THE Trinity College Dublin Supplement Sept 10


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A sponsored supplement created by Times Higher Education magazine for Trinity College Dublin to a brief agreed with TCD. Published on 9 September 2010. Editorial content commissioned by TSL Education Ltd. Supplement paid for by Trinity Long Room Hub through private funding.

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THE Trinity College Dublin Supplement Sept 10

  1. 1. Produced by Times Higher Education for Trinity College Dublin Arts and Humanities enter a new phaseNew perspectives
  2. 2. he newest building on the Trinity College Dublin campus captured the imagination of its residents while it was still on the drawing board. Those involved with the project admit to being captivated by its potential, by its ability to “throw away the rulebook” and by the buzz it generates that “never really goes away”. Whether this enthusiasm comes from within Trinity College Dublin itself – which as a walled campus around which the city of Dublin grew has its own individual dynamic, or whether it comes from a rare focus on disciplines that are often passed over for investment opportunities in more technological subjects – it is clear that the Trinity Long Room Hub is a unique place. It is attracting interest from all over the campus from disciplines as diverse as physics, genetics and IT, as their experts team up with arts and humanities scholars to collaborate on interdisciplinary work ranging from the study of historical documents such as the Book of Kells to a project capturing memories from the Republic of Ireland’s older population. Conceived in 2004 as a research institute for the arts and humanities at Trinity, the Hub was formally established as a Trinity Research Institute in 2006 and one year later secured €10.8 million (£8.87 million) in funding from the Irish government as part of the Humanities Serving Irish Society consortium bid to the Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions. The Hub combines the strengths of a great research library facility, such as The Huntington in California, and an institute for advanced studies, such as Harvard University’s Radcliffe. But describing exactly what the Hub is, however, is difficult, as it is more than a building: it is a node and an incubator; it is where ideas intersect. Poul Holm, academic director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, describes it best: “It’s not an ivory tower, but a powerhouse.” Describing what it does is easier: it promotes outreach and access to the general public, to policymakers and to schools while interacting with the creative and IT industries, the world of cultural heritage and the media. As Holm says: “We’re definitely not building the Hub to ringfence the humanities, but to open up and to be sure that we are developing a platform or springboard for humanities research, both to engage with other academic disciplines and to engage with society to deliver on some of the major societal challenges.” The Trinity Long Room Hub encompasses activities from within seven academic schools – Drama, Film and Music; English; Histories and Humanities; Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies; Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences; Religions, Theology and Ecumenics; and Social Sciences and Philosophy – as well as the Library. Alongside these sit world-class facilities including offices for nine visiting researchers, an open reading room with carrel-style workspaces for 45 postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers, a lecture theatre, a seminar room, an ideas space and a Digitisation Unit suite. Before it officially opens its doors, the Hub is already pulling in funding. The Irish government recently granted the Digital Arts and Humanities Consortium, which the Hub is leading, nearly €7 million in funding. Of this, €3 million will go to the Digital Arts and Humanities Structured PhD programme at Trinity, with the money supporting studentships, academic positions and administrative and technical support staff. According to Holm, “This will potentially have a huge impact on European thinking about the arts and humanities as a job creator and as potentially providing totally new ways of doing research in the arts and humanities.” The buzz around the arts and humanities in Trinity looks set to spread further afield. T 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 3 ou could be forgiven for thinking that innovation is the domain of science, engineering and technology. But you would be wrong. Building on almost 420 years of scholarly tradition, Trinity College Dublin is advancing a new phase of evolution in research for the arts and humanities. With the completion of the Trinity Long Room Hub, a dedicated institute for advanced studies in the arts and humanities, Trinity is positioning high technology alongside high thinking. The juxtaposition of this research facility with the college’s 280-year-old library is deliberate. Linking the old with the new, Trinity is drawing on the past to inform the future, creating new scholarship and consolidating existing fields of enquiry through the innovative use of digital technologies. As the world grapples with recession, Trinity’s Long Room Hub is a beacon, harking back to the ancient role of the university in society, to focus minds and to illuminate through questioning the human condition. In a time of financial restraint, the Irish government has invested €10.8 million in the arts and humanities via funding for the Trinity Long Room Hub. The innovative work going on there has begun to change people’s views of the impact that the arts and humanities can have on business. Pioneering projects are shaping a “smarter planet”. Although the word “computer” preceded the collection of the 1641 Depositions by almost 30 years, only in this century are the two coming together. Using witness statements made after an Irish rebellion some three and a half centuries ago to teach today’s IBM computers how to understand language is just one way the arts and humanities are helping a multinational corporation to innovate. IBM says it is the different insights that come from the humanities that it particularly values. But is investment and research in the arts and humanities truly sustainable? The evolution of digital humanities offers