Digital humanities boost for the School of Advanced Study

Wednesday 12 November 2014

The University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS), has appointed its first chair in digital humanities. Professor Lorna Hughes joins SAS from her current post as University of Wales chair in digital collections and will take up her new position on 1 February 2015.

Professor Hughes, who is based in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, where she leads a research programme around the digital collections of Wales, said she is relishing the challenges of the job. ‘I am honoured to have this opportunity to play a part in promoting and championing digital humanities, and researching its emerging role in facilitating transformative research across the disciplines. I look forward to working with the distinguished scholars within the School, and building on their excellent work’.

Professor Hughes, a Glaswegian, has honed her expertise in the digital humanities in a number of roles in universities, including King’s College London, New York, Arizona State, Oxford and Glasgow. And currently, she is also in charge of several pioneering digitisation projects including the AHRC-funded The Snows of Yesteryear, which is a collaboration with climate scientists to digitally explore and disseminate archives and memories of extreme weather events in Wales.

Welcoming the appointment, Professor Roger Kain CBE, FBA, Dean and Chief Executive of SAS, said the digital humanities are essential to the School’s mission to promote and support research nationally and internationally.

‘The School of Advanced Study strives to be an accessible, publically engaged organisation determined to champion debates fundamental to humanities research, such as those relating to open access and other digital humanities innovations,’ said Professor Kain.

‘The chair in digital humanities is key to achieving this and I am delighted to welcome Lorna to the team. She brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to this new position. We anticipate she will be instrumental in promoting digital humanities activities across the School and central University of London, and contribute to the School’s involvement in the transition to open access, which will be of benefit to the national scholarly community’.

Professor Hughes is managing and commissioning editor of the Ashgate series, Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities and has published extensively on digital collections and digital humanities. Recent publications include Digital Collections: Use, Value and Impact, Virtual Representations of the Past and Digitizing Collections: Strategic Issues for the Information Manager.

Professor Barry Smith, AHRC Leadership Fellow for Science in Culture and pro-dean of central academic initiatives said, 'There is an urgent need for strategic thinking in the emerging field of digital humanities, and this is what Lorna will provide. She will help to lead and develop discussions on this transformative new subject area, nationally and internationally.’

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Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8653 / Images available on request.

2. The School of Advanced Study, University of London (SAS) is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2012-13, SAS: welcomed 833 research fellows and associates; held 2,231 research dissemination events; received 21.7 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 194,529 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews

3. Professor Lorna M. Hughes is currently the University of Wales Chair in Digital Collections, based at the National Library of Wales where she runs a research programme that deploys the critical and theoretical framework of digital humanities to develop innovative approaches to using digital content for research, teaching, and public engagement. She is also a senior research fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and chair and (UK representative) on the ESF Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities. Professor Hughes has published extensively on digital collections and digital humanities and recently led a JISC-funded mass digitisation initiative The Welsh Experience of the First World War. Professor Hughes has worked in digital humanities at King’s College London, New York, Arizona State and Oxford University.

4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. It consists of 18 self-governing Colleges of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at