Sussex Humanities Lab


All SHL events are held in the Digital Humanities Lab, Silverstone Building, and are open to all, unless stated otherwise.

Using Curatorial Voice: Image, Text, Computation

Tuesday 18 June 10:00 until 17:00
Sussex Humanities Lab



‘Curatorial Voice: legacy descriptions of art objects and their contemporary uses’ is a 12-month project that explores how new knowledge about the curation and the content of image collections can be generated through computer-assisted analysis of curatorial art descriptions. Our case study is a catalogue of 1.5 million words written by the historian M. Dorothy George between 1935 and 1954 to describe 12,552 Georgian satirical prints, which we use as a starting point to examine descriptions of art objects more broadly.

‘Using Curatorial Voice’ is a one-day workshop that brings together cultural heritage professionals in digital/technical roles, digital humanitsts, curators, art historians, and information professionals to reflect on the role of computational text analysis of image descriptions, along with image analysis, as a basis for exploring new types of access to image collections. Talks will explore:

  • The use of text analytics or natural language processing in a galleries, libraries, archives and museums context.
  • Experiments with computer vision to analyse/index image content.
  • Applications of IIIF.
  • The use/repurposing of legacy catalogues.

We are delighted to welcome speakers from the Courtauld Institute of Art, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Science Museum, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, and Wellcome Collection. More speakers will be confirmed soon.

‘Using Curatorial Voice’ is the second of two events funded under the British Academy Digital Research in the Humanities Grants scheme. The project is live between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019.


10-5. Exact schedule to be determined.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Beatrice Alex (Research Fellow in Text Mining, University of Edinburgh), ‘Text and beyond: Natural language processing for Edinburgh library and museum image collections’.
  • Dr James Baker (Senior Lecturer in Digital History and Archives, University of Sussex) and Dr Andrew Salway (Research Fellow in Digital Humanities, University of Sussex), ‘Computational Approaches to Curatorial Voice: ‘spatial’ language in Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires at the British Musuem’.
  • Tom Bilson (Head of Digital Media, Courtauld Institute of Art), ‘AI and the Witt Library’.
  • Jessica Bradford (Keeper of Collections Engagement, Science Museum) and Jamie Unwin (Technical Architect, Science Museum), ‘Algorithms vs authoritative voices, the best of both’.
  • Dr Luca Guariento (Digital Humanities Research Officer, University of Glasgow), ‘Annotations, metadata and web standards in IIIF’.
  • Harrison Pim (Data Scientist, Wellcome Collection), ‘A new kind of image search’.
  • Tom Scutt (Digital Manager, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art), ‘Navigating a digitised corpus: using IIIF as a discovery tool’.
  • Emma Stanford (Digital Curator, Bodleain Libraries), TBC.
  • Dr Mikko Tolonen (Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities, University of Helsinki), ‘The English Short Title Catalogue and metadata harmonization’.


The workshop will take place at the Sussex Humanities Lab at the University of Sussex. The Sussex Humanities Lab is located in the Silverstone Building.

The University of Sussex is located at Falmer on the outskirts of Brighton, within easy reach of London and major international airports at Gatwick and Heathrow.

The University of Sussex campus is well served by public transport with Falmer train station on the south side of campus, and frequent buses on campus to and from Brighton. The adjoining A27 also gives good access by car. Details for all this services, including on campus parking, can be found here.

Additional information of campus facilities and maps and directions are available on the University of Sussex website.

Back to events list

By: James Baker
Last updated: Friday, 12 April 2019