Creative and Heritage

The theme explores the transformational impact of digital technologies in the arts, education, community and heritage.

Kostas Arvanitis

Theme lead

Dr Kostas Arvanitis

Scope of theme

Working with our cultural assets, external organisations and communities, we will explore how technologies ranging from digital preservation to virtual and augmented reality will provide unprecedented access to cultural heritage, create new cultural experiences, and redefine the media and creative industries landscape.

This theme includes:

  • digital creativity and creative/cultural industries;
  • endangered languages and cultures;
  • digital publics and cultural participation;
  • virtual and augmented reality access to cultural heritage;
  • decision support for arts and culture organisations;
  • new models for media, entertainment and infotainment;
  • immersive and located games.

Our strengths

The University of Manchester is central to the history of computing.

Areas of strength include:

  • transforming physical heritage materials into digital versions for online storage, presentation, and analysis;
  • representing data visually in graphs, plots, charts and maps;
  • discovering and extracting knowledge from the patterns and trends found in large sets of text documents.

Research centres


The NOVARS research centre specialises in the areas of Interactive Music and Media, audification, electroacoustic composition, game-audio, and locative-audio.

Manchester Centre for Correspondence Studies (MCCS)

The Manchester Centre for Correspondence Studies was founded in 2019, following two successful years of the Lives and Afterlives of Letters Network. 

Multilingual Manchester

Multilingual Manchester promotes awareness of language diversity in the city region and beyond. They study the practical challenges and the immense opportunities that language diversity brings.

The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI)

Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute is a leading global centre for the study of humanitarianism and conflict response, global health, international disaster management and peacebuilding.

Digital Humanities

With one of the largest concentrations of humanities scholars in the UK, The University of Manchester is harnessing cutting-edge digital methodologies and tools to address new research challenges in Digital Humanities.

Institute for Cultural Practices (ICP)

The Institute for Cultural Practices provides a platform for innovative research, postgrad teaching and professional development which engages with cultural and heritage producers and organisations in Greater Manchester and beyond


Policy@Manchester aims to impact lives globally, nationally and locally through influencing and challenging policymakers with robust research-informed evidence and ideas.

The Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI)

Sustainable Consumption Institute seeks to advance an understanding of the social practices of production and consumption and the way they shape the sustainable provision of needs.

The Centre for Digital Development

Centre for Digital Development is a multidisciplinary centre researching the role of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital data in global development.

Creative Manchester

Established in 2018, Creative Manchester is developing fast, connecting The University of Manchester, and its cultural institutions to the creative and cultural economy.


Seeing the Invisible at John Rylands Library

Seeing the Invisible at John Rylands Library – curated by Professor Peter E. Pormann and Dr Natalia Smelova, the exhibition was based on ground-breaking research resulting from the AHRC-funded project ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest: Galen's On Simple Drugs and the Recovery of Lost Texts through Sophisticated Imaging Techniques.’ The project revealed how medieval Syriac Christians in the Middle East shaped medical knowledge. 

Multilingual Museum

In the Multilingual Museum project, Manchester Museum partners with Multilingual Manchester to promote inclusion and accessibility and mobilise pride in the city's linguistic diversity.

Manchester Digital Collections

The University has made a major investment in the research infrastructure for digital humanities and digital cultural heritage - the Manchester Digital Collections.

Genealogies of Knowledge

The Genealogies of Knowledge project explores how key cultural concepts have evolved since they first emerged, and how translation has affected our ever-evolving understanding of them.

Mapping: Culture and Geographical Information Science (MCGIS)

Mapping: Culture and Geographical Information Science The MCGIS research group seeks to facilitate collaboration between colleagues with research interests from a variety of geographical sub-disciplines that involve GIS and mapping.

AI and Arts, Culture & Creativity Research

New technologies in Data Science and AI are providing unprecedented access to cultural heritage, creating new cultural experiences, and offering new ways to respond to key research questions in arts, languages, and cultures. To find out more about work in this area and watch presentations from our event, please visit our Spark page.

