Digital Humanities scholars at UCC receive major IRC-AHRC grant

4 Aug 2021
Dr James O'Sullivan and Dr Órla Murphy, Department of Digital Humanities, University College Cork

Dr James O'Sullivan (Principal Investigator) and Dr Órla Murphy (Co-Investigator) from the Department of Digital Humanities (School of English & Digital Humanities) at UCC are to lead the Irish contribution to a new project, C21 Editions: Editing and Publishing in the Digital Age (IRC/W001489/1), collaboratively funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

C21 Editions is one of eleven new research projects that have been announced today by the IRC and AHRC that will see the UK and Ireland bring together world-leading expertise in the digital humanities. Michael Pidd (Principal Investigator), Director of the Digital Humanities Institute at the University of Sheffield, and Prof. Bridgette Wessels (Co-Investigator), professor in sociology at the University of Glasgow, will lead research activities in the UK. The approximate total value of the award across both the UK and Irish institutions is €650,000. The project, which begins this week, will last three years.

C21 Editions is seeking to explore and make a direct contribution to the future of digital scholarly editing and digital publishing. By engaging with experts and stakeholder groups, the project will establish the methods and principles for developing the scholarly digital editions of the future. Furthermore, it will demonstrate and support the realisation of such future editions by producing two high impact digital editions which demonstrate what might be achieved through state-of-the-art digital editing and publishing tools and practices. The project’s editions will be used to help develop and test existing and proposed theories and data standards used in digital scholarly editing and publishing. In essence, C21 Editions will operate as a response to Joris van Zundert, who calls on theorists and practitioners to "intensify the methodological discourse" necessary to "implement a form of hypertext that truly represents textual fluidity and text relations in a scholarly viable and computational tractable manner". He warns that, without that dialogue, "we relegate the raison d'etre for the digital scholarly edition to that of a mere medium shift, we limit its expressiveness to that of print text, and we fail to explore the computational potential for digital text representation, analysis and interaction."

Welcoming the joint awards, Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said:

"I am delighted to see these awards announced today, supported by the Irish Research Council. The ongoing partnership between the IRC and AHRC-UKRI will drive a step-change in the level of cooperation between these two islands in the growing field of digital humanities. The UK-Ireland digital humanities partnership is a timely reminder of both the appetite and the potential for UK-Ireland research collaboration, both ‘east-west’ and ‘north-south’. Maintaining and further building an international and a vibrant all-island higher education and research system is a key priority for government."

The complete list of awardees can be found on the IRC website:

About the Investigators

Michael Pidd (Principal Investigator, UK) is Director of the Digital Humanities Institute (DHI), University of Sheffield. He has research interests in edition building, data mining in the humanities, data modelling and ontologies.

Dr James O’Sullivan (Principal Investigator, Ireland) lectures in digital humanities at University College Cork. He has research interests in electronic literature, digital publishing, and computer-assisted criticism. He is the author of Towards a Digital Poetics (Palgrave 2019) and the editor of several scholarly texts on the digital humanities.

Prof. Bridgette Wessels (Co-Investigator, UK) is Professor of Social Inequalities, School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Glasgow. She has research interests in new digital media, technological change and methodological innovation, internet studies and inclusive design.

Dr Órla Murphy (Co-Investigator, Ireland) is Head of the Department of Digital Humanities at University College Cork. She has research interests in digital textualities, digital pedagogy, knowledge representation and the early medieval period.

For more on this story contact:

For more on UCC's contribution to C21 Editions, contact Dr James O'Sullivan:

Digital Humanities

Daonnachtaí Digiteacha

Room 2.22, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Ireland