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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Digital Past 2016: Safeguarding Intangible International Cultural Heritage

Donna Mitchenson of Durham University will be at Digital Past 2016 discussing her research into community contribution to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH).

The term ‘creating meaningful transmission experiences’ has been developed to describe situations whereby the interaction between visitor and heritage technology is ‘optimised’. This can be achieved by linking established learning styles with transmission technologies with the aim of enabling an experience whereby the user will retain information. This is key to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in that many previous attempts have fallen into the trap of recording instances of ICH where the digital surrogate is stored away and often forgotten about. This creates a situation whereby this heritage is frozen in time and no longer evolves, something that is in the very nature of ICH. Linking learning with transmission technologies moves beyond this, it works in respect of the evolutionary nature of ICH, and beyond the tired, static, modes of transmission, which are all too often found in museums and at heritage sites.

The constructivist Museum (Source: GEM. Image by: Hein)

Donna will discuss how her research aims to pursue integrated thinking in the quest to safeguard ICH; literature concerning heritage technologies concentrate on the novel nature of technology and heritage communications. This research explores how communities can contribute to the safeguarding and transmission of intangible cultural heritage by co-creation and collaboration strategies. This community involvement also addresses some authenticity issues that may arise in terms of the heritage itself and the way in which it is presented.

Using Durham World Heritage site as an example, the proposed ‘optimisation’ of the interaction between visitor and site will be illustrated. Donna will discuss the use of mobile learning theory to allow a more meaningful interaction and will debate the various mediums by which digital interpretation can be delivered to a visitor; in particular, personal mobile devices with which users often develop emotional connections making the learning experience more personal and creating an opportunity for nurturing an emotional attachment to the heritage itself.

‘Resources are made up of tangible objects, places, people, and events as well as the intangible meanings to which each is linked. To neglect one is to squander the power of both.’

Proposed Durham World Heritage Site Safeguarding of ICH

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