Funding follow-up

Further to a blog post titled Funders and trends in artistic research grants and work carried out as part of the KAPTUR Environmental Assessment report the project team have also been looking at examples of externally funded research projects at each institution. At the project team meeting held in July, each Project Officer talked about two projects at their institution and the Project Manager agreed to follow this up in a blog post. This information is now available in a spreadsheet:

The spreadsheet is also available via this link:

The Project Officers reported that this exercise provided them with more contacts to follow-up on within their institutions and informed the development of the Research Data Management policies. It also provided the project team with a greater awareness of projects at other institutions.


KAPTUR Steering Group meeting, HEFCE, 18th July

View from HEFCE, 12th Floor,
Centre Point, London. Photo: MTG

Key points from the meeting:

  • It was noted that there was diversity among the four institutions in terms of drafting the RDM policies – we can still collaborate and learn from each other – but the approach is necessarily different at each institution.
  • University of the Arts London are really benefiting from their participation in the DCC University Engagement programme; the UAL Project Officer is working an extra day per week on this and as a result has been able to revisit and extend the KAPTUR Environmental Assessment through 20 x 5 minute telephone calls which will be followed up with 1 hour in-depth interviews with visual arts researchers.
  • There was discussion about a definition for visual arts research data and how this might be constraining, but was needed at the same time in order to be able to move forward with the RDM policies. A working definition was presented to the KAPTUR Steering Group 3 months ago in response to questions raised by the UAL working group:
  • Feedback on training/support and the KAPTUR toolkits: recommendation to create KAPTUR videos about visual arts research data instead of hosting workshops at each institution (we already had plans to re-use content from the previous JISCMRD programme e.g. I still think the face-to-face aspect of the workshops would be useful, but maybe there is a way to incorporate shorter sessions and use the videos as part of these? We will discuss at our next project team meeting in September.
  • The Steering Group liked the Figshare interface and thought it would be appealing to visual arts researchers as well as easy to use; there were lots of questions about both DataStage and Figshare.
  • Feedback on Sustainability: recommendation to get an idea of costs of the proposed technical infrastructure to include estimates of staff time required for ongoing support of the systems.

The presentations are available from SlideShare.

The Triumphal Quadriga or Horses of St Mark, facade of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

It was great to welcome Laura Molloy, Researcher at the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII), to the Steering Group meeting. After the meeting Leigh, Laura and I met to discuss the project from the perspective of her role as JISCMRD Evidence Gatherer. As well as discussing impact and gathering evidence about benefits, Laura also came up with the concept of the chariot (KAPTUR project) being pulled by four horses (our four institutions). I really liked this idea of the race and also the need for collaboration to be well-matched in order to make the project successful.

Meeting at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 2nd July

This, our 9th project team meeting, was a bit of an adventure from the start, as the building is so new its postcode has not been picked up by Google Maps yet! However the venue is easy to find with clear markings from King’s Cross to the King’s Boulevard. Once on the 5th floor, there were spectacular views both inside and outside of the building:

CSM Granary Building, London. Photo: MTG

Key points from the meeting:

  • The Technical Manager provided a demonstration of DataFlow’s DataStage, which has now been installed on a local machine for testing purposes. There was also discussion about Figshare.
  • The UAL Project Officer spoke about DCC’s Institutional Engagement work with UAL.
  • Each Project Officer presented about two externally funded visual arts research projects (forthcoming blog post).
  • Everything appears to be on course for draft RDM policies to be approved at the Autumn Research Committee meetings; Project Officers will give short presentations about their RDM policy work at the Steering Group meeting on 18th July.
  • The Project Manager and Project Officers have collaborated on an A-Z of visual arts research data based on quotes from researchers in the KAPTUR Environmental Assessment report (forthcoming publicity and/or blog post).
  • The Project Manager is working with Angus Whyte from DCC to put together a programme for an event on ‘Selecting and Appraising Research Data’, to take place in September.
  • We discussed the timescales for producing the toolkits and institutional workshops; November was scheduled for the workshops. The Project Manager has been in conversation with Joy Davidson of DCC to find out more about the DCC training materials.

Meeting at Goldsmiths College, University of London

Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Photo: MTG

All the members of the project team met at Goldsmiths College, University of London last week in order to collaborate on two aspects of the project: the development of the RDM policies, and the promotion of KAPTUR.