hope that research in these disciplines will flourish, despite the disparity in funding with science. But institutions must move quickly to embrace this change and foster relationships with industry. The groundbreaking work being undertaken at the Trinity Long Room Hub points to a future in which arts and humanities research can be as rewarding to a nation’s bottom line as it is to the pursuit of knowledge. Contents 4 The porous university Ireland’s oldest university facilitates collaboration between scholars and business 8 Force field The new Trinity Long Room Hub building is launched 10 Back to the future A digitally driven setting for arts research shows yesterday’s importance to tomorrow 12 Home and away Strengthening links with the city of Dublin and the global community of scholars 14 Creative network Making arts and humanities research sustainable Editor of Times Higher Education: Ann Mroz Supplement Editor: Fiona Salvage Produced by TSL Education Limited to a brief agreed with Trinity College Dublin. Paid for by the Trinity Long Room Hub through private funding. All editorial content commissioned by TSL Education Limited. For feedback or to suggest ideas for supplements, contact For sponsorship or advertising opportunities, contact To view this supplement as a digital edition, go to Y 2 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010
  3. 3. 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 5 or many years, Ireland’s oldest third-level institution has been finding novel and dynamic ways to engage with the world, but the latest example is its most significant to date. The Trinity Long Room Hub, the university’s new arts and humanities research institute, repre- sents a promising synergy between arts and humanities and several globally significant in- dustrial partners that, at first glance, looks improbable. In development for the past seven years, it was grant-aided €10.8 million (£8.87 mil- lion) by the Irish government, enabling Trinity College to erect a new building to house the project. The impetus to create the Trinity Long Room Hub (which got its name from the famous Long Room housed within the university’s old library) came from the realisation that research in arts and humanities is “far too fragmented”, says Jane Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith’s professor of modern history at Trinity College, and one of the Trinity Long Room Hub’s founders. Trinity College has a well-established aca- demic reputation and outstanding library resources (see box, page 7). “However, we realised we were not making as much as we could of these phenomenal assets,” Ohlmeyer says. It used to be the case that only faculties such as pharmacy, science and engineering would link up with major multinationals on groundbreaking research collaborations, or have any real impact on the economy in terms of providing new jobs. The porous university But that is changing. Now Ireland’s rich diversi- ty of government-supported research and development projects is being carried out by many of the world’s leading corporations with a sig- nificant presence in Ireland, in partnership with arts and humanities disciplines at Trinity College. The objective of the Trinity Long Room Hub is to bring together an eclectic group of disci- plines to work on new and exciting projects. One of those projects, the 1641 Depositions, is a pioneering partnership with IBM, the univer- sities of Aberdeen and Cambridge, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and based on history? Marie Wallace, senior research and development manager at IBM Language- Ware, explains that the complex, unstructured and very challenging data contained in the project will help IBM to teach computers how to understand natural language. IBM LanguageWare, innova- tive new software that the company is currently developing, will be able to summarise, correlate and analyse vast quantities of information. The critical-analysis skills for which aca- demics in the arts and humanities are well known will be available with IBM’s new, highly focused software. It will be relevant to a broad range of people carrying out research, who will be able to “ask” the software questions about a specific body of knowledge, and it will extrapolate con- clusions and provide all the necessary answers. It will remove the need to read endless pages of documents – and it will all be available on the internet. The project is part of IBM’s vision of a “smarter planet”, and its objective to develop soft- ware that will be of value to millions in their everyday lives. Wallace says working with the humanities is exciting for IBM because “we get a completely different perspective and insights that we can apply in different areas to create entirely new products. We can make parallels and apply what we learn from the 1641 project to areas as diverse as law enforcement and financial services.” Yet another groundbreaking Trinity Long Room Hub project is happening in partnership with Microsoft, and it involves creating a Ireland’s oldest university unveils an innovative way to unite scholarship and business. Eddie Lennon reports ‘Working with Trinity College Dublin’s arts and humanities is exciting for IBM – we get a completely different perspective’ Social Sciences and Trinity College Library. A major rebellion erupted in Ireland in 1641 that resulted in a considerable loss of life. Many people were murdered by the insurgents and in reprisal killings by government forces. Others were expelled from their homes in the middle of winteranddiedfromcoldordisease.TheIrishgov- ernment of the time took several thousand witness statements from mainly Protestant settlers about their experiences of the rebellion. These state- ments, which are kept in Trinity College Dublin’s library,runto19,000pagesbutaredifficulttoread. So why is IBM getting involved in a project The past speaks a groundbreaking partnership with IBM employs written records of a 17th-century rebellion to aid in software development F 4 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010 1641DEPOSITIONSCOURTESYOFTHEBOARDOFTRINITYCOLLEGEDUBLIN Ohlmeyer ‘research is far too fragmented’
