The Northwest Digital Research Methods Festival: Researching the Digital/Researching Digitally


Wednesday 12th - Thursday 13th September 2018

South Campus Teaching Hub, 140 Chatham Street, University of Liverpool, L7 7BA


We live in increasingly digital worlds. Social, cultural, political and economic activity today is as likely to be played out online as it is offline and digital infrastructures are ever more central to the ways in which we collectively conduct ourselves and live our lives. This has had major implications for research.

On the one hand, researchers have had to reorient themselves to our new digital worlds and develop new methods and methodologies for coming to terms with them. At the same time, academic research is itself going digital too. Academics, as a result, are both producing innovative research into digital worlds but they are also devising and doing innovative forms of digital research in the process.

Whether that is by harnessing new tools and technologies to study familiar subjects from distinctive angles, engaging with data which was ‘born digital’ or making older information sources digital so they can be studied in new ways, all manner of analytical opportunities are currently being explored across the arts and humanities, social sciences and the rapidly developing field of data science in the advent of the digital turn.

Often, however, these two strands fail to connect: researching the digital is problematically separated off from researching digitally and each is treated in isolation.

The aim of the Northwest Digital Research Methods Festival is to bring these two strands back together and treat the digital as both a topic of inquiry – something to be studied – and a resource – a diverse set of technologies, tools and forms of data for studying our worlds with. Rather than look at methods in isolation, the aim of the festival is to show how research in the digital age opens up shared worlds, past, present and potentially future, for new explorations and the new set of challenges those developments present us with.

Running over two days, the festival will involve an eclectic mix of talks, workshops, displays, demonstrations, exhibits and hacks that will provide an overview of the issues, an advanced introduction to digital research and the innovative work being done within it as well as examples of the impact of the digital on political economy, understandings of history and heritage, art and culture, archives and the self as well as the practice of research itself.

Wide ranging, intellectually stimulating and drawing together some of the UK’s leading digital researchers for discussion and debate on the state of the art, this festival is for postgraduate and academic researchers working across arts and humanities, social science and data science disciplines as well as those who are interested in or working with digital research methods beyond academic institutions too.

The next Northwest Digital Research Methods Festival will take place in 2019