Dr Kathryn C. S. Simpson

Digital Humanities Institute

Lecturer in Digital Humanities

Kathryn Simpson
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Dr Kathryn C. S. Simpson
Digital Humanities Institute
Humanities Research Institute
Upper Hanover Street
S3 7QY

I am a Lecturer in Digital Humanities in the Digital Humanities Institute (DHI), with a particular research focus on critical digital cultural heritage.

I was previously a Lecturer in Information Studies at the University of Glasgow and prior to that a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. I am an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

I am a Trustee of the David Livingstone Birthplace, Chair of both the Expert Advisory Panel and of the Audience, Learning, Engagement and Collections Committee. I am an Associate Project Scholar and UK Outreach Coordinator of Livingstone Online 

Research interests

I am interested in digital tools and platforms which support open-access historical research and enable cross-silo scrapping of texts, images and objects to allow us to renegotiate histories in ways which do not belittle or obfuscate traditional knowledges and frameworks whilst providing richer and deeper understanding of heritage.

My current research is three-fold. The project Boundaries of gender: ‘petticoat governments’ and secondary voices in nineteenth century European expeditions of Africa,  uses data mining to foreground the many women, both European and African, who assisted and enabled David Livingstone (1813-1873) in his journeys in Africa.

Ruled Margins: Annie R. Taylor’s Journeys to Tibet is creating a digitally interactive and searchable map of the missionary Annie R. Taylor’s (1855-1922) four journeys to Tibet (EADH funded). Digitally mapping Taylor’s journeys, and embedding the map with XML encoded text and objects, will aid in understanding the process of representation and object acquisition as it pertains to the constructed narrative of nineteenth century European travel. Importantly, this project uses data visualisation to explore ways to tell these narratives that decentre the European traveller.

The Spatial Poetics of Belongings: A digital enquiry into the humanity of objects in museum collections takes items held within a museum collection, and identified as being made by or belonging to women, and identifies ways digital tools can be used to reinscribe original authorship or ownership.

My work engages with digital libraries, digital archives, digitised images, online catalogues and critically reinscribed thick metadatas, as technologies of recovery. The research infrastructure of my work is rooted in a slow critical digital practice which is based in bringing multiple digital tools to bear on a single issue. Using digital tools to identify objects, places and people in the space they inhabit, and narratively, in the space they create.

Teaching interests
  • Digital Humanities
  • Digital Cultural Heritage
  • Information Studies
  • Archival Studies
  • Museum Studies
  • Digitisation
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Digital Nineteenth-Century Curation and Curation
  • Renegotiated Digital Histories

‘Spatial Poetics of “Artefacts”’ Artl@s (pub date winter 2022)

‘Navigating the gendered Victorian archive through digitized collections ’. In preparation with Heather F. Ball (St John’s New York) and Lois Burke (Tilburg University). Literature Compass (pub date 2023).

‘Editing to Avoid Exclusion: Understanding the Subjective Power Dichotomies in Scholarly Editing.’ Scholarly Editing (39) Simpson, K. and Ball, H https://scholarlyediting.org/issues/39/editing-to-avoid-exclusion.

‘The digital archive as space and place in the constitution, production and circulation of knowledge’. In: Ben Fletcher-Watson and Jana Phillips, eds. Humanities of the Future: Perspectives from the Past and Present. Edinburgh: IASH Occasional Papers, vol. 21. pp. 65-82. https://www.iash.ed.ac.uk/occasional-papers

‘Neither Literature Nor Object: Children’s Writing in the Digital Public Realm‘ Burke, L and Simpson K. Magazen. 1.1. http://doi.org/10.30687/mag/2724-3923/2020/02/005

‘A Conversation about Livingstone Online and the Victorian Record of African Exploration.’   Simpson, K, Livingstone, J. and Wisnicki, A. S. 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century. 30 (2020) https://19.bbk.ac.uk/article/id/2934/

‘Project Manuals as Zones of Engagement: Working Across Disciplines in a Digital Project’. dh + lib, Simpson, K. and Ball, H (2019) https://acrl.ala.org/dh/2019/01/18/project-manuals-as-zones-of-engagement-working-across-disciplines-in-a-digital-project/