Workshop on the Co-Design of Digital Experiences in Archaeology, 1-2 April, 2019

Join us in York in April 2019 for a 2-day workshop exploring co-design for digital archaeology/heritage projects…

 

Co-design of digital experiences in archaeology
Designing with and for your audience… join us in York to develop user-driven digital experiences for archaeology and heritage. Photo thanks to Sarah Drewell and the York Young Archaeologists’ Club (https://www.yac-uk.org/clubs/york)

Francesca Dolcetti, Rachel Opitz, and myself are very excited to announce that we will be hosting a workshop in York in April on digital experience co-design for archaeologists and heritage practitioners. Generously sponsored by the EU Cost Action ARKWORK, and linked to our forthcoming roundtable on User Experience at the CAA conference in Poland, this two-day event will entail small groups working together through a four-phase model (case study description, experience design, prototyping, & evaluation), towards the creation and critique of mock-up digital archaeology/heritage experiences.

We are seeking a small group of interested participants to join us for this expenses-paid workshop on 1-2 April. To be eligible, you must be a member of ARKWORK, and you can apply to join via ARKWORK’s ‘join us’ page. We are particularly keen to support participants from Inclusiveness Target Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.

Please read below for a fuller description of the intent of the workshop, its schedule, and how to apply. The deadline for expressions of interest is 16 December. We hope to host you in York!


Co-Design of Digital Experiences in Archaeology, 1-2 April, 2019

King’s Manor, University of York, York, UK

User experience (UX) is a critical component of effectively mobilizing legacy datasets and collections in archaeology. In this sense, it is crucial to the success of the discipline as a scholarly, professional and pedagogical pursuit. However, our understandings of UX in archaeology, and our tools to facilitate UX design and evaluation, are arguably negligible. This workshop is focused on the interdisciplinary co-creation and user testing of digitally-mediated experiences geared at archaeological sites and collections. It aims to provide a forum for testing the benefits of design strategies and tools coming from the field of Participatory Design, and devising a digital publication work pipeline that involves end users and stakeholders from the outset. We seek to bring together a multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners working in the field of archaeological knowledge production, use and communication.

The activities proposed here will provide practical experiences on how to integrate archaeological data, storytelling and digital platforms to encourage professional and wider public engagement with the past. Moreover, the workshop aims to foster reflections on the importance of evaluation and iterative design, especially within the prototyping phase, to create experiences bespoke to diverse users’ needs and expectations.

The workshop is organised as a two-day event with participants working in 4 groups, structured in four phases:

  • case study description: each group will work on a preselected case study and articulate its basic information and available sources (metadata/paradata);
  • experience design: each group will define both contents and intended audience, what kind of message they intend to convey and how to structure the experience;
  • prototyping: each group will build a 2D/3D paper mock-up to visualise the experience and make it tangible;
  • evaluation: each group will act as end users and cross-evaluate other groups’ experiences.

1 April

9.30-10.00 introductions

10.00-10.30 coffee break

10.30-11.00 introduction to the aim and structure of workshop activities

11.00-12.30 activity 1: case study description

12.30-13.30 lunch break

13.30-15.30 activity 2: experience design

15.30-16.00 coffee break

16.00-17.00 discussion

19.00 Social dinner

2 April

9.30-10.00 resume activities

10.00-10.30 coffee break

10.30-12.30 activity 3: prototyping

12.30-13.30 lunch break

13.30-16.00 activity 4: evaluation

16.00-16.30 coffee and final discussion

Call for participants

We are looking for 16 participants who

  • are working on projects focused on the creation of digital resources related to archaeological collections and heritage sites;
  • have research interests in UX design, UX evaluation and participatory design fields.
  • Are a member of COST Action ARKWORK.  If you are interested in joining the action please contact the workshop organisers, and submit an expression of interest at https://www.arkwork.eu/join-us/

If you are interested in participating in this workshop, please send a short expression of interest (no more than 150 words) to Francesca Dolcetti (fd648@york.ac.uk).

Deadline for expressions of interest is Sunday 16 December 2018.

Participation to this event is open to Arkwork members only. If you are interested in joining the Action please contact the workshop organisers, and submit an expression of interest at https://www.arkwork.eu/join-us/

Keen on digital media applications? Seeking reviewers!

Contribute a (paid) critical review of archaeology-themed digital media to the journal Advances in Archaeological Practice…

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I’m very excited to announce that the Society for American Archaeology‘s (SAA) journal Advances in Archaeological Practice has recently launched a new section to appear in all future issues of the publication. We’re calling this section “Digital Reviews”.

You can read more about these Digital Reviews here (via the journal’s online presence) or on my academia.edu profile. The reviews will be short, critical commentaries on digital media produced for archaeology and heritage audiences. By digital media, I mean any computer-based communication form meant to engage wide groups of people. These could include YouTube videos, podcasts, Snapchat or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter sites, subReddits, TED talks, apps, video-games, blogs and other online forums, digital TV programmes or news channels, online collections, virtual museums, SoundCloud accounts or other audio files delivered through digital means. Effectively any kind of digital communication platform that’s been deployed in the name of archaeology / heritage is open to review.