  4. 4. 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 7 virtual research environment for humanities scholars. “We have all these electronic resources on the web: some commercial, some freely avail- able. But they’re digital ghettos – they don’t talk to each other very well. With a lot of the searching that goes on, only a small amount of material is being searched,” Ohlmeyer says. “What we’re doing with Microsoft is creat- ing a network where all these digital ghettos work together. We’re collecting manuscript sources and other primary and textual visual documenta- tion into a virtual room, along with all the relevant published material available on the web. The aim is to bring information together in a seamless, interoperable way.” This innovative project in the world of arts and humanities is likely to be of major interest to historians, genealogists, academics and stu- dents. Like IBM’s 1641 initiative, it will make life a lot easier for those who use it, and will save a lot of time, Ohlmeyer says. Extending this research technology would be of obvious commercial value to Microsoft. Uni- versities everywhere that teach humanities would conceivably be interested in subscribing to it, as would public libraries. And, Ohlmeyer adds: “Once it is developed it should be very easy to customise for specific purposes.” Although the service could be subscription based, it is expected to be available free of charge to researchers in local and national libraries. 6 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010 of the School of Drama, Film and Music. He has been involved with the Trinity Long Room Hub in the development of a proposed new doctorate in digital arts and humanities, for which a con- sortium of Irish universities has recently secured substantial funding from the Irish government as part of Ireland’s smart economy. Along with Microsoft and IBM, Google and In- tel have signed on as industrial partners to the new PhD programme. These four companies will work in tandem with Trinity College’s PhD students on new and cut- ting-edge research projects. These will range from human-computer interfaces (similar to the technology used in the Wii game console) to new forms of interactive performance, ranging from cinema to live events. Dublin is clearly a city rich in the arts and hu- manities. From its various theatres and lively music scene to the Oscar Wilde Centre for Writ- ing, it offers a wealth of information and learning for all practitioners. But this knowledge was not, until recently, being shared as well as it could be. A recent report by Trinity College academic Johanna Archbold, Creativity, the City and the Terry Neill is a governor of London Business School and co-chair of the external advisory board of the Trinity Long Room Hub. “Within the arts and humanities,” he says, “there’s an extraordinary body of knowledge about human beings – how they behave, how they learn, what motivates or de-motivates them, their values, and what you can learn from their history – but most of the time only a tiny fraction of it is applied in business, government and society. It is somehow trapped in the halls of academia. There is an extraordinary challenge – and opportunity – to engage and bring that knowledge and insight to the wider world.” One person doing just that is Maurice Biriotti, who was recently appointed adjunct professor of humanities innovation at Trinity College Dublin. Biriotti’s new role with the Trinity Long Room Hub will be to forge relationships between the arts, humanities and business, and to find new ideas and innovations for Trinity College. He will also be responsible for identifying and creating new research projects and spin-offs. “The best companies deserve the best thinking,” he says. Biriotti’s background is as a lecturer in the humanities, mainly in literature. He left the academy with a determination to harness the wisdom and insights he found in the arts and humanities to help solve contemporary problems. He is chief executive of the agency SHM, which assists companies to answer awkward questions and solve thorny problems during times of crisis and change. Its work is wide-ranging, from helping companies to transform their finance functions to aiding government organisations to create the right set of values to live by. In recent years, Biriotti has employed philosophers, historians and literary critics in various universities across Europe to help shed light on a variety of business problems. He says: “The arts and philosophy helped Biriotti to advise companies how to manage relationships between several cultures in circumstances where work had been outsourced to companies abroad. He explains: “Some of Aristotle’s insights helped us reconceptualise these relationships. When we examined them through the lens of Aristotle, we found that a lot of outsourcing relationships begin with people being attracted to each other because they’re different (quicker at doing a particular function, for example). But the minute the ink is dry on a Aristotle’s lessons for outsourcing and Zola’stips for corporate networking ‘With Microsoft we’re creating a network to help digital ghettos work together, to bring data together in a seamless way’ contract, it seems that the very thing that attracted people to their partner often becomes the thing that repels them. An obscure novel called Au Bonheur des Dames, by the French writer Émile Zola, was the rather unlikely basis for figuring out what exactly was going on. Zola’s novel features a portrayal of the early days of department stores. It illustrates how gossip among staff, far from being a mere distraction from work, is what makes a department store run smoothly. Biriotti says: “We realised the experts weren’t communicating because, given the way their lives and professions were set up, they humanities touch on all the biggest things that affect us in life: why we do what we do, what we believe in, what the right and wrong thing to do is. What keeps people who work in business, politics and policymaking up at night has nothing to do with spreadsheets, numbers or technical stuff. We in humanities are sitting on this amazing treasure trove – operas and plays, sonnets and poetry, philosophy and history. It is the humanities’ best effort at working through what could be the best way to think about a whole variety of big questions.” Strange as it may sound, Greek were devoid of any proper human contact. When we introduced human contact into the intranet – simply by asking people to create chat rooms, and the kind of social networking we would see years later on the likes of