Join our expenses-paid PhD short course on ‘Digital Data in Practice’ in York!

We’re hosting a three-day design/development workshop in December, open to students in the DialPast network.

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 17.51.40If you are a PhD student whose institution belongs to the Dialogues with the Past (DialPast) network (including universities across Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Sweden), you are eligible to join our expenses-paid short course focused on the critical design and development of digital resources. The course will run from 9-11 December in York, led by myself (Sara), James Taylor, Nicolo Dell’Unto and Åsa Berggren.

You can read the full call for participants below, or on the official DialPast webpages. Note the deadline for applications is 9 September.

Our intent is to work with PhD researchers who have a particular digital resource they wish to develop, and who are keen and willing to shape that resource through a participatory process involving critique and feedback from other PhDs, the course leaders, and digital experts based in and around York. Per the notes below, participants will pre-circulate a short proposal about the resource, then come to York in December to refine it through design sessions and related knowledge sharing events, ultimately producing a plan for implementation.

We hope this will be an exciting, hands-on opportunity to develop new digital media through the lens of critical design and with the support of many great practitioners working in the academic, commercial and charity sectors.

Please consider applying or spreading the word! And do get in touch if you have questions.

Digital Data in Practice – Now and in the Future, PhD Workshop

Time and place: Dec. 9, 2019–Dec. 11, 2019, University of York, King’s Manor

The digital turn in archaeology has meant a rapid development of methods of acquisition, analysis and dissemination, a change of interpretation processes and an opportunity to develop new perspectives and new knowledge. It has also resulted in vast amounts of data and is continuing to do so at a rapid pace. In this workshop we will explore both new digital tools for analysis and dissemination as well as infrastructures for long term repository and archiving.

This workshop aims at developing the digital skills of the students with a particular focus upon critical design of digital projects and their outputs. The workshop is conceived as a continuation of the September 2019 DialPast course “Digital pasts and futures of archaeology,” although it is open to any student with an interest in digital archaeology and in applied digital practice.

York is the home of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), the Centre for Digital Heritage (CDH), and the Digital Creativity Labs (DC Labs), as well as a rich historical landscape that enables us to immediately apply our ideas and digital tools to local sites. Through engagement with these organisations and heritage partners in York and practical sessions, we will explore the state of the art as it relates to archiving, databases, access, sustainability, app development, web and social media development, digital curation, gaming, 3D recording and modelling, and other forms of interactive media. We will use the facilities of the CDH and ADS, as well as the local heritage landscape, to explore in hands-on fashion the future (and past) of digital archaeology. Students will develop proposals for independent digital projects, refined through design work and critical conversation with the instructors and the class. The aim is to leave the workshop with a realistic, critically-informed plan for a producing a digital resource that can be implemented by students in the future.

Course Work

The course will consist of practical design sessions and tours led by key digital institutions in York. Before the course starts, each PhD student will prepare a written proposal for pre-circulation concerning the development of a specific digital resource or output. The 5-page proposal (Times New Roman 12, Spacing 1.5) should provide description of (1) the purpose of the digital resource and a critical rationale for its development; (2) the intended audiences or users of the resource and how their needs are to be served by it; (3) the digital technologies to be used in the project and critical reflection on their strengths and weaknesses in relation to audience and project needs; (4) the archaeological or heritage context (i.e., the site, landscape, time period or other geographical location, event, theme or any specific context within which your project is situated).

Students will refine their proposal in York through participation in the design sessions and tours, and then will present a brief summary and plan for implementation to the class. Students will be offered critical feedback on their plans from the instructors and cohort.

Lecturers:

Dr. Åsa Berggren (Lund University)

Ass. Prof. Nicolo Dell’Unto (Lund University)

Dr. James Taylor (University of York)

Dr. Sara Perry (University of York)

Credits

3 ECTS

Location, Travel and Costs

The Graduate School will finance and arrange travel and accommodation, and supply a daily allowance during the seminar for all participating PhD students who are part of the Dialogues With the Past network.Two and two PhD students will share a room.

