just got made into a node in front of everyone… feeling very two-dimensional right now.
@systemspeter‘s presentation from #de2012 is here: … Thanks for sharing!
MT: @DrPhilipEly  of Nan Lin’s work #de2012 on network theory of social capital <– Just looked; That IS useful. Thanks!
RT @BloomAgency: For all those interested in #de2012, more information about our talk and our presentation is available here 
RT: @GraemeEarl: A: #de2012 correlation influence + meaning spreading requires further debate < e.g at #websci13 see CfP 
Interesting to compare @systemspeter‘s visualisations of influencers in twitter at #de2012 with #leaderboarded results 

Michael Yip (Nigel Shadbolt, Thanassis Tiropanis, Craig Webber): The Digital Underground Economy. A Social Network Approach to Understanding Cybercrime

@michael_yip is talking about the world of #cybercrime at #de2012, and what #SNA#socialnetworkanalysis – can offer. Better to use more.
@michael_yip on #cybercrime at #de2012 uses social psychology, criminology, network science to understand activities and relationships.
@michael_yip on #cybercrime at #de2012. Some real insights here. Looking at conversations in #cardingforums. Pulling out theme of regret.
@michael_yip on #cybercrime at #de2012. Some quotes on individuals’ justification of deviancy and the communities’ moral boundaries.
@michael_yip on #cybercrime at #de2012, gives a great example of some qualitative analysis on forum data.
@michael_yip on #cybercrime at #de2012 findings: NOT a scale free network. Rich club phenomenon doesnt exist.
@michael_yip on #cybercrime at #de2012. Find him at … Next stage: Can we predict/model these network behaviours?
We’ve added the links to @michael_yip & the rest of the #unisouthampton #de2012 gang at: … Inc. presentations & posters.

James Goulding (Gavin Smith, Duncan Barrack): Neo-Demographics and Distributions in the Digital Shadow

James Goulding #de2012 The #digitalshadow, Faced w huge data substrate passively being created abt us. Think #OysterCard, #BankTransactions.
James Goulding #de2012 – In Human Behaviour data is our atoms. The scale & the shape of the data has changed. Different to Scientific data.
JamesGoulding neo-demograpics #de2012. Heavy long fat tail. No normal gaussian distributions (I don’t know what that is, but sounds good!).

HighWireDTC helps with iRTI at #de2012

The HighWire team from Lancaster University, who are here at #de2012 have a stall, which amongst other great goodies is giving away red bouncy balls as a promotional idea.  We’ve just discovered (thanks to @graemeearl for the idea) that these balls are shiny enough to make a hack iRTI, using a camera phone and a flash from an additional phone.

Here’s the (acted only) proof:

The HighWireDTC team patiently helping us to demonstrate RTI using an iPhone and a bouncy ball. Thanks guys!

BIG THANKS to the @HighWireDTC team for this photo!

You can find out more about the doctoral training centre here:

The student-run site is here:

You can find out how to do your own iPhone (other smartphones are available) RTI here:

Digital Futures – Day 2

Ramine Tinati (Les Carr, Susan Halford, Catherine Pope): Exploring the Impact of Adopting Open Data in the UK Government

How is the web growing? Can we apply models to this to understand how the web is growing?

The web as a network of networks.

Looking at the UK Govt Open Data Community.

Consists of multistakeholders (govt, academics, civic society, lobbyists, developers, citizens). Active both online and offline.

What Ramine is doing:

How is the community established? how is it developing? what are the implications for adopting Open Data in the UK?

Mix of quanitative and qualitative data: including: interviews, harvesting data, etc.

There were previous open data, open source, open knowledge communities; Academic research groups involved in Web Technologies and Knoweldge Representation; Civic Society involved in transparency; Public Sector Information committees in Government.

Ramine talked about the structure of the Open Government Data community. National level, regional level, local councils and authority stakeholders. And there are movements joining these. Such as the Open Govt Data Blog.

Open Data Communities have been active since 2009. Growth since then.

National level impacts:

  • Cabinet Office Transparency Board
  • National Datastore (
  • New Open Government Data License
  • Mobile apps and web services breaking down barriers between people and Government.

It looks from the slides Ramine is showing that all of the above have been increasing since 2009.

City and council level impacts:

  • data portals being developed (examples of Greater Manchesters, Kent, Warwickshire, London)
  • cost benefits to the LAs.Resulting in less FOI requests, and reduction in internal depatment costs.
  • general change within the LAs. 25% of UK councils are Open Data councils, using Open Government License.