Facebook – usage rates, and communication generally, went through the roof.” Meanwhile, Neill believes the arts and humanities contain a rich vein of knowledge that is not merely useful in its applicability to the business world. That applicability, he predicts, may also yet bring a much-needed boost to Ireland’s economy. University, was published as part of the Trinity Week 2010 festival. In the document, Archbold highlights eight cultural institutions – the ma- jority of which are based within a square kilometre in the city centre in a “cultural cluster” – offer- ing new and exciting opportunities for synergies with each other, with many significant opportu- nities for collaboration that have yet to be explored. Between them, the institutions hold priceless collections consisting of millions of manuscripts, artefacts and paintings, treasures of historical rel- evance to Ireland and abroad, and each hosts public programmes encouraging interaction with these treasures. At the launch of the report, Trinity College provost John Hegarty said: “The rationale for the Creativity, the City and the University report was that Trinity College together with Dublin’s major cultural institutions could com- bine their efforts further and enable progress to the forefront of creativity and innovation in the cultural sector. The challenge now is to exploit even more the connections and to learn from international experience in this regard.” Trinity College Dublin’s arts and humanities faculty boasts some world-famous alumni. Some of the most well known include playwrights Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde; Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels; and philosophers George Berkeley and Edmund Burke. The university has a strong academic reputation and outstanding library resources, including volumes dating back to 1592, when the university was founded. Its legal deposit library receives a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland every year. Trinity College’s position as a world leader in arts and humanities research and thinking is well established. It was ranked 41st in the world for arts and humanities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2009, and is 12th in Europe – which sees it placed higher than any other Irish higher education institution. “Microsoft Research collaborates with the world’s foremost researchers in academia, across industries and governments, to advance research and fuel innovation. Our collaboration with the Trinity Long Room Hub is just one of the many ways we are integrating with leading academic institutions worldwide to further innovation,” Alex Wade, director for scholarly communication, Microsoft External Research, says. Matthew Causey is senior lecturer in drama at Trinity College Dublin. He is also director of the Arts Technology Research Lab, which is part Neill ‘knowledge trapped in the halls of academia’
  5. 5. 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 98 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010 Force field TheTrinity Long Room Hub will galvanise humanities scholarship.Fiona Salvage reports he speed at which the Trinity Long Room Hub building has been erected reflects the energy asso- ciated with the whole project. Constructed in less than a year, the new building is a visual embodiment of many years of dynamic work in the arts and humanities at Trinity College Dublin. Poul Holm, academic director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, says: “I think it will be a sig- nature building, not just for Trinity but also for the arts and humanities. The building certainly provides the focus within Trinity; it is in a very prominent position on the campus. We have an outstanding opportunity to open our doors – not only to be a hub for Trinity researchers, but also to build a network of people in culture, in liter- ary and artistic life in Dublin and beyond, and provide a nexus for energising the field.” The excitement surrounding the Hub is about more than just the physical building; it is also about the activities that will take place within it, and the people who will meet there to col- laborate, research, innovate, discuss and promote the arts and humanities to a wider world. One of the most distinctive parts of the Hub is the library, says librarian and college archivist Robin Adams, because “there is a recognition that the library is an active partner in the re- search process, particularly as we’re moving more into digital and electronic environments. “We – librarians, archivists – can bring more to the process because once we change the for- mat of the material there are issues of how it is described, the whole concept of metadata creation, how you access material and how you remodel it.” One of the attractions for researchers will be access to the growing number of Trinity Col- lege treasures being digitised. Overseen by Tim Keefe, head of digital resources and imaging services, digitised versions of an expanding cat- alogue of the institution’s priceless artefacts are available online, which is driving up numbers of visiting researchers keen to study the real thing. Holm believes researchers in the arts and humanities have lacked a supportive infra- structure to help them work with industry as extensively and successfully as their colleagues in science and medical fields. One of the Hub’s roles will be to act as an incubator: to foster net- works, leadership and entrepreneurship and support researchers to identify the partners they need to take their research further and wider. This advocacy role is vital, because “very few people speak up for the arts and humanities”, Holm says, especially at the high-powered tables where far-reaching decisions are made, and where too often the arts and humanities are treat- ed as the “ethical appendix”. Work being undertaken at Trinity College in medical humanities, environmental humanities and in new fields such as arts technology, demon- strate the diverse and non-traditional areas the humanities are beginning to move into and should be consulted in, Holm says. “The arts and humanities are a key to success in the global marketplace. Conventional wisdom is that technology and scientific discoveries are the main drivers of modern societies. Those working in the arts and humanities see things dif- ferently – we as humans are driven not by what we eat but what we want to eat. The thought, the intention is primary to human action. The arts and humanities deal with the most driving force of all: motivation.” T Keefe digitisation is key Holm ‘the building provides the focus within Trinity’
