The DH Hub team is made up of a dedicated project officer, an academic champion, seconded colleagues from the Library Research Engagement team and Digital Technology Services, and support from RES (Research Services) and UMASCS (University Museums, Archives & Special Collections Services). This diverse team represents the University’s commitment to strong relationships across multiple professional services departments and academic colleagues to make our research as ambitious as it can be.
Below you can find some information about the individual team members, our roles in the project and the ways we might be working with you over the course of designing research with a digital element. The hub team will co-ordinate the support we offer depending on your project’s stage of development, so please follow the directions for contacting us on the Contact page.
Olivia Thompson – Digital Humanities Project Officer
Olivia is the DH Hub’s Project Officer and coordinates the Hub’s activities. Olivia’s role is to identify and meet digital research support needs within the University, and to foster an understanding of how digital methodologies can be applied to potential research projects. In conjunction with other members of the team, Olivia can help researchers to develop digital elements of a project and to identify potential collaborators or partners to help deliver them if necessary. Olivia has a research background in Ancient History and experience designing and delivering collections-based digital humanities training.
Mara Oliva – Digital Humanities Academic Champion
As the Academic Champion, Mara promotes an understanding of Digital Humanities as a discipline within the University, and the integration of cultures and principles from Digital Humanities into wider research practice. She leads the Community of Practice, and can provide mentoring and subject-specific advice for digital research projects. Mara is an Associate Professor in History and Lecturer in Modern American History; her own research concerns the political history of the US in the 20th century, with particular focus on the interface between domestic and foreign policy.
Rachel Lewis – Research Development Manager (Heritage & Creativity)
Rachel supports researchers across the Heritage & Creativity theme to develop applications for external research grant funding. She can advise on all elements of a grant application, including helping to locate suitable funding calls, providing non-expert review, and ensuring projects are properly costed. Rachel is the first port of call for grant applications, and within the DH Hub she oversees the organisation of the team’s support for those with a digital element. She can also arrange and facilitate advisory meetings with our external consultant, Pip Willcox.
Robert Darby – Research Data Manager
Robert manages the University’s Research Data Service. He provides research data management support and training, assists with the preparation of data management plans in applications for funding, and advises on the use of services for data storage, computation, and archiving. He manages the University’s data repository, the Research Data Archive, which can be used to preserve and provide long-term access to research data.
Robert’s role in the Hub includes providing research data management support for proposals and projects, and overseeing the development of sustainable service provision. He also supports the University’s Open Research initiative, which works to promote the adoption of open practices in research. Many of the fundamental principles of Open Research are shared with Digital Humanities, such as accessibility, transparency, reproducibility, and collaboration.
Paul Heaton – Academic Computing Software Engineer
As an Academic Computing Software Engineer, Paul provides specialist support for teaching and research, arranging the provision and setup of digital research infrastructure and services (including software and storage), and training in research programming and use of computing resources. As part of the Hub team’s support for research projects, he can advise on the technical requirements and solutions, specify digital skills requirements and deliver or identify the appropriate training required. Paul’s role in the DH Hub overlaps with his work to establish a more prominent profile for Research Software Engineering at UoR.
Guy Baxter – Associate Director of Archive Services – University Museums, Archives & Special Collections
Guy has led the archive service at the University of Reading since 2008, achieving UK Accredited status and contributing to several interdisciplinary research projects and developments including Staging Beckett and Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin’s Personal Cinema. He convenes the Museums and Collections department’s Digital Working Group, aiming to reflect and enable the digital shift in collections and scholarship. Guy’s broad professional and research interests are in copyright and compliance, cross-domain and interdisciplinary working, photograph collections, performing arts and events data standards (and intangible cultural heritage more broadly), and preservation management. Within the DH Hub, Guy advises on projects that involve overlap between collections-based research and Digital Humanities, helping to plan for and cost access to and/or preservation of digital artefacts and collections for a research project.
Alison Sutton – Research Engagement Manager
Alison is the Research Engagement Manager in the Library. This team includes the Research Publications Adviser and a team of Senior Library Assistants who support Open Access and run the University’s institutional repository, CentAUR. Research Data, Open Research and Digital Humanities are also part of the Research Engagement umbrella. Alison sits on several groups focused on institutional repository development, usage and training, including UKCoRR, ORRC and community advisory groups for IRUS-UK and Router (Jisc). Within the DH Hub Team Alison oversees the development of our online resources and (in the future) training opportunities.
Chrissie Willis-Phillips – Associate Director (Scholarship and Planning)
As one of three Associate Directors in the Library, Chrissie has overall responsibility for Research Engagement, Research Data Management, Collections Services, as well as the DH Hub. Chrissie is particularly interested in process improvement and in initiatives to enhance integrations and automations for content acquisition and delivery, as well as supporting and developing services in support of all aspects of research and scholarship. She is also a member of several external organisations including Research Libraries UK and the National Acquisitions Group. She oversees the sustainable integration of the DH Hub into the Library’s support provision for researchers.
Roberta Gilchrist – Research Dean, Heritage & Creativity
Roberta is Research Dean for Heritage & Creativity, one of the University of Reading’s four research themes, in which role she sponsors the Digital Humanities Project. Roberta has championed Digital Humanities at the University for the past 6 years, securing funding for the current project to establish the Hub, as well as previous scoping activities. Alongside her work as Dean, Roberta is a Professor of Archaeology. She has published extensively on medieval sacred heritage, religion and gender, monasticism, magic, death and burial, health and the life course, as well as key archaeological studies on Norwich Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey (the latter informing the reconstruction project Digital Glastonbury Abbey). Read Roberta’s blog on her decision to establish a DH Hub at Reading here.