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Prof. Karis Shearer, Director of the AMP Lab at UBC Okanagan, with Exeter intern Connor Spence

Exeter and University of British Columbia Extend Digital Humanities Partnership

The University of Exeter and the University of British Columbia have invested in an exciting new collaboration called “Press Play! Research Creation, Arts Entrepreneurship, and The Digital Archive.” Students at both universities will be funded to conduct research on digital resources produced at Exeter and UBC, and the program features a funded, two-week exchange to the partner university. The students’ task will then be to devise and stage a public-facing exhibition that invites meaningful engagement with digital archives from the larger community. Student projects will explore an aspect of digital archives, considering questions around issues like race, gender, sexuality, disability, or class to suggest new ways in which digital materials can support public engagement with these topics.

Professor Sally Faulkner, Associate Dean for International and Development for Exeter’s College of Humanities, said ‘I’m thrilled that this investment from Exeter and UBC Okanagan will enable our digital experts to develop this project. The expertise and resources at UBC Okanagan, particularly their outstanding AMP Lab, makes them a very natural partner for our activities here at Exeter. This project, which has funding for the next two years, will enable a wide range of Exeter and UBC undergraduate students to learn and conduct independent research at some of the best facilities in the world.’

Led by Profs. Karis Shearer and Emily Murphy at UBC Okanagan and Dr. Charlotte Tupman at Exeter, the project already has a strong foundation, with colleagues at Exeter’s Digital Humanities Lab and UBC Okanagan’s AMP Lab having worked together for some time. The Exeter-UBC Partnership Development Program, established in June 2018, was a Digital Humanities Exchange involving faculty members and one undergraduate intern from each institution that developed digital resources for the undergraduate classroom. Both universities have now developed significant educational resources, based on the varied expertise at Exeter and UBC Okanagan. Following the successful pilot year, new investment from UBC and Exeter will ensure that more undergraduate students can work with the digital teams at both universities. Exeter students will have the opportunity to work at the AMP Lab in Okanagan, whilst Exeter’s Digital Humanities Laboratory will host two UBC students each year. Through participation in Press Play, students will have the opportunity to gain skills for the conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation of research, creation, and engagement projects for the culture and cultural heritage sectors.

Connor Spence, one of the Exeter-UBC Partnerships Development Program interns in 2018/19, said of his experiences of working on the programme: ‘To be trusted to undertake a project which was beneficial to the University on an international level is refreshing and shows that the University values student involvement in endeavours of this importance. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be a part of this project and I hope that you continue to encourage student involvement in projects like this in the future.’ Press Play will support more students like Connor to conduct impactful research with an outstanding international partner.

Press Play, which will launch in the 2019/20 academic year, forms part of a broader partnership between Exeter’s College of Humanities and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Exeter and UBCO, with the intention of encouraging more research and education connections between the partners.  

Date: 15 October 2019

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