About Deb

Position:         Professor, Digital Humanities and Women's & Gender Studies

University:    University of Alberta 

Faculty:           Faculty of Arts (FoA)

Email:              hello at debverhoeven dot com

Twitter:           @bestqualitycrab

Professional History & Research Interests

I am a Professor at the University of Alberta and hold the Canada150 Research Chair in Gender and Cultural Informatics (Digital Humanities/Women’s and Gender Studies). I am also the Director of the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) Project. I was previously Associate Dean of Engagement and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

I currently serve on the boards of NDRIO (New Digital Research Infrastructure Organisation) and CANARIE. I also sit on the international Research Data Advisory Board for Elsevier. I previously served as inaugural Deputy Chair of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (2008-2011) and as CEO of the Australian Film Institute (2000-2002). 

I was the founding Director of the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) Project. HuNI is a national virtual laboratory for humanities researchers. Its a large-scale interoperability initiative that brings together 17 institutional partners including universities, cultural institutions such as the National Library, eResearch agencies, and the private sector.

My specific research interest lies in extending the limits of conventional film studies; exploring the intersection between cinema studies and other disciplines such as history, information management, geo-spatial science, statistics, urban studies and economics. In addition to scholarly publications and media appearances, I have focused on the development of online research resources such as the Cinema and Audiences Research Project (CAARP) database, an ongoing exploration of big cultural data (kinomatics) and The Ultimate Gig Guide (TUGG) an online archive of live music information.

I have a long association with the Australian film industry in a variety of roles including serving as CEO of the Australian Film Institute and Deputy Chair of the National Film and Sound Archive.

I am available to speak on a variety of topics. I have presented around the world on:

  • Big Data – what is it and why should it matter to us?
  • Creative Industries – is the film industry really doomed?
  • Crowdfunding – how does crowdfunding academic researchers change everything for universities?
  • Digital Infrastructure – building the systems that let us do more than just change lanes in the information superhighway

I also enjoy microblogging as @bestqualitycrab on twitter.

Grants and Awards

Over the past ten years I have been named on successful competitive research and research  infrastructure grants worth $4.8 million AUD, including three Australian Research Council Discovery Grants and two ARC LIEF grants. In the past 5 years I was lead CI on projects granted more than $3.1m AUD. Recent recognition of my work includes:

Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Centre Fellow, Australian National University (2014)

Winner (HuNI), Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) Audience Award (2014 )

Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research Partnerships, Deakin University (2013)

Australia's Most Innovative Academic, Campus Review (2013)

Winner, ATOM Awards (Best Tertiary Education Resource) Bonza: an online film and TV research resource (2010)

Finalist, Victorian Community History Awards for Parlato in Italiano (2010)

Honorary Creative Fellowship, State Library of Victoria (2009-2010)

Board Appointments

Statutory Board Appointment

Inaugural Deputy Chair, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) (2008-2011)
Appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts. Specific responsibilities include: Audit Committee; Stakeholders and Research Committee; Legal Deposit Working Group (Chair)


Honorary Life Member, Women in Film & Television (WIFT) (2004)


Inaugural Committee, Australasian Association of the Digital Humanities (aaDH) (2011-present)

Founding Executive Member, Research Fellow, Screen Economics Research Group (SERG) (2006-present)

Founding Executive Member, Archive Forum (2002-present)

Founding Executive Member, Open Spectrum Australia (2005-2008)

Elected, Board of Directors, Australian Film Institute (1998-2002)

Founding Executive Member, WIFT (Australia) (1990-93)

Executive member, WIFT (Victoria) (1988-93)


Digital Futures Advisory Council Member, Department of Economic Development Tourism and the Arts, Tasmania

Advisory Group Member, Find and Connect Web Resource (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs)

Editorial Board (2006-present), and Executive Editor (2009-2010), Studies in Australasian Cinema (UK)

Board of Management (2002-2012), and President (2009 to 2012), Senses of Cinema

Research Data Advisory Board, Elsevier (2016-2018)

Research Data Storage (RDS) Culture & Community Advisory Board (2015-present)


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