Impacts on other communities:

  • Open Data Institute
  • mobile apps development
  • data journalism increase


Very little of the Open Data is published as 5 star data. Less than 1%!

Data needs to be of value.

[That word keeps coming up here at DE2012.]

Bridging the gap between government actions and citizen knowledge.

Needs to be sustainable: Socially, technically, economically.

Poster Lightning Talks

Dickinsons: 6th Senese Transport. Visualising Network Opportunities to Enable Fluid Tourism Destination Travel.

Tony Stockman: Using Low-cost devices to support non-visual interaction with diagrams.

Allowing visually impaired people use a haptic device to interact with a diagram software. But very expensive. Looking for an alternative, the team compared a falcon device (the hand-pen tool) with a Wacom pad.

Ruth Aylett: Heriott Watt University. Protoyping 3D smart textile surfaces for pervasive computing environment.

Interactive dance environmnet with smart costumes. Using a 3D printer to make thermochromic dyes in shoulder pads. 3D surfaces that can change colour, reacting differentially depending on the light on them. Now working on an environment which will allow you to coreograph the effects on the textile.

Caroline Leygue: Horizon, Nottingham: Changing energy Use Habits Through Implementation Intentions

Used mobile phones to monitor and change peoples energy use habits. To postpone energy to off-peak times. Two groups. 35 participants. The intentions technique made poeple specify how, when and where people were going to use things at off peak times. And the second group just said they were going to use off-peak times. The first group made a change.

 Mark Davies: Nottingham: The Rural Digital Economy: the local market as an arena for digital economic consideration and design. 

Developing an IT intervention.  Doing initial ethnographic work.  Plan is to develop an online market portal.  Designing systems in the wild with the users. Building a trusts relationship with the community, market organisers and stall holders.

Missed the name! Brunel (Horizon): Open Design meets Open Science

How can the design world interact with the making community?  Open design is a product where the design itself is open for anyone to use. But not everyone can be a designer of things (quotes Chris Anderson). So this research explores tools and techqniues so that a non-designer can participate in the design process. Citizen Science is a key.

Chris Phethean: Southampton: Measuring the Megaphone: How are charities using social meida for marketing?

What are charitable orgs doing on social media? But before you can measure something, you need to know what constitutes success. So this poster covers how orgs are using social media. And what the tools are that are being used. Triangulating what they think they’re doing, with what they’re actually doing on social media. The measurements are based on a framework of metrics that Chris is making. i.e. likes on Facebook. But this isn’t enough. So what metrics can provide an accurate measurement of engagment from a compaign. And of course the nature of the organsiation will affect the base line.

Will Fyson: Southampton: Dissemination through Disintermediation

Affect of the web on scholarly publishing. But there are still paper articles being shifted round (but as PDFs). Alot of scientific output isn’t covered by the academic peer-review journal system.  But there are issues to consider such as knowledge sharing being very time consuming, and IP theft. The poster looks at what we can do to look at these concerns.

Phil Waddell: Southampton: The role of the web in the formation of political activists.

Going to look at how web technologies are being used in a live contest by going to protests.  This uses qualitative methods, not just the more conventional apparoach of analysing the quantative data post-event. Aim is the identify what kinds of things are useful to get a sense of the global network of activists that are forming online. e.g. how can social media create instances of solidarity during a protest between people at the protest, and people in a different country?

Personal Containers Project

Connecting your web histories. Now collecting data in houses.

Name? Aberdeen: Towards an Ecosystem for Social Computation on the Web.

Using data. Provenance, policy, quality, linked to data, trust and reputation, workflow, surrounded by user, services, and crowd.

Eleonora Oreggia: Queen Mary and BBC: Touch-controlled panoramic video stremaing for film directing.

Stageview: A 360 degree view to support the interaction between film director and camera operator. Allows for remote direction. A film director can therefore be in a separate city, and instead of just seeing a frame, the director can see all around. ‘Sterams from a Linux system to an iPad. Unwrapping the image to a rectangle.

Aberdeen: WiSE: Wireless Internet Sensing Environment.

Camera traps to record wild animals. Based on sensors for movement. The data is retrospective, the researcher goes onto tthe site to collect the data. Often triggers wrongly. The idea is to develop a way to record stuff in the environment using a digital sensing platform – for internet enabled remote moitoring. This could be used for environment monitoring generally.  Could also then be available for the public to see.

A. Sathiaseelan: Cambridge: PAWS: Public Access WiFi Service

Digital inclusion is a problem. People need access to the internet. There are lots of initiatives to provide superfast broadband connections. But there are infrastructural barriers.  And socio-economic barriers. Why: Can’t afford it, can’t access it (i.e. don’t know how), see no use for it.  This addresses access to essential public services. The solution involves multistakeholders.

