Big Ideas seminar series

The Big Ideas seminar series is convened by and hosted at The National Archives throughout the academic year. The seminars welcome speakers from institutions across the UK and internationally to present their cutting-edge research. The seminars are open to the academic and research community, as well as the heritage and archival sector.

The aims of the seminar series are:

  1. To build a research community around The National Archives, and encourage the exploration of new research at both a theoretical and practical level with us, as part of our Independent Research Organisation status.
  2. To introduce new theories and innovative methods that may be of interest to or that can be incorporated into the work of seminar attendees.

The seminar series is free to attend but you must sign up in advance to secure your place. You can listen to Big Ideas seminars, including those of previous years, as a podcast series online.

Big Ideas is generously supported by the Friends of The National Archives.

This year’s theme title is ‘Research Practices: Exploring methodologies for innovation and social change’. At this year’s series, we will invite speakers from a range of disciplines to discuss their research practices with a focus on exploring the link between methodology and social impact. As well as unpacking research processes, we aim to highlight the opportunities and challenges that arise from a variety of innovative approaches to research.

Seminar programme 2018-19

Tuesday 9 October 2018 – The John Blanke Project: Art Archive Action: Imagining the Black Tudor Trumpeter

Michael Ohajuru (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK)

Thursday 1 November 2018 – Participatory recordkeeping and the Rights in Records project

Greg Rolan (Monash University, Australia)

Thursday 6 December 2018 – Supporting Practitioner Research in the Museum

Emily Pringle (Tate, UK)

Thursday 7 February 2019 – Environmental Intelligence  … or … Forecasting the future of forecasting

Alberto Arribas (Met Office Informatics Lab, UK)

Thursday 14 March 2019 – Learning from experience: co-producing research to maximise impact

Victoria Hoyle and Elizabeth Shepherd (Department of Information Studies, University College London, UK)

Further seminars in this series will be announced during the academic year.

Seminar programme 2017-18

Tuesday 31 October 2017 – Setting the record straight for the rights of the child

Dr Joanne Evans and Professor Sue McKemmish (Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University, Australia) and Professor Elizabeth Shepherd and Dr Andrew Flinn (Department of Information Studies, University College London, UK)
Listen to the podcast.

Wednesday 22 November 2017 – Surfacing the page

Professor Maryanne Dever (Faculty of Arts of Social Sciences/University of Technology Sydney, Australia), Dr Jacqueline Lorber Kasunic and Associate Professor Kate Sweetapple (Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building/University of Technology Sydney, Australia)
Listen to the podcast.

Tuesday 12 December 2017 – In their own write: welfare, discipline and pauper agency in the Nineteenth Century

Dr Paul Carter (The National Archives, UK)
Listen to the podcast.

Tuesday 20 February 2018 – Artistic practice and the archive

Professor Andrew Prescott (University of Glasgow, UK)
Listen to the podcast.

Friday 23 March 2018 – Probabilistic indexing and archives: does it work?

Associate Professor Seth van Hooland (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)
Listen to the podcast.

Thursday 29 March 2018 – The role of archives in addressing refugee crises

Professor Anne Gilliland (The University of California, Los Angeles) and James Lowry (University of Liverpool)
Listen to the podcast.

Tuesday 24 April 2018 – Datafication, distribution and the future of archival science in the age of homo deus

Dr Victoria Lemieux (University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada)
Listen to the podcast.

Tuesday 8 May 2018 – Is linked data an appropriate technology for implementing an archive’s catalogue?

Dr Jean-Luc Cochard (Swiss Federal Archives, Switzerland)
Listen to the podcast. 

Thursday 17 May 2018 – Entity disambiguation in digital cultural heritage

Assistant Professor Seamus Lawless (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Listen to the podcast.