Unsupervised Machine Learning for Music Working Group

Unsupervised is a new concert series created by the Machine Learning for Music (ML4M) Working Group – a community of composers and audiovisual artists exploring the creative use of emerging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies led by PRiSM (RNCM) Lecturer in Composition, Dr. Sam Salem and Prof. Ricardo Climent, Professor of Interactive Music Composition and Director of NOVARS Research Centre at University of Manchester. Click here for more information.

Steering group

Dr Kostas Arvanitis

Theme Lead and Senior Lecturer in Museology

Kostas research interests cross the fields of museology, archaeology, cultural heritage, and digital media.

His expertise lies in the area of digital heritage that includes the theory and practice of digital technology in museums, galleries and heritage sites.

>He is particularly interested in the museology of technology: the critical analysis of the use of digital, social and mobile media in museums for purposes of curation, interpretation, evaluation and audience engagement.

Professor Ricardo Climent

Professor of Interactive Music Composition, Director of the NOVARS Research Centre

For the last few years, Ricardo's research has focused on the potential of game-audio, physics and graphic engines for compositional purposes, using ‘the aural’ as the primary source for navigation and exploration.

Dr Scott Midson

Lecturer in Liberal Arts

Scott Midson specialises in the study of theology and posthumanism. Currently, he is researching how 'love' can be used to characterise and problematise human-machine relations.

Scott is also involved in setting up the University's Liberal Arts course, based in the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures (SALC).

Dr Stephanie Sodero

Lecturer in Responses to Climate Crises

Stephanie brings together the fields of climate change, mobility, and health to research vital mobilities: movements of people, goods, and information that impact life chances.

Her current focus is on how goods, such as blood, saline IV solution, and oxygen, move from the point of production to the point of care, and in what ways such geographically dispersed supply chains are vulnerable to a changing climate. Climate, mobility, and health justice are central to her work

Dr Hannah Cobb

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Associate Director for eLearning and Teaching Innovation (SALC)

Hannah's research focuses on both contemporary archaeological practice and the British Mesolithic.

In the former, questions of pedagogy, training, equality and diversity are a central concern, in the latter, her research examines the intersection between material culture, landscape and identity.

In both areas, Hannah’s research is informed by posthuman feminism.

Dr Anita Greenhill

Senior Lecturer at Manchester Business School

Anita has an extensive research and publication list exploring the cultural practices of online communities.

She is currently researching the changing role of the city, local communities and their use of community news media in the digital age.

Dr Joanna Taylor

Presidential Fellow in Digital Humanities

Joanna's research focuses on literary geographies of the long nineteenth century, spatial poetics and environmental humanities.

Her previous work includes the post of Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University on the Spatial Humanities project 'Geospatial Innovation in the Digital Humanities: A Deep Map of the English Lake District'.

Her recent work continues to explore the uses of digital technologies in humanities research, particularly at the intersection between literary geographies and environmental studies.

John Hodgson

Associate Director (Curatorial Practices), The University of Manchester Library

John is a member of the Library Executive Team with strategic responsibility for the development, promotion and care of the Library’s outstanding Special Collections of rare books, maps, manuscripts, archives and visual collections.

He leads a team of librarians, archivists, curators, conservators, imaging specialists, and experts in public and academic engagement.

Many are based at The John Rylands Library, a research powerhouse and a major cultural institution. John also leads the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre, a unique library and archive specialising in the study of race, ethnicity and migration, located within Manchester Central Library.

Dr Johannes Sjöberg

Lecturer in Screen Studies

Johannes specialises in screen practice as research and teaches documentary, docufiction and virtual reality film in theory and practice.

His research focuses on crossovers between Anthropology, Media and Performance as reflected in the practice-based AMP PhD he is convening.

Topics of recent research, publications and films include the epistemology of play, ethno science fiction and climate change in ethnographic film.

Steve Devine

Digital Communications Manager at The Manchester Museum and The Whitworth

Steve's work connects with all areas of digital engagement, content and communications across the diverse range of activities at Manchester Museum and the Whitworth.

His experience as a counsellor has led to an interest in the emotional impact of digital technologies.

Find out more