End of session. Phew!

Digital Futures 2012 – Day 1

Digital Futures 2012

Tweeting Note: I’ve stopped tweeting during the papers as there is a screen underneath the speakers showing all of the #de2012 hashtag tweets, which I’m finding really distracting. So I’m afraid no more tweets from me during the papers, but I’ll try to tweet in the breaks, and will blog instead.

Tuesday 23rd October 2012


These are my scruffy notes from the first day at DE2012. I haven’t blogged the talks in detail, as all of the papers are available on the website, so you can read them there. What follows is merely my own notes on the parts of the conference that I have found most useful.

Keynote: Edward Cutrell: Innovating in India: Disruptive Technology for the Developing World

Edward Cutrell (@edcutrell) of Microsoft Research India, gave an interesting talk about some of the projects that the organisation has been involved in. I live tweeted from this one, so have copied the tweets in below:

@edcutrell of #microsoftresearchindia at #de2012 telling about evaluating prototypes for expanding communities and then scaling with orgs.
@edcutrell at #de2012: We go from technology to people then back to technology again. #CGNetSwara for #citizenjournalism sounds v. cool.
@edcutrell at #de2012. Alternative to #onelaptoponechild. Have multiple pointers for multiple users for one pc. For collaborative learning.
@edcutrell of #microsoftresearchindia at #de2012. Look up #MultiPoint for info on project. Continuum of sharing: i.e. split screens.
@edcutrell at #de2012 now talking about micro finance self help groups in india. Creating digital records without moving away from paper.
@edcutrell #de2012 Trialled mapping a standardised form onto a tablet/digital slate. Uses audio validation. Improved accuracy & efficiency.
@edcutrell #de2012 Actually audio output proved very popular; Particularly for illiterate members. Paper copy still important bec tangible.
@edcutrell at #de2012 But slates are expensive… Cue Android phones.
@edcutrell #de2012 #CGNetSwara now: “Voice is the most important thing in the developing works right now.” Mobile internet not that common.
@edcutrell #de2012: How do you manage communicating via system where language literacy’s so mixed? 25% no literacy 25% Eng. 25% Other lang.
@edcutrell #de2012 A voice-based wiki for citizen journalism. Great oral histories! Transcribed online. But users don’t have web access.
@edcutrell #de2012 So I wonder does this voice wiki have a use for inadvertent political activism?
@edcutrell #de2012 Find this citizen journalism project:  Do you give people a voice if they can’t access the platform?
@edcutrell at #de2012: #ivrjunction is the platform for the system for citizen journalism. They’re looking for partners!
@edcutrell #de2012 Q&A now. On economic bus. models: Cutrell says there is no resistance to new tech. But additional work not appreciated.
@edcutrell #de2012 On justifying to stakeholders why R&D should happen. Unanticipated devs of course!
Ditto! MT:@PaulWatsonNcl: #de2012 Enjoyed @EdCutrell talk on MSR India.Exploiting low-tech solns, integrating w. current customs & practice

Session 1B: Tales of Engagement

Maria Angela Ferrario (Jon Whittle, Erinma Ochu, Jen Southern, Ruth McNally): Beyond Research in the Wild: Citizen-Led Research as a Model for Innovation in the Digital Economy


Team use PROTEE project management approach.

Sprint teams has same core panel members, but bring in others from the wider #CATALYSTAS network. Impressive NodesXL visualisation of the network on Twitter.

The team ask for submissions from organisations who would like a Sprint event to create something that is easy to make but deals with a difficult issue. Organisations do not need to submit a complication proposal, only a paragraph is needed. The panel selects a project to carry out. The team have completed seven projects, only one wasn’t suggested by this method.

Patchworks with Signposts

Example or an organisation supporting homeless people in Lancaster, called Signposts.

The project used RFIDs and Thermo Mini Printer to create a printer of timetables for visitors to Signposts.

Find it

The project is extended very soon in MOSI, Manchester in the form of a treasure hunt using RFID tags that explores the difficulties in locating resources that homeless people encounter. Look on the MOSI website for ‘#Pat Goes Wild’. See also #Patchworks


Marianne Dee on Tales of Technology

@SiDEResearch – has drop in centre in Dundee. With a focus on access to technology. Has a research pool of 800 users and 40 organisations to take part in research. Great for user perspectives.

