Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Feb. 8, 2023, 6:36 a.m. Humanist 36.387 - pubs: the Congruence Engine project

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 387.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2023-02-07 14:39:59+00:00
        From: Richard Nicholls <richard.nicholls@SCIENCEMUSEUM.AC.UK>
        Subject: Science Museum Group Journal 18 (Congruence Engine)

Science Museum Group Journal Issue 18: Congruence Engine -

We start the year with a double-sized special issue showcasing the
Congruence Engine project (part of the Arts and Humanities Research
Council (AHRC) Towards a National Collection suite of discovery
projects) which explores how linking the nation’s collections using
digital tools can enable the development of new kinds of historical and
curatorial practice in industrial history. Like Congruence Engine itself
the issue is experimental, exploring new forms of writing, collaborative
authorship and article formats. Guest-edited by Tim Boon the project
lead, with Simon Popple and Nina Webb-Bourne, the 18 papers include
scene-setting pieces from academic leads in the history of textiles
(Will Ashworth) communications (Jon Agar) energy (Graeme Gooday) and
digital humanities (Jane Winters) ably supported by members of the
working groups for each project thread. There are also conversation
pieces where project collaborators come together to discuss key words
for the project (Arran Rees, Anna-Maria Sichani, Stefania Zardini
Lacedelli) and perspectives on community and forms of knowledge (Simon
Popple, Stefania Zardini Lacedelli, Arran Rees, Stuart Prior, Maggie
Smith). Some authors contribute their individual skill and perspective
(for example Tim Smith’s beautiful photographic essay on the
contemporary textiles industry, Paul Craddock’s film of an operating
piece of historic textiles machinery, Daniel Wilson’s discussion of
working with data at scale, John Stack and Jamie Unwin’s discussion of
the potential role of machine learning in the project, or Asa Calow’s
survey of its future potential). Others explore what it means to come
together within the project, for example how Historic England
preservation work finds parallels with the curatorial business of
acquiring big industrial objects (Wayne Cocroft and Ben Russell) or what
can be learned when curators of collections distributed across the UK
come together (Kylea Little, Felicity McWilliams and Ellie Swinbank).

The issue is headed by a discussion of the origins and potential of the
project by Tim Boon, and an editorial (by Helen Graham and Arran Rees)
which argues that it is the action research approach that creates the
heart and soul of the Congruence Engine. The issue is completed with a
review of the Living with Machines exhibition at Leeds City Museum
(Lauren Ryall-Waite) a short project manifesto (Alex Butterworth) and an
obituary of Cameron Tailford, the late young project member whose
contribution is very much missed.

Congruence Engine is supported by AHRC grant AH/W003244/1.

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