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Ian Gregory

Distinguished Professor of Digital Humanities

BA: Geography (Lancaster); MSc: Geographical Information Systems (Edinburgh); PhD: Historical GIS (London)

Department of History
Lancaster University
Lancaster, LA1 4YT, UK

Room: B144, Bowland

I work in Digital Humanities and am particularly interested in using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with texts as well as the more traditional quantitative sources. I have used these approaches to study a range of topics from historical demography to Lake District literature. This research has been the subject of a number of major projects including the European Research Council funded Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places, the Leverhulme Trust funded Geospatial Innovation in the Digital Humanities and, most recently, the ESRC/NSF Funded Space Time Narratives project.

Research interests:

1. The use of conventional Historical GIS techniques to study long-term change in Britain and Ireland in particular through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

2. Using GIS to explore textual sources, especially large corpora, through the combined use of geo-parsing, spatial analysis and corpus linguistics techniques.

3. Developing an understanding of what GIS has to offer to the humanities and developing the use of these technologies in disciplines including history and literary studies.

4. Using digital technologies across the humanities and social sciences to gain a better understanding of the past.

Digital Humanities:

I co-founded and co-direct Lancaster’s Digital Humanities Centre which draws together methodological expertise in fields such as spatial humanities, corpus linguistics, natural language processing and artificial intelligence, and applies them accross humanities disciplines. For more on this, including a list of the projects we are undertaking and opportunities for post-graduate study see the Digital Humanities Centre's website.

Grant funding:

I have been awarded around 25 grants, 14 of them as PI, including projects from the European Research Council, Arts & Humanities Research Council, Economic & Social Research Council and Leverhulme Trust. These have mainly been concerned with using geographical technologies to better understand the geographies of our history and culture. Recent funded projects include:

  • Understanding space and time in narratives through qualitative representations, reasoning and visualisation (ESRC/NSF funded)
  • Revealing long-term change in vegetation landscape: The English Lake District and beyond (AHRC funded)
  • Envisaging Landscapes and Naming Places: the Lake District before the map (British Academy funded)
  • Space and narrative in the Digital Humanities: A research network (AHRC funded)
  • Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places (ERC funded)
  • Geospatial Innovations in the Digital Humanities: A deep map of the English Lake District (the Leverhulme Trust)
  • Digging into Early Colonial Mexico: A large-scale computational analysis of 16th century historical sources (ESRC, Trans-Atlantic Platform funded)
  • Creating a Chronotopic Ground for the Mapping of Literary Texts: Innovative Data Visualisation and Spatial Interpretation in the Digital Medium (AHRC funded)
  • ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) (ESRC funded)
  • Newspapers, poverty and long-term change. A corpus analysis of five centuries of texts (Newby Trust funded)
  • Great War Lancaster: Streets of Mourning and Community Memory (Heritage Lottery Fund)
  • Reassembling the Republic of Letters (COST)
  • Troubled Geographies: Two centuries of religious division in Ireland (funded by the AHRC/ESRC's Religion & Society programme)
  • Mapping the Lakes (British Academy funded)
  • Spatial Humanities Conference:

    I organised the first Spatial Humanties Conference at Lancaster in 2016. Since then we have held it biennially in 2018 (Lancaster), 2021 (Lisbon, hosted remotely due to the pandemic), and 2022 (Ghent). We will announce the venue for the 2024 conference soon.

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