The Tales of Technology project collected positive stories about use of technologies. The stories were recorded from a call out to all 800 users via email and newsletter.  Many responded by email, some by post. 80 respondents. Many felt that their use of technologies was not notable, but it became clear during the recorded interviews that there were lots of unexpected brilliant positive stories.

Marianne told two great stories. Adam was interested in genealogy so searched for people who shared his surname through the internet and then emailed them all. Over a period of time he communicated with relations in lots of different countries and then via email invited 70 people to Scotland to visit their ancestral home. The visitors had a big impact on the local economy.

Marianne also told a great story about a lady who lost her husband who left a large collection of books. She decided to sell the books on Amazon (having decided that eBay was too complicated to use). Following her success, she started to buy books in secondhand and charity shops to sell through Amazon. She has never bought a single thing on Amazon, but has sold thousands of books.

The videos have been transcribed and have subtitles.

Questions to consider

How does the project fit into social mobility?

Access to community groups?

Is there a model here for sharing stories and for giving training to people for using technologies?

Favourite Idea

The stories will be linked to information about the technologies mentioned in the videos, therefore providing a way to join up technologies with user experiences.

Digital Storytelling Model – and how to craft these.

Find it

They’re on YouTube, and then project has a website currently at: But soon to be at


Olga Fernholz: Innovation for Today While Innovating for Tomorrow. Perspectives on Building Ambidextrous Organisation

HORIZON, Nottingham.

Innovative Management

Olga talked about one of her case studies: Ordnance Survey. Olga interviewed 5 managers at OS, interested in the Agency of Leaders.

Innovative Ambidexterity:

Exploitation Exploration
Products Processes
Manipulating existing technologies/skills Shifting to new technologies/skills
OSMasterMapOSVectorMap District Linked Data Web – GeoVationOpen Data

Favourite Idea

Are exploitation and exploration mutually exclusive?

Connected Digital Economy Catapult Information Session

I attended the lunchtime briefing on the DE catapult for Connected Digital Economy. It was really interesting to hear about this scheme. I haven’t written notes as I found this pretty comprehensive record of the scheme elsewhere:

Workshop 5 (WS5): Harnessing the Power of Storytelling in the Digital Economy

Stephann Makri: Storytelling in Research

Identifying serendipity through storytelling. Carried out critical incident interviews as storytelling for data collection.

Interviewing techniques for conversational approaches to encouraging storytelling.  Stephann would summarise the story, email it to the participant, who could amend the record if they chose to do so.

How do we summarise? This is the data analysis part. By identifying patterns in the circumstances:

  1. Unexpected circumstances
  2. Insight (lightbulb moment)
  3. Valuable and unanticipated outcome

Presenting data: Multiple options: YouTube stories, narrated stories, illustrated stories, radio stories, poster stories. And finally, exploiting findings through drama.

Favourite Idea

Reflecting on stories, to reveal a metalayer on serendipity as a phenomenon.

Find it


Ruth Aylett

Heriott Watt University & SAGE

Persuasion: education can be about attitudes and behaviour as well as knowledge.  In schools, this takes the form of PSHE. In adults, this could be education of health.

Storytelling as a narrative loop. The loop is important. Linking events emotionally.

World state changes, causes Actions causes Affective Change, causes Events causes World state changes.

Persuasion is all about affective change. But there is a disconnect between story and reality.

One way to do this is to use role play. Experiential learning. Need a facilitator. Development of perspective taking. Thinking differently about points of view. Creation of empathy is essential. It won’t work if it is too predictable, or if it is too formulaic, or if the immersion is broken.

Sense of presence:

  • Summon up visualisation
  • Events fitting with logic of world
  • Challenges for user
  • Characters for feeling of social presence – it matters what you do; actions impact on characters. There are consequences.

You have to care about the digital character. Emotional involvement fostering.

Davis, 1994: Empathy is Cognitive (knowing) / Affective (experiencing).

Ruth gave the example of the FearNot project (virtual exploration of bullying for 9-11 year olds) and ORIENT project (Wii remotes on a large screen).

FearNot Project

Empathic agents – influencing behaviours.

Check out the RIDERS,, the next event is at QMUL.

Discussion Group

We split into groups to discuss how we used storytelling in our own research. Our group came up with the following uses that take place:

  1. Processes
  2. Inputs
  3. Outputs

And under these headings, we used storytelling for:

  • Reflection
  • Teaching
  • Communication of Work
  • Justification
  • Relationship Building
  • Story from Stories
  • Exploration
  • Different Audiences
  • Freeform

The other groups talked about:

  1. Validation of the story that you might tell. Cross-validation/triangulation from other sources.
  2. Mediating technologies to tell stories (tweets, photos, etc.).
  3. Different cultures for storytelling
  4. Different user groups – narrators, entrepreneurs, etc.