  6. 6. 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 1110 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010 Back to the future A cutting-edge,digitally driven setting for arts and humanities research shows the importance of yesterday to tomorrow,writes Maeve O’Lynn t is widely acknowledged that the arts and humanities do not tend to produce the same sort of quantifi- able results as medical, engineering or economic research, for example. Instead, research and study in the field of arts and humanities is often focused on centuries past, whether the subject in question is litera- ture, paintings, languages, sources, historical events, documents or archives. But the question remains as to whether this focus on the past can have relevance for the present and whether it is, in fact, a necessity in order to prepare for the future. H.G. Wells said: “History is a race between education and catastrophe.” However, in the case of the arts and humanities disciplines, this is a race that catastrophe threatens to win, as government education policy continues to value science and business, while treating the traditionally revered arts and humanities disciplines as less relevant and meaningful to today’s student and in today’s society. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this derogatory view is treated dismissively in Trinity College Dublin’s dedicated arts and humanities research institute, the Trinity Long Room Hub. Roy Foster, Carroll professor of Irish history at Hertford College, Oxford, believes that con- trary to the idea that the arts and humanities are becoming less relevant, “the proposal for a top- flight institute for advanced study in the humanities seemed long overdue for Ireland”. accepted knowledge, such as the use of woad instead of lapis lazuli as a blue dye in the manuscript. Frank Boland is a professor of engineering science at Trinity College, but he is involved in the arts and humanities faculty through an interdisciplinary project funded by the Trinity Long Room Hub, entitled The Book: Discovering Sounds Initiative. “Education and learning in all disciplines have never been more relevant to the wellbeing of society,” Boland says. In 2004, the university’s English faculty digitised pages from the Trinity College manuscripts of Piers Plowman to demonstrate what the medieval book can tell us about a text, the authorship of the text, the scribe and the people who had access to the document during its existence. The Discovering Sounds Initiative aims to build on that project to include voice synchronisation, offering interpretation, translation and transcription. Catherine Kane, from the Centre for Learning Technology at Trinity College, is also involved in the project, which she believes “will enrich the users’ experience, engagement and understanding of precious manuscripts and resources in the library”. “Educational establishments such as Trinity Foster has been an external advisory member of the Trinity Long Room Hub since the project’s inception. “This is a vital development for the higher education sector in Ireland because it comes at a time when the technology of knowledge storage, dissemination and retrieval has been revolu- tionised by digitalisation and electronic communications circuits,” he says. His thoughts on the building that will house the Trinity Long Room Hub are similarly posi- tive: “A newly built state-of-the-art research centre will be able to benefit directly from ‘The Trinity Long Room Hub offers opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, but still preserves a place for traditional research methods’ College Dublin have vast collections of precious resources that can be difficult to make available to students, from our slide collections on history of art and Classics to precious documents in our library collections,” Kane says. “Using an ICT-centred approach makes access to these resources possible without damage to the originals.” The Trinity Long Room Hub is also home to the interdisciplinary Atlas of Language Politics in Modern Central Europe project, headed by Tomasz Kamusella, the Thomas Brown lecturer in Slavonic Studies in the School of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies. The Atlas offers an insight into the mechanisms and history of how languages have been made, unmade and deployed for political ends in the age of nationalism, from the 19th to the 21st century. The arts and humanities are not always thought of in political terms, but this project shows just how important the discipline is in being able to offer crucial insight into religious conflicts throughout history and around the world – knowledge that is of overwhelming relevance in today’s divided societies. Kamusella’s project is based, he says, on the premise that “peoples and states have frequently quarrelled, gone to war, and even committed genocides over language as a symbol of group identity and group difference. But this has been so to a highly unusual extent in modern Central Europe, where the politicised equation of language with nation and state became the sole legitimising basis of state-building in the region after the First World War.” Kamusella attributes his success in getting this project off the ground to the willingness of the Trinity Long Room Hub to be more flexible in its funding than other institutions. “Novel research, involving unprecedented configurations of scholars, subject matter and external parties in the context of the fast-changing realities of the EU and the globalising world, requires novel approaches to funding,” he says. As well as offering new opportunities for academics, these new developments in the way arts and humanities subjects are researched, taught and made accessible hold a huge appeal for students. “Arts and humanities need to be seen as innovative and forward thinking and also need to address issues of access and accessibility,” Kane says. “Today’s students have grown up in a very mobile, technical world. They are comfortable with technology and its integration into all aspects of their lives. This includes education.” However, Boland urges caution to those keen to see