Key points:

  • The Project Manager is working with Angus Whyte and Andrew McHugh from the Digital Curation Centre on two small events: Selecting and Appraising Research Data; and Using the OAIS Functional Model.
  • The Project Officers are each raising awareness of the importance of effective Research Data Management at their institutions; developments seem to be quite diverse between the four institutions although the KAPTUR project represents an opportunity to learn from each other and the nuances of each different institution.
  • The Technical Manager will be installing DataFlow’s DataStage onto his laptop so we can have a demonstration at the next meeting.
  • The Project Officers and Project Manager are working on publicity to further promote the Environmental Assessment report.
  • The Project Director reported that KAPTUR’s abstract for the Digital Humanities Congress 2012, University of Sheffield, had been successful.

Mackintosh and visual arts research data at The Glasgow School of Art

Entrance to The Glasgow School of Art. Photo MTG

Last week the Kaptur team gathered for a project meeting in The Glasgow School of Arts’ incredible Mackintosh building. Representatives from all the project partners met in the Mackintosh room (also known within the School as the Design Room):

“In 1906 Mackintosh was asked to include a new, more formal Board Room into the building and used part of an existing studio on the ground floor, to the left of the entrance. In return what had been the School’s original Board Room, a chiefly white interior on the first floor was turned into a design room. This space (Studio 37) has now reverted back to a meeting room.”

[Text on wall next to the Mackintosh Room]

Fireplace in the Mackintosh Room. Photo MTG

A photograph of the Mackintosh Room by Bedford Lemere (described as The Board Room) shows the fireplace as it was in 1910 [Buchanan (2004) Mackintosh’s Masterwork: The Glasgow School of Art, pp.114-5].

The purpose of the meeting was:

  1. for the project team to be updated about work at each institution in order to enhance collaboration and lessons learned across the partner institutions;
  2. to agree and assign tasks for promoting Kaptur internally/externally to the institutions;
  3. to discuss applicability of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) tools for the modelling and technical work packages.

This was addressed as follows:

  1. each Project Officer reported progress on the development of the institutional RDM policies; the Technical Manager reported progress on the Technical Analysis;
  2. each Project Officer will suggest three different ways of awareness raising within their institution and this will be reported in the next Kaptur monthly blog post;
  3. we were delighted to welcome Martin Donnelly, Senior Institutional Support Officer, DCC to the meeting; it was very useful to ask specific questions within the context of the project team.

Key points to share:

  • A need for awareness raising about managing research data within the institutions through promotion of Kaptur. One of the points to engage researchers is when they ask the institution for Letters of Support for their funding applications.
  • The awareness raising needs to be clear about the differences between data storage and data curation; although the storage aspect may still be an incentive for researchers to manage their research data effectively.
  • On RDM policy development there was some discussion about the pros and cons of a small more research-focused working group compared to a larger working group which may help with embedding and take-up of the policy as well as awareness raising, but may take longer to discuss and approve a policy. Two institutions have smaller working groups and the other two plan working groups with a wider range of stakeholders. It is useful to share these experiences collaboratively.

Mackintosh and visual arts research data:

Detail of bookcase, dark stained oak with leaded glass (1901.038). Photo MTG

This bookcase was originally designed in 1901 by Mackintosh for the drawing room at Windyhill. It was presented to the School by William Davidson on the sale of Windyhill. Also in The Glasgow School of Art’s collection is a scale drawing in pencil with annotations, an example of Mackintosh’s own visual arts research data. Another example is Mackintosh’s Northern Italian sketchbook, available from the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) and also via the project website. The research was part-funded by The Glasgow School of Art and the creation of the database was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Left: Lake Como, Campo, Villa del Balbiano, studies of gates, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1891 © The Glasgow School of Art. Available from VADS:

Right: Modern photo of gates at Lake Como, Campo, Villa del Balbiano © The Glasgow School of Art. Available from VADS:

Kaptur Steering Group Meeting, 6th February 2012

On Monday we held our first Kaptur Steering Group meeting at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. This was followed up with a meeting with Simon Hodson, JISCMRD Programme Manager in the afternoon. There are a lot of action points to follow up from both meetings and further blog posts will follow on some of these.

The presentations given on Monday are available from the Kaptur SlideShare page. As mentioned during the meeting, we are using SlideShare as a way to generate altmetrics for the project and also to ensure ease of access to outputs from Kaptur.

At the Steering Group meeting we were delighted to welcome high-level senior management and Project Sponsors from all four institutions; they were so engaged with Kaptur and keen to get involved to promote the project which was wonderful. Earlier this week I followed up one of the action points from the meeting which was to create a one-side Word document with headlines about Kaptur tailored particularly to the Project Sponsors role. This is to enable them to promote Kaptur more effectively within their institutions. [NB: The Steering Group members had previously received key points in terms of their roles and responsibilities, and the purpose of each steering group meeting when they were invited to join the Steering Group in October. This was followed up with a Steering Group Terms of Reference document a couple of months prior to the meeting.]

