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Paul Spence

Paul Spence

Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7129 
Digital Humanities
King’s College London
Room 208, 26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL  




Paul is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Digital Humanities, with an academic background in Spanish & Spanish American studies. His research has covered four areas: digital textual scholarship, digital publishing, digital humanities pedagogy and global perspectives on digitally mediated knowledge production.

Before entering academia, Paul worked in journalism and English language teaching, spending a number of years in Spain.  He joined King's in 2001 and led the ‘Digital Text’ research team here from 2003 to 2010, when he was responsible for the development of sophisticated and semantically enriched frameworks for information retrieval and digital publication on over 30 research projects. He has led and managed digital humanities research on a number of major interdisciplinary projects of a total value of £5 million, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, AHRC, JISC, Leverhulme Trust and various European funding agencies.

He has twice been acting Head of Department for DDH, has played several senior roles in international digital humanities organisations, and he is particularly active in Spanish language digital humanities, which he has taken a leading role in promoting internationally.

He is part of a multi-institutional team that was awarded £3 million by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)  in 2016 for the four-year ‘Language Acts and Worldmaking’ project, which looks at “how learning a language affords greater cultural understanding of the world through the multilingual and multicultural lens of Iberian languages, empires and contact zones”.

Research Interests and PhD supervision

His research interests are in four main areas:

  • digital textual scholarship
  • digital publishing
  • digital humanities pedagogy
  • global perspectives on digitally mediated knowledge production

Paul has led digital humanities research in a number of funded research projects, including Fine Rolls of Henry IIIGascon Rolls project 1317-1468Out of the Wings, the ‘La entretenida’ digital editionEarly English Laws and Mapping the Medieval Countryside. Together with Paul Vetch, he created the xMod publication tool, which for many years was the chief publication framework used on many of DDH’s major research projects, and which led to the publication tool currently used (Kiln). He also collaborates on the international CHARTA project. These projects allowed him to explore how technical architectures, social practices and digital culture influence the way that we create and disseminate knowledge about the human record in areas such as scholarly editing, historical research and modern languages.

Paul’s current research seeks to explore how digital knowledge practices are changing the way that we record, disseminate and share information when we study human culture, and how these practices are inflected by linguistic and cultural factors. He is currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded ‘Language Acts and Worldmaking’ project. The strand he leads on that project will bring together Modern Languages and digital humanities researchers in examining what kinds of ‘translation’ are enacted as information enters and leaves the digital sphere, and the extent to which data, as a complex cultural product in its own right, represents a meaningful record accessible to Modern Languages research and learning.

Paul welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of his research interests.

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected publications


For a complete list of publications, please see Paul's full research profile.


Paul has extensive teaching experience in different areas of digital humanities teaching at postgraduate level. He is currently programme director for the MA in Digital Humanities and teaches on digital publishing, digitally mediated knowledge production, and critical awareness in relation to the application of digital culture to the study of the human record. He has implemented a major review of the MA in Digital Humanities since taking over as programme director in 2014, and is currently actively promoting innovations in digital humanities pedagogy.

He is also currently Department Education Lead, where he now oversees departmental teaching programmes and fosters pedagogical innovation in areas such as Technology-Enhanced Learning and the Internationalisation of the Classroom.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Paul has served on the steering committees of various Digital Humanities organisations at an international level, including the European Association for Digital Humanities (EADH) and Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). He is currently on the Executive board of Humanidades Digitales Hispánicas (HDH).

He is member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College and regularly reviews research applications for funding bodies in the UK and overseas. He has been on numerous international conference programme committees and was programme chair for the Digital Humanities 2012 conference in Hamburg, Germany. He is on the Editorial/Advisory Boards of various journals, including the Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Caracteres. Estudios culturales y críticos de la esfera digital, Revista Internacional de Humanidades and Janus digital.


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