The intent of these reviews is to critically evaluate archaeologically-themed media with the same rigour as we apply to book reviews. We’re following a model akin to the reviews section of Internet Archaeology, with a concern for the full range of media being produced for public audiences about heritage/archaeology. Every issue will focus on a specific type of media: August’s Advances will feature a review of Minecraft applications at heritage institutions by Eleanor Styles; November’s Advances attends to online news reporting about archaeology, authored by Adrian Maldonado.

We are in the fortunate position of being able to offer authors a payment for their contributions – to be distributed upon final publication of the review in the journal. We’ve established a flat-rate fee for authors, so please approach me if you’d like more detail.

Following publication in the journal, authors can upload an openly-accessible copy of their reviews on their own webpages or other online profile (with credit to Advances in Archaeological Practice as the original publication venue). And we are amenable to any and all suggestions about types of digital media to review. I’m particularly keen to see a selection of impactful heritage-themed blogs, e-books, online collections, virtual museums, YouTube (or other) videos, podcasts (or other audio products), and mobile apps subject to critical reflection through Digital Reviews.

I’ve reprinted our author specifications, as outlined on the SAA’s webpage, below. As I’m now the Digital Reviews Editor for the journal, please contact me if you’re interested in writing a review, if you’d like to talk through possible review subjects, or if you know of others who we might approach to prepare future reviews. Very much looking forward to reading your reflections on archaeology’s various digital applications and otherwise building the presence of the SAA’s Advances in Archaeological Practice journal. I hope to hear from you!

Digital Reviews

Digital Reviews are 1500-2000 word assessments of digital media applications that have been produced to engage general and specialist audiences with archaeology and heritage. Going beyond standard book or exhibition reviews, these commentaries are intended to subject current initiatives directed at archaeology’s digitally-savvy publics to comparison and critical reflection. They might explore discipline-relevant blogs, YouTube videos, virtual reality or augmented reality applications, TED talks, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat sites, web-based crowdsourcing projects, online collections, video games, virtual worlds or other media of interest to wide markets. Review authors will provide constructive, professional and courteous – yet critically-engaged – appraisals of the content, significance and impact of these media. Each review should be oriented around a discussion of one, two or three medium-specific digital initiatives (e.g., mobile apps or virtual museums), briefly summarizing them, contextualizing them against one another (and against related initiatives), and offering thoughtful critique of their presentation, methods, objectives and emotional, physical and intellectual effects upon audiences.

Reviews should be written for a wide readership and at a level that high school students can comprehend. Authors are encouraged to reprint their reviews on their personal or professional webpages (giving clear acknowledgment to Advances in Archaeological Practice as the original publication venue), in order to broaden the reach and accessibility of the commentary. Reviews should (1) rigorously evaluate archaeology’s digital media; (2) showcase to readers the breadth and depth of relevant digital media production today; and (3) provide a space of comparison between – and critical engagement with – such productions to enable others to build upon them.

Heritage interpretation in the wild: Using medium.com to teach heritage practice

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Screenshot of some of my Master’s students’ medium.com shares on Twitter, using hashtag #yorkchm2

As some of you know, I’ve been experimenting this term with the integration of a new mode of digital engagement into my Master’s-level teaching at the University of York. The term has just ended, and the experiment has proven to be far more successful than I could have hoped. In spite of a couple of hiccups along the way, my students have authored a series of truly fascinating and thought-provoking heritage-related articles on medium.com. A background on the project is articulated here. The full range of publications (seven in total) is viewable here (or search for hashtag #yorkchm2). For those interested in pedagogy, it’s perhaps worthwhile to look at the background document first to get a sense of the rationale for applying medium.com. Among other things, I am limited to just 2 hours of in-class contact time per week with my cohort of nearly 50 Master’s students, so I have long been looking for ways to extend the classroom beyond its physical walls and logistical constraints. These publications represent one mode of learning and engagement that weave together with a series of other modes – both digital and analogue.

To briefly introduce the articles:

  • When is a museum not a museum but an experience? Read “Small Museum, Big Impact? Two kings, two gates, one city” – a lively discussion of two of The Jorvik Group’s visitor attractions by Noah Todd, Sally Toon, Celeste Flower, Natasha Anson, Katherine Anderson and Claire Boardman.
  • For an inspiring and entirely original application of the MuseumHack concept to the York Art Gallery, do not miss “Hacking the Gallery! How to Get Teenagers into Art” by Louise Calf, Katie Campbell, Meghan Dennis, Alice Green, Andrea Marcolongo, Benjamin Richards, and Inez Williams
  • For those keen on mobile apps, check out “Debates in app-cessibility: Is the use of mobile apps in heritage contexts enhancing or impeding?” by Gill Bull, Laura Saretsky, Jason Kosh, Amedeo Viccari, Veronica Smith, Aimee Hardy, and Olivia Morrill
  • If you are interested in innovations in digital exhibition and memorialisation, see Geneviève Godin, Valeria Cambule, Charlotte Jenkins, Ben Culpin, Alexander Mitchell, and Nadine Loach’s critical review of the fantastic Project Mosul: “A