the back of traditional forms of academic research and teaching. “There are difficult challenges regarding ensuring the credibility of sources and material,” he says. “The ease and perfection of alterations to images and the propagation of inaccuracies through generations of electronic documents are two such challenges, for example.” As one might expect of members of the scholarly community at Ireland’s oldest university, those at the Trinity Long Room Hub are unlikely to forget the importance of preserving historical materials and methods. The institute offers unique opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and international academic cooperation and debate in key areas, but still preserves a place for traditional research and teaching methods. “Digital archives can never replace the communications circuit that is set up by people interacting face to face, and mind to mind, in a stimulating environment,” Foster says. With that interaction in mind, the Trinity Long Room Hub has already hosted a number of visiting scholars and a range of international projects are in the pipeline. One final area in which the arts and humanities may consider looking to the past while remaining at the cutting edge of modern academic research is that of interdisciplinary collaboration. The rigid concept of individual faculty disciplines is a very modern approach, which bears little relation to the tradition of the polymath – the Renaissance ideal of a well- rounded education. As Boland observes: “Collaboration in research between the arts and humanities and engineering is a very useful way to encourage mutual understanding of the potential of new technology and creativity in envisaging new applications. “These ideas are making a return to the academy, through the avenues of multidisciplinary conferences and journals. But initiatives such as the Trinity Long Room Hub may be the most effective way to integrate the disciplines, in terms of academic research as well as education,” he adds. “The interdisciplinary approach of the Hub is certainly one of the factors that is already attracting substantial interest from the international scholarly community,” Foster says, “but it has also given Trinity the means to contribute to Ireland’s academic standing by creating the sort of intersections that have long been a feature of communities such as the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington and the European University Institute in Florence.” this, and incorporate it in the most up-to-date way.” The Trinity Long Room Hub incorporates such developments impressively, seamlessly using new technology to promote the rich, historical archive collection owned by Trinity College, an institution founded in the 16th century. The college showcases these developments in a plethora of online exhibitions and large-scale projects, which combine a thoroughly modern approach with the culture and heritage of centuries past. Projects such as the multidisciplinary initiative between the conservation and physics departments on the Book of Kells overturned previously I
  7. 7. 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 1312 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010 Home and away OlgaWojtas onTrinity College’s cultural outreach work in Dublin,globally relevant postgraduate programmes and historic links with SouthAsia rinity College Dublin has had a dynamic relationship with its local community for over 400 years. It was a concerted campaign by the local community, spearheaded by the Dublin Corporation, that led to the university being founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. The first lectures in the Irish language were delivered in 1628, and while it may have once been seen as a university of the Protestant ascendancy, Trinity has been admitting Catholics since 1793. More recently, the institution’s tradition of engagement with the local community has been further enhanced through a multidisciplinary project, Creative Arts, Technology and Culture. This innovative project is putting Trinity College at the heart of Dublin’s cultural outreach. There is an urgent need for research into the ways higher education can contribute to the increasingly sought-after “creative city” status, and the project’s first study is an investigation downturn, but research fellow Johanna Archbold says that cultural collaboration will make sound economic sense. Resources and expertise can be pooled and duplication avoided. Trinity College is already the city’s third- biggest tourist attraction, after the Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Zoo, Holm says. “There’s an immediate sense of opening a gateway to a world of love for learning.” Visitors tend to focus principally on the Book of Kells (a highly illustrated biblical manuscript produced by Celtic monks in around AD800), but Trinity College is now set to highlight a much broader range of its treasures and its research, for example through digital displays. Expectations for the external impact of the Hub are on the same scale as for the science gallery at the other end of the Trinity campus. Unlike the Hub, the science gallery is purpose-built for public access, and it hosts exhibitions and special events throughout the year where the public can interact with and understand science through the arts. Hegarty believes the Trinity Long Room Hub can become, like the science gallery, “a place in the consciousness of the country, on the trail as a place to visit, and a place that has a spark and is new and edgy”. He expects the Hub “to be a nerve centre for helping to organise events across the arts and humanities that would not be possible of the existing links between Trinity College and nearby museums, libraries and galleries to see how these can be exploited further. Spearheaded by Trinity’s provost, John Hegarty, the project reconnects the city’s many cultural activities – museums, theatre, music, literature and language – by rethinking not only how they operate and their role in the 21st century, but also how they interact with the university. Russian-born Anastasia Dukova is in the third year of a PhD investigating crime and policing in Dublin, Brisbane and London in the second half of the 19th century. She believes that the comparative research has given her enormous opportunities, both personal and academic. She has made research trips to