Colin Case

Colin facilitated an activity where we played the game Consequences, but using a conversation between a computer and a human. Then we discussed how collaborative storytelling occurs, in particular the role of chance and serendipity in this process.


We had a really good discussion at the end of the session for 15 minutes about the shift in focus from narrative to storytelling. Is this reflective of the shift in general? In museums, there is certainly much written about the shift from museum as knowledge producer, to the museum as a space/place/agent to facilitate knowledge production by/with audiences. E.g. User Generated Content.

Narrative is what you end up with when you combine:

  1. Story as collection
  2. Discourse is how it is expressed.

There is more of the author in storytelling than in narrative.

Passive Audience of… Active Participant in…
Engineered artefact Doing


What is the impact of storytelling?

Digital Economy Impact Panel Results

At the end of the day, I managed to get to the presentation on the results of the DE Impact Panel Review.  This has been the most thought provoking thing so far at #de2012 for me.

Paul Nightingale began the session.

Research to Practice takes time. We should get the research out there and ensure that VALUE is realised in society.

Haldane idea that Government doesn’t choose research may hold true, but impact will ensure funding from the Government.

Science Research Council, 1965: Achieving impact focus early on.

In the UK, DE is having a tangible impact on:

  • UK economy
  • UK society
  • UK research community


  1. DE – internationally excellent quality. UK research is in a leadership position.
  2. Quality of many of the students is ‘stella’. Beyond internationally excellent.
  3. Doesn’t neglect fundamental research because of applied focus.
  4. Was evidence of impact – but too early to assess.


Need to manage impact more strategically: Record, measure, communicate.

Some other thoughts from Paul Nightingale:

—  Monitoring process should be lightweight (when its going well!).

—  Cross portfolio networking

—  Academic research feeding into public policy debates is on Radio 4 all the time. Yet the average-spend on social sciences research for each UK resident is less than a gin and tonic worth per year.

—  Impact doesn’t happen at the end of a research project.

—  Early engagement is key.

Andrew Herbert then arrived and added the following thoughts:

—  Impact opportunistic. We’re not managing for it. There are no impact strategies. I.e. if you have a good idea, who do you tell? What/where do you go with it?

—  Too much digital, very little economy.

—  Define measurable desired long range target:

  • Goal to measure
  • You can see how you get there
  • Stages to get there (clear milestones with evaluation)

—  Link research and training strategies.

—  Business management and researchers needed. To think about:

  • IP
  • SWOT
  • Partner Relationships
  • Policy Input Development

— Attraction of critical mass is important

— Steering Boards with teeth as a model. Like an executive director. Keeping the PIs on track.

— Soft money is very important.

I’ve not been able to track down a digital copy of the report yet, but as soon as I do, I will put a link here.

Wednesday 24th October 2012

Today promises to be another interesting day, with poster presentations, a Dragons Den competition, and what look to be some great sessions. I will probably write up my notes for today on the train home tomorrow evening, so do look out for those here sometime on Thursday.

Lifelong Learning, Archaeology and the Web

My husband, Gareth Beale, and I designed a lifelong learning module at the end of last semester which we began teaching last week.  The course runs for 12 weeks and aims to give learners an introduction to the different skills that archaeologists use to research into the archaeology of a place/event/person/object.

The module is called Urban Archaeology.

Urban Archaeology Blog. Come join in the conversation!

I thought I’d share a few thoughts here, and I’ve try to write a couple of reflective reports as the course is taught.

The module is made up of ten topics, and has a case study of the local geographic area within which the university campus is based, as a way of focussing the implementation of the skills covered in each session.

We have a blog for the module that we are uploading materials from each session into at the end of each week.  So please do follow along if you are interested in seeing what we’re covering, and also in how the module is delivered:

The blog aims to augment the work that is done in class by reiterating any content that was taken to the lesson, but also by containing reflective write-ups from Gareth and me at the end of each session, plus any findings about the case study that were carried out by the learners during the class.

We’re really interested to see how the blog develops, and also I’d love to use the posts to create something tangible at the end of the module, to give to the learners.  I’m envisioning some sort of handbook, printed directly from the blog, which incorporates everything we covered, but more: e.g. additional resources online, further reading, and learners’ experiences.

Anyway, watch this space! No idea how its going to pan out, but as long as those enrolled on the module enjoy the experience, and we can share some of our lessons learned at the end of the semester, we’ll be very happy.