Shared digital heritage experiences

Read about our early experiments with emotional group tours of heritage sites…

Perry_Figure_3.jpg
Pairs of users touring Çatalhöyük’s replica houses as part of a collaborative digital experience centred around reflecting on egalitarian ways of life. Photo by me.

I’m so pleased to announced that our chapter in the phenomenal Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites has been published. Many of the folks I admire the most in the digital field have chapters in this volume, so it’s a huge honour to be featured in this volume!

As part of the EMOTIVE project, we’ve been developing a variety of multi-person digital heritage experiences, for onsite, offsite and hybrid use, that seek to provoke critical emotional interactions between users. We do this by:

  • embedding human values and morals into the experiences,
  • organising the experiences such that they must be done in groups (not individually),
  • progressing the experiences by having groups make critically reflective decisions about how to move from one stage of the experience to the next,
  • then evaluating how different demographics navigate the charged engagements that come from such group-based exploration of social values.

This chapter delves into our group mobile experience for the site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey, where participants have to literally give away one of their own possessions as a means to explore the nature of Neolithic egalitarian life.

Since we prepared the chapter in early 2018, we’ve subsequently refined the experience and conducted far more extensive evaluations. But here we give our preliminary findings and walk you through the existing literature on group experiences, suggesting the potentials of this line of work.

We are now working on another publication that (drawing on our more recent evaluations) reflects on how we might articulate – and evaluate – a social justice model for heritage interpretation. Stay tuned!

As ever, we welcome constructively critical feedback on our work. You can download a copy of the pre-print version of the chapter on ResearchGate or on Academia.edu.

For those of you who use text readers or prefer access to a text file, you can also download a Word version of the pre-print chapter.

Please cite as: Perry, Sara, Roussou, Maria, Mirashrafi, Sophia S., Katifori, A., and McKinney, Sierra (2019) Shared digital experiences supporting collaborative meaning-making at heritage sites. In Hannah Lewi, Wally Smith, Dirk vom Lehn, Steven Cooke (eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites. London: Routledge. Pp. 143-156. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429506765

Critical public archaeologies

New open access publication on public archaeology and the arts of engagement…

PublicArchaeology

Just published! Download your own copy or purchase a hard copy from the Archaeopress shop (http://www.archaeopress.com/)

If you haven’t yet seen it, the new edited volume by Howard Williams, Caroline Pudney and Afnan Ezzeldin on Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement has just been published open access by Archaeopress. You can download the full book, or purchase a copy (with a 20% discount).

I was honoured to be asked to write the foreword for this impressive collection, which I believe is truly unique in terms of the range of contributors and the constructively critical nature of all of their contributions. Howard provides a nice overview of the volume on his blog, offering more context on how the volume differs in exciting ways from others on the same subject matter.

For my part, the invitation to contribute gave me the opportunity to reflect on an event that has haunted me for the past two years. Howard, Caroline and Afnan were wonderfully supportive in enabling me to link the key insights from the various chapters in this volume to a very personal and embarrassing public experience that shaped me profoundly as a practitioner. It was not the first time that a session that I’ve led has gone unexpectedly off course, but it was unique in the humiliation that I was subjected to, and the lack of empathy displayed by senior members of the audience. That experience captured within it many of my concerns about how we engage in critical public archaeology and what expectations we do and do not have for studying the consequences of our public/community practices.

A copy of my foreword can be downloaded here, and it’s allowed me to come to terms with the event through engaging with the brilliant contributions to the edited volume. I was also able to weave in reference to some of the other key professionals whose work resonates very deeply with me (and with the ideas and critiques of the authors in Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement). These inspiring professionals include Katherine Cook, Laura Heath-Stout, Kate Ellenberger and Lorna Richardson, Harald Fredheim, Rachael Kiddey and Sarah May, among others.

I hope you might take the time to read the volume overall, not least because it blends a range of different communication styles with insights from junior through to senior archaeologists and heritage practitioners. It’s a model for future publications of this sort and it offers much motivation for future critical community and public archaeologies.

A Contemporary Context? Recording Sheets for the Sublime and Ungrateful

Join Colleen Morgan and me for this exploratory workshop on archaeological recording at CHATmethod, 1 November

Advert for @clmorgan and @archaeologistsp workshop on contemporary recording practices, including name and details of the event, and image of Colleen in a generic excavation unit recording indiscernible features of the unit.
We are hosting a creative workshop on context sheets, 1 November 2019 at 14:00, Mortimer Wheeler House, London. Join us!

What does it look like to rethink your archaeological records for contemporary sites, audiences, needs?

The amazing Colleen Morgan and I have finally found time to coordinate an event that we’ve been discussing for a while now – namely a mischievous group effort to critically reflect on and (re)design archaeological and heritage recording sheets. These primary data records are fundamental to our professional practices, but they may actually be problematic – even dangerous – for what we wish to achieve as contemporary practitioners, as carers for the past, and as citizens of the world.

Come join us to experiment with context sheets next month at the CHATmethod conference, hosted by my soon-to-be new employer, Museum of London Archaeology! Register for the conference via its Eventbrite page, and please make sure to then book onto our workshop.

Details of our session are pasted below and are available via an accessible Google Doc. Please don’t hesitate to contact Colleen or myself with questions.

A Contemporary Context? Recording Sheets for the Sublime and Ungrateful

Colleen Morgan, University of York, @clmorgan
Sara Perry, MOLA, @archaeologistsp

Join us for this playful workshop on 1 November 2019 from 14:00-16:30 at Mortimer Wheeler House, London

The archaeological context sheet has been fashioned and refashioned extensively since its adoption. These context sheets are embedded within disciplinary lineages and reflect the questions and assumptions of archaeological knowledge making, both on the intimate and global scale. In this workshop we use the context sheet as a platform for reflection and play, with a particular intention to query its utility in recording contemporary archaeological contexts.

For this workshop we envision a hands-on, creative, trouble-making session, including constructive critique and display of our various takes on the contemporary context sheet. Join us to experiment with ruining and re/designing one of archaeologists’ most ubiquitous inscription devices.