Hackathon, 29 June – 3 July 2020

HANDS:ON is a unique digital training programme for advanced students in the humanities.  Organised by Cambridge University Library and Queen Mary University of London, it provides  students with practical experience in digital methods, technologies, design and collaboration. The theme for 2020 is ‘miniatures’, and students will be working with Tudor portrait miniatures at the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge), liaising with scientists, developers, conservators and curators.

Students from partner institutions will join initial training in preparation for the event, delivered online. Students will then convene for an exciting 5-day event in Cambridge, where they will work in multi-disciplinary teams to develop innovative prototypes for the exploration of manuscripts and artefacts on the web.


Applications are now open for students from participating institutions.  Apply via https://qmhistory.wufoo.com/forms/q1nlnru1m42cwm/. Application deadline is 17:00 (GMT) 4 March 2020.   Applicants would be notified by 13 March.  We have now introduced a new deadline: 17:00 on 13 Mach for late applications.


Pre-hackathon training

Our team will deliver short introductory online modules leading up to the Hackathon on essential basic skills in web technologies, representing text in digital form, digital images, design thinking and collaboration.


Hackathon event

Our programme is well-paced and structured to provide motivation, direction and fun!

  • Day 1 – introduction to the programme, manuscripts, and user personas
  • Days 2-3 – pitch ideas and form teams, work on prototypes
  • Day 4 – mini testing lab, incorporate feedback into prototypes
  • Day 5 – presentation to an audience

Feedback from past hackathon participants

“I really enjoyed the co-operation within our group.”

“The fact that we had chosen manuscripts was also amazing, because we could think about the manuscript, see how it was done and think not only about the content, but also form.”

“I think that for me was most interesting the part with testers, as the feedback proved very useful and helpful for our prototype.”

“Reachable milestones and targets – everyone had something to show for their work by the final presentation.”