James Baker is a Senior Lecturer in Digital History and Archives at the University of Sussex and at the Sussex Humanities Lab. He is a Software Sustainability Institute Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and holds degrees from the University of Southampton and latterly the University of Kent, where in 2010 he completed his doctoral research on the late-Georgian artist-engraver Isaac Cruikshank.
James is an expert in the authority of the digital record, the history of knowledge organisation, historical interactions with information technologies, and the history of the printed image.
The digital age has changed our relationship with authority, in particular those traditional markers of authority: the document, the archive, the catalogue. To investigate this societal challenge, his active funded research projects focus on legacy descriptions of art objects (‘Legacies of Catalogue Descriptions and Curatorial Voice: Opportunities for Digital Scholarship‘, Arts and Humanities Research Council), the preservation of intangible cultural heritage (‘Coptic Culture Conservation Collective‘, British Council, and ‘Heritage Repertoires for inclusive and sustainable development‘, British Academy), and decolonial futures for museum collections (‘Making African Connections: Decolonial Futures for Colonial Collections‘, Arts and Humanities Research Council).
Prior to joining Sussex, James held positions of Digital Curator at the British Library and Postdoctoral Fellow with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College, a convenor of the Institute of Historical Research Digital History seminar, a member of The Programming Historian Editorial Board and a Director of ProgHist Ltd (Company Number 12192946), a committee member of the Archives and Records Association (UK) Section for Archives and Technology, and an International Advisory Board Member of British Art Studies.