Australia, and has links with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security at Griffith University in Brisbane. “I think universities should encourage their research students to participate in an international academic exchange,” she says. “I’m considering a postdoctorate degree in criminology. My research requires knowledge of the legal and punitive systems of Ireland, England and the colony of Queensland. I hope this diverse approach to criminal history and criminology will make my knowledge and skills equally effective in Europe and in Australia.” Her PhD is funded through the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, set up in 2000 to boost Ireland’s research capacity. She says she was attracted by the prominence of humanities and social sciences at Trinity College, and has been impressed by the quality of its collections and its academic supervision. The university’s links with South Asia go back almost 250 years, with the establishment of a chair of oriental languages in 1762. Trinity College had a major impact on the development of India in the 19th century, not only via its graduates in disciplines such as engineering, law and medicine, but also thanks to 150 graduates from its Indian Civil Service School. Early in the 20th century, Sir George Grierson, who studied mathematics and Sanskrit at Trinity College, produced his massive Linguistic Survey of India. Those links are now being given fresh impetus through the university’s South Asia Initiative, bringing together 70 academics from across the institution, who until now have been teaching and researching on South Asia in relative isolation. The initiative is chaired by Jürgen Barkhoff, Trinity College’s registrar (an academic position). “With Ireland becoming such a multicultural society in the past 10 years, we wanted to use this initiative not only to strengthen teaching and research, but also to strengthen awareness of these cultures in Ireland,” he says. Strong support has come from the local Indian community, with more than 20 organisations coming together to fund a new lectureship in Indian history and culture. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations is also helping to establish visiting professorships. “These posts will form the nucleus of a Centre for Indian Studies,” Barkhoff says. The South Asia Initiative has already hosted lectures by T In a major development for the college, Trinity is now collaborating with the creative industries to deliver courses for actors, directors and lighting designers, curators and conservationists as well as other practitioners. This work is critical in repositioning the university – which is a key objective of the Hub project – by creating a two- way flow of information in and out of the university, and creating connections across disciplines. Hegarty explains: “It is like having a porous university where the boundaries are not so clear- cut any more, and where ideas and people can move easily across those blurred boundaries.” Poul Holm, academic director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, says: “What we are trying to do is develop a new platform for the new humanities. The IT revolution will let us unlock our treasures.” Funding for the Trinity Long Room Hub project was earmarked before the worldwide economic Amartya Sen, the economist and Nobel laureate, and Abdul Kalam, the former president of India. The university is showcasing the centuries-old links between Trinity College, Europe and India in a major exhibition, Nabobs, Soldiers and Imperial Service: The Irish in India, drawing on a material from the 19th and early 20th century held in its library. • The exhibition runs until 3 October 2010. For more information, visit Library/about/exhibitions Forward-looking Holm keen to unlock riches before”, hosting talks, exhibitions, events and being recognised for its activity in its own right. Collaboration with neighbouring institutions could also be a draw for students, allowing opportunities for joint postgraduate courses and internships. “This would be particularly interesting to international students, providing employment for postgraduates and an area of potential income generation,” Archbold says. Trinity College has already launched Texts, Contexts, Cultures, a revolutionary postgraduate programme that is leading the transformation of the European PhD, according to Crawford Gribben, Trinity Long Room Hub senior lecturer in early modern print culture. The programme was developed jointly by Trinity College, University College Cork and the National University of Ireland Galway, and is designed to integrate new technologies and professional placements into the traditional PhD. There are currently some 40 students on the programme, 15 of them at Trinity College. They develop their research under the guidance of a supervisory panel that is often interdisciplinary and multi-institutional, including academics from leading institutions in North America and Europe. Students have the opportunity to take a placement linked to the knowledge economy, backed by training and seminars in career and aptitude development. Giving students these new skills will increase their employability, Trinity College scholars believe. Gribben says: “We receive applications from all over the world, from students with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, from recent graduates and others with significant work experience and professional successes.” Kayoko Yukimura, who took her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Kobe University in Japan, is in the first year of a doctorate funded through Rotary International’s Ambassadorial Scholarship scheme. She is investigating the maritime communities of southern Ireland after the Jacobite War, and is keeping in close touch with postgraduates and professors in Japan. “There are many researchers of European history in my country,” she says. “They are interested in the way historians in Ireland and other European countries study history. I report the latest trends of historiography in the Republic of Ireland and Europe to them.” She has been struck by the wealth of resources in the Trinity College library, notably the digital databases that are invaluable to history researchers. “Trinity College’s active interaction with other academic institutions, both domestic and international, is impressive,” she says.
