Network of Centres

The Network of Expert Centres is a collaboration of centres with expertise in digital arts and humanities research and scholarship, including practice-led research. This includes data creation, curation, preservation, management (including rights and legal issues), access and dissemination, and methodologies of data use and re-use. Its membership is open to all such centres in Great Britain and Ireland.

Aims and Objectives
The purpose of the Network is to enable its members to collaborate in the pursuit of the following aims and objectives. For a number of these activities will provide a central resource.

1. Advocate, promote and raise awareness and understanding of the use of ICT in research and scholarship in arts and humanities (broadly defined)

  • Demonstrating the transformative effect and value of digital resources and methods in arts and humanities research outputs.
  • Developing and maintaining public registries of members, other centres and experts.
  • Developing advocacy policies and initiatives to support and take forward digital humanities nationally and internationally.
  • Disseminating project outputs and activities.

2. Take the lead in the use of digital methods and resources for arts and humanities research and scholarship

  • Producing research and scholarly outputs of all kinds in the digital arts and humanities.
  • Taking an active role in developing the scholarly communication agenda in relation to all aspects of digital publications, including open access, peer review and evaluation, sustainability, etc.
  • Promoting and facilitating joint development of research projects, infrastructure and resources, within the Network and between Network members and scholars, scientists and other expert partners within and outside the arts and humanities.

3. Develop and exchange expertise, knowledge, standards and best practices.

  • Promoting and supporting the use of standards and good practice in the creation, management and use of digital resources.
  • Developing and sharing information resources about the use of ICT in arts and humanities research.
  • Developing and providing training and teaching.
  • Sharing information about funding opportunities.
  • Developing methodologies and tools.
  • Holding joint workshops and events.
  • Encouraging and facilitating experimentation and innovation.

4. Identify and represent the needs of the research community.

  • Formulating strategies and policies to support digital arts and humanities development and capacity building at institutional, regional, and national/UK level.
  • oting understanding of the potential for use and re-use of digital research outputs and resources, including for learning and teaching.
  • Promoting and facilitating engagement with digital methodologies within the research community.

5. Conduct dialogue with relevant stakeholders

  • Advising funders on key opportunities and issues (including standards, methods, tools and infrastructures).
  • Liaising and exchanging knowledge with, and advising other stakeholders, including museums, libraries, archives and other cultural heritage organisations.
  • Creating links with relevant commercial organisations (e.g. cultural and creative industries, and technology companies).
  • Liaising with learned societies and other expert bodies
  • Liaising and working with appropriate national, overseas and international organizations

Qualifications and conditions of membership

Membership is open to all qualifying centres of expertise in the digital arts and humanities. They need not be designated as a centre within their own institution, but must have a formal institutional status that recognizes their role in the digital arts and humanities. A qualifying centre

  • is more than a single digital arts and humanities project,
  • must have some history or promise of persistence, and
  • should provide an institutional or inter-institutional focus of activity in the digital arts and humanities.

Network members must demonstrate their ability to contribute to one or more of the strategic aims and objectives of the Network. All members are required to actively contribute time and/or expertise to the activities of the Network.
Membership in the Network is on the level of centre, so institutions can have multiple members. All voting is by the heads of the Centres or their designated representatives. Other representatives of Centres may attend meetings where appropriate, but regardless of the number of representatives of a given Centre at a meeting each Centre will have only one vote.
Candidates for membership of the Network will be submitted for approval to all members and admitted on a simple majority of those voting.


The Network will have a steering committee of six voting members drawn from member centres. There will be an open process of nomination of candidates for election to the steering committee who must be proposed and seconded by members. Steering committee members can be a representative of a Centre, not necessarily the head of a Centre. The steering committee will be elected by members through an open electronic vote. There may not be more than one voting steering committee member from each Centre. Each Centre may vote for as many candidates as there are vacant committee posts.
The committee may co-opt up to three further non-voting members from within or outside the Network. Co-opted members will serve for one year at a time. The steering committee will elect a chair from within its members, and in addition appoint a non-voting secretary, both for a period to be determined. The steering committee chair will also chair full meetings of the Network.

Members of the steering committee will serve for 3 years, with a possible additional 3 year-term, after which they may not be re-elected until a year has passed. In order to provide continuity, the committee should seek as far as possible to exist on a rotating basis, so that two committee posts will be up for election each year. This means that in the first round of elections, two posts will serve for three years, two posts will serve for two years, and two will serve for one year.

The role of the steering committee will be to:

  • propose initiatives and activities for approval by the membership and carry out those that the membership has agreed,
  • consider all proposals for initiatives and activities by the membership,
  • provide regular reports to the membership on its activities,
  • convene regular meetings of the full Network, at least once a year, to which it may invite persons outside the Network where appropriate (e.g. representatives of funding bodies),
  • convene workgroups around specific topics and activities.

The Network has been contracted by the AHRC to carry out the following activities under the joint direction of David Robey and Sheila Anderson:

  • deliver a web page that outlines, with links, the digital resources linked to current AHRC projects
  • assist AHRC both with reviewing the efficacy of the current technical appendix and training technical reviewers in the peer review college
  • establish contact with University research ICT departments in an effort to expand its reach and expertise and possibly the network itself
  • consider options and make recommendations to improve sustainability of key digital resources created through the Research Grants scheme, including amongst others considering the feasibility and legality of a dowry system.
  • advise AHRC on its longer term ICT strategy via the new Advisory Board

The Network will be developing other activities alongside these. It is supported by Lorna Hughes and the JISC-funded site.

If you are interested in joining the Network and believe you qualify as an expert centre, please contact David Robey at

The Network of Expert Centres user group keeps you up to date with news from the Network.