Registration

The Graduate school invites all registered PhD students to apply for participation. Please follow this link to apply for the course (in English only). From these applications, c. 10 PhD students will be admitted to the course.

For more information, please contact: dial-past@iakh.uio.no

Important Dates

Application for participation: September 9, 2019.

Submission of written proposals (5 p., Times New Roman 12, Spacing 1,5): Nov 11, 2019.

Can you help evaluate our multi-person VR experience?

Volunteers needed to assist with Virtual Reality case study for EMOTIVE Project…

EMOTIVE VR Experience
Partners on the EMOTIVE Project testing an early single-user version of the Çatalhöyük virtual reality experience. Photo by NOHO / Karolina Badzmierowska.

The EMOTIVE team, led by University of York MSc researcher Kristen O’Connor in collaboration with teams at INRIA in France, ATHENA in Greece, and CNR in Italy, has been developing a virtual reality (VR) experience of the archaeological site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey. We need your help!

While VR for heritage is a relatively young field, there are a number of common VR practices which we think detract from the overall user experience. For instance, heritage VR tends to place people alone in a visually-stunning but largely stale environment. These experiences do little to make archaeology and heritage more accessible to wider audiences, who perhaps want to do more than simply look. This is why we have designed a new take on heritage VR, focusing on a shared user experience in an environment of doing.

Our Çatalhöyük VR project is multi-player, allowing people who haven’t met before to explore and interact together at the virtual site. We have also used multiple stages of user feedback to inform the experience design. Currently in the last stage of development, we would like your help to provide input for the project’s final iteration. 

We are holding a Workshop at King’s Manor (Room K/G 60) on August 9, from 1pm, and we need a handful of volunteers. This workshop will involve a test between you and another volunteer, who will be joining the experience remotely from one of our partner sites abroad.

Volunteers should:

  • Be aged 14 and up.
  • Have used VR of any type before, at least once, and be comfortable using an HTC Vive (VR system).
  • Be comfortable testing a prototype VR experience which is still under development.
  • Be willing to meet new people, share something about yourself, and explore new concepts about archaeology together. Ideally, you are not employed in the heritage, archaeology, or museums sector.
  • Be willing to allow parts of your participation to be recorded, photographed, and observed. This information will be analysed to inform research on heritage VR, as well as to contribute to changes to the final release of the Çatalhöyük VR experience.

If you are interested to participate, or know of someone who might be, please can you contact the lead researcher on this project, Kristen O’Connor, by email (kristen.oconnor@york.ac.uk) before Tuesday, August 6.

Thank you!

New adventures! Moving on to Museum of London Archaeology – MOLA

From November 2019, I’ll be joining the MOLA team in London…

Screenshot of the top banner from the MOLA website, depicting archaeological specialists excavating an unidentified site.
Screenshot from MOLA Website. Read more about MOLA’s scope and activities.

I want to end the week by sharing with you an exciting piece of news that’s gone public today… **drum roll**

From November, I will be moving to London to join the incredible team at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) in the role of Director of Research and Engagement. I am genuinely elated about this opportunity!!

The position will allow me to work with many of the best professionals in the sector – archaeologists, engagement experts, specialists in conservation, environment, community, design, visualisation, publication, digital media, and more – to grow the scope and reach of MOLA’s research and engagement activities.

There’s much to say about the position, about all the exciting things planned at MOLA, and about all the exciting things that MOLA can (and does) make possible for archaeology and heritage more broadly. For now, though, I’ll sign off to celebrate! I’m indebted to my colleagues, friends, mentors and students at the Department of Archaeology in York for giving me the chance to grow, teach, learn, research, laugh, play, test, evaluate, revise, and always strive for meaningful forms of success tailored to specific audiences and needs. This exciting opportunity for me is born of York’s community and its support of my teams’ work with many other communities around the world. Thank you.

Here’s to new adventures!