  8. 8. 9 September 2010 Times Higher Education 1514 Times Higher Education 9 September 2010 Creative network ith the global economy in turmoil, government funding for research projects has become increasingly scarce worldwide. This has been particularly marked in the arts and humanities, an issue that David Lloyd, dean of research at Trinity College Dublin, is keen to highlight. “In recent years, the distribution of national research funding has probably been 80 per cent for sciences, 12 per cent for social sciences and only 8 per cent for the arts,” Lloyd says. “There is thus a tenfold difference between what the sciences get and what the arts and humanities get and that can’t be sustained. There needs to be a balancing out if we’re going to place an importance on culture in society. The current situation is a bit of a travesty.” Lloyd has a biochemistry background, while Trinity College’s provost, John Hegarty, is a physicist and Patrick Prendergast, the vice- provost, is a specialist in biomechanics engineering. Yet all three are agreed on the importance of the arts and humanities, both in academe and in society generally. “No matter what our academic backgrounds are, we’re all immersed in the arts and humanities in our cultural lives and we all have an appreciation of it,” Prendergast says. “I don’t believe in C.P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’ concept. To me, this is a simplistic understanding of human endeavour and academic research.” The question is how to translate this belief that all academic disciplines are not only equally after extensive digital repair work. The films, made between 1910 and 1913, are important parts of Ireland’s cultural heritage, Kokaram says. Although some of the films were made into DVDs a decade ago, they have not been widely seen since the 1920s, he estimates. “There is an interesting connection between the preservation of cultural heritage and hardcore mathematics.” The Trinity Long Room Hub’s approach is innovative, but contemporary research culture at Trinity College has been influenced by international academic developments as well. Prendergast recalls: “I was particularly impressed by the way the PhD is done in the Netherlands. Graduate study often involves students putting together a curriculum of courses in universities around the country and they study and research in a very collaborative and interactive way. As the island of Ireland is relatively small, this is something I would like to see us doing here. I would like students to be able to take advantage of the specialist skills and expertise of members of the faculty in universities around the country.” It is hoped that the Trinity Long Room Hub development will facilitate knowledge transfer through the digitisation of archives, as well as in the creation of new platforms for education in important, but interconnected, into modern and viable research models. This is a challenge that Trinity College hopes the Trinity Long Room Hub will go some way towards addressing. An evolution in arts and humanities research, which enables a traditional discipline to remain relevant and contemporary, is to be welcomed. How it is to be funded, though, is another matter. “The arts and humanities need to find a new way of operating and becoming self-sustaining, so we must diversify. The government needs to start seeing investing in the arts and humanities as an investment in the country’s future, but we’re also looking to philanthropy,” Hegarty says. Partnershipswithculturalinstitutions,including museums, galleries and libraries, afford arts and humanities researchers greater opportunities for engagement with the public, opportunities that ‘We want the Trinity Long Room Hub to become a beacon for collaboration, and for industry to look to it for problem solving’ the academic community and industry.” Prendergast says his aim is for “the Trinity Long Room Hub to become a beacon for this kind of collaboration. I want industry to think of the Trinity Long Room Hub straight away as a place to find arts and humanities researchers to work with on developing projects and problem solving.” Anil Kokaram’s research work on restoring damaged film has developed into an important innovation for the multibillion-dollar film industry and is a stellar example of what such collaborations can achieve. An associate professor in Trinity College’s department of electronic and electrical engineering, Kokaram’s digital film restoration methods were used to create special effects on films such as The Matrix Reloaded, King Kong and Casino Royale, and earned him and his collaborators an Academy Award in 2007. His early consultancy work with The Foundry, an external media company, is now a long-term relationship and has evolved into collaborative stereo post-production work for the new generation of 3D films such as Avatar. At the same time, his team’s restoration work continues. A project with film historian and professor of drama at Trinity College Kevin Rockett will see the release this month of six films W virtual learning environments. These strategies will work in tandem with the creation of a cutting- edge Innovation Academy for PhD researchers. The Trinity College Dublin-University College Dublin Innovation Academy will coordinate generic and discipline-specific training for some Graduate Research Education Programmes, and has been established as a component of the TCD- UCD Innovation Alliance. According to Hegarty: “When students complete a PhD they will have gone very deep into their particular topic, but the Innovation Academy will ensure that they have acquired a sense of the wider world and of what they can do with their skills and new knowledge.” The Innovation Academy will encourage interdisciplinary collaboration from an early stage in a student’s research career. Lloyd notes: “In the Innovation Academy we are bringing together people from different disciplines and putting them all into the mix to solve a series of problems that can’t be addressed by an individual but could be addressed by an interdisciplinary team. The Innovation Academy will imbue problem solving with creativity.” The Dutch model that impressed Prendergast is also in evidence in future plans for the Innovation Academy. “We are hoping the model will roll out nationally,” Lloyd says. “We will make the content available to anyone who wants it and we’ll train trainers who want to bring this model back to their universities.” Ultimately, he says, producing skilled, ICT- and business-savvy arts and humanities graduates is the key to ensuring long-term sustainability for arts and humanities research. Equipped with creative, independent thought, self-motivation and innovation, it is hoped that future generations of PhD graduates and post- doctoral researchers will go further in exploring the potential for the role of arts and humanities in modern society, the economy and in industry. Prendergast says: “We shouldn’t try to second- guess where PhDs will end up. They may create their own jobs in the knowledge industries of the future, and this is something we want to support.” Such support is vital not only for sustaining arts and humanities research in the future but for capitalising on opportunities for society as a whole. Lloyd concludes: “There are new markets to come out of this, and if we’re not producing the graduates with the appropriate skills and training, then we’re going to miss out on being part of them.” Diversification,integration and digital innovation are key to sustaining arts and humanities research,say Trinity College scholars.Maeve O’Lynn reports Hegarty is keen to see Trinity College embrace. In addition to these partnerships, the provost advocates “stronger engagements with the creative industries”. Prendergast agrees. “It is important that we reach out to industry and try to collaborate by showing industry what we can do. We can achieve this by showcasing the talents of our staff and students. We want to enable organic collaborations by facilitating interactions between Hegarty ‘the arts and humanities must diversify’Prendergast ‘collaborate’