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Professional Practice fellowship awarded to Ruth Burton

AHRC and RLUK are funding the digital humanities research fellowship.

Following a highly-competitive application process, RLUK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has announced Dr Ruth Burton, Interpretation Officer in the Library’s Special Collections team, as one of fellows in the coveted Profession Practice Fellowship scheme.

The scheme was launched in 2021 to enable library colleagues to set research agendas, be active participants and leaders of multidisciplinary research and to provide intellectual leadership in their own disciplines and professional practices.

Dr Allan Sudlow, Director of Partnerships and Engagement at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said:

“These fellowships, alongside the Research Catalyst Cohort programme we are delivering with RLUK and the Association of Research Managers, speak to a shared commitment to the principles of the Technician Commitment. Research library professionals are a critical part of our research ecosystem.”

Ruth will join nine other fellows in researching topics central to the role of academic libraries as partners and leaders of cross-disciplinary research.

The project explores the personal links within archival correspondence in Special Collections and the University of Victoria, particularly letters between Herbert Read, T.S. Eliot and Bonamy Dobrée, and will explore how the links between people found within letters can be extracted and used to increase our understanding of literary and artistic networks.

Ruth said “I’m interested in the intersection between the digital humanities and archives, and this seemed an excellent opportunity to showcase the research that archivists routinely do and to explore how digital maps can help us visualise and interrogate our collections.”

An initial tranche of around 500 letters held in our Special Collections and the Special Collections of the University of Victoria, Canada will be selected, digitised and transcribed. References to individuals and organisations will be turned into code and a methodology will be developed to weight these different kinds of interaction.

Ruth has used Special Collections materials to create similar network maps previously while working as a Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute Brotherton post-doctoral Fellow, where her project focused on mapping the Ken Smith archive.