Be Inspired! – the first event held by the Great Writers Inspire project – took place on December 14th at the English Faculty in Oxford.
The event had two main aims – to bring friends of the project together to share thoughts and ideas, and to capture material that will be used in the project.
The event started with a panel session discussion issues related to the practice of using digital resources in teaching and public engagement.
Eric Meyer, Oxford Internet Institute, kicked off the session by talking about impact. What is impact and why should you think about it? How can you measure impact? He pointed to work done by the Oxford Internet Institute, and recommended the Toolkit they have developed and that is available online.
Giles Bergel, Faculty of English, followed on placing he brief talk in the context of using rare and valuable books in teaching. What happens of you don’t have the original? A modern, low-cost re-print of an old book makes the text more easily available, but will obviously not be capturing all features of the original, for example the thickness of the original paper. An electronic version has further limitations, but also offers additional benefits. Giles showed examples of this, such as collaborative projects where literary texts are combined with additional material to offer a richer resources.
Abigail Willams showed how you can take academic activity, such as a digitisation project, and use it and its outputs in other contexts. Performing ballads in a home-like environment offers the audiences chance to hear material they may not otherwise have heard. Placing the material in this context also allows the researcher a chance to experience it in a new way that can offer valuable insights.
Katharine Lindsay, Oxford University Computing Services, talked about the work of the Great War Archive and WW1 Poetry Digital Archive and how the projects captured and created material with the help of the public.
Emma Smith, Faculty of English, chaired the session and invited everyone to take part in the discussion. Among the topics that were discussed included questions about the role of the audience/people outside the project and what we should be thinking about relating to audiences.