Simon Hodson recommended sending the Steering Group members a separate monthly lightweight report i.e. targeted to their needs as opposed to the report sent to Simon and blogged about overall project progress.

This week the Project Officers have been moving onto the next stage of the project – the modelling and technical workpackages – which run parallel and will involve the setting up of working groups at each institution to inform and support these stages. The working groups will continue to build on existing relationships established through the environmental assessment, as well as draw in the full spectrum of stakeholders i.e. IT, Library, Research Office, Researchers etc. The Kaptur Technical Manager has also been setting up meetings with IT at each institution as part of the work he is doing on the Technical Analysis.

#jiscmrd – Day 2 – session report on ‘identifying and supporting researcher requirements’

This session was presented by Jonathan Tedds, Senior Research Liaison Manager (IT Services) at University of Leicester and Meik Poschen, Manchester eResearch Centre (MeRC), Requirements and Evaluation Lead from the University of Manchester. Both presentations were interactive, so the key points in this blog are a mixture of points from their slides and from general discussion. The group raised the issue of commonality in terms of approaches and methodologies to identify researcher requirements; an outcome for the programme could be projects sharing what they are doing in this area. The Sustainable Management of Digital Music Research Data project have written a few blog posts about their methodology.


MaDAM Key points

  • researchers themselves were a useful source of information but it was also important to talk to experimental officers, other PIs, other research groups in order to view the institution’s wider picture
  • for user group scoping try and select groups where there could be mutual benefit – researchers should also get benefit from taking part and giving their time
  • they used an iterative approach; developers and users had a lot of meetings; the project team observed researchers’ work practice; then involved them with the evaluation of the technical system and soft infrastructure
  • funder requirements are now clearer – over the course of an 18 month project things change with researchers and funders
  • one of the huge benefits of MaDAM was awareness raising – at the beginning it may have initially been perceived as increasing researchers’ workload but this perception changes over time as funder requirements have changed – now data management is viewed favourably
  • cultural change is needed, high level institutional support is crucial too
  • importance of personal contact and observation of researchers’ day-to-day research practice
  • some questions:
    how much storage will researcher need over time? how long has data to be kept in an active or easy accessible state for re-use or sharing? how will the relationship between new policies and research practices develop? how will dissemination practices and hence scholarly communications be effected?

The group felt that although researchers were getting more engaged in this area, the research councils need to do more to enable cultural change with researchers i.e. there is a sense that the research councils have panicked the institutions rather than the researchers. One institution mentioned that a major grant was rejected on the grounds of the technical appendix; the group agreed that researchers need to know about this.

Research Data Management at Leicester – key points

  • professorial level champions are good, but also good to get those who are more technically engaged within researcher groups – engaging at different levels
  • in the past a project like HALOGEN would have used in-house IT expertise, but would be a one-off solution; they wanted to be able to re-use the infrastructure for future inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional projects
  • Tedds raised the importance of ensuring that requirements analysis is iterative – continuous engagement
  • challenges included: retro-fitting data to make it interoperable (versioning and provenance issues)
  • key thing is to provide something that is less effort for researchers as it is more standardised
  • there was a great slide on ‘direct benefits’, this included 1.3 million pounds worth of funding from the Leverhulme Trust
  • another great slide on ‘indirect benefits’, which included costs avoided
  • Tedds recommended recognising the different cultures and mindsets – the research liaison role helped with this
  • top tip: grab researchers’ attention when they are applying for funding – system now includes some checkboxes they have to select when applying for funding e.g. ‘do you need support?’ – this also provides a record of demand
  • Leicester’s research computing management group will be chaired by the Pro Vice Chancellor for research so this will feed back to senior management

There was some discussion about the use of SharePoint in the group – the educational pricing for SharePoint in the Cloud is not going to be released now until next Summer.

The group talked about the issue of researchers’ understanding of what research data is; terminology and disciplinary challenges. An example was given of a ‘fabrics database’ which was accepted by an institution – however there was a misunderstanding about what constituted a ‘database’ – an articulated lorry of wool fabric samples turned up = ‘the database’.

We need to provide different options for training – not just face-to-face – as time is a big issue even if researchers recognise they need it. It may be that we could also offer a component to plug into existing courses rather than offering something totally new.

The group discussed the importance of extending training beyond researchers themselves in order to provide consistency across the board irrespective of which department the researchers go to – a common language – a shared agreement of what we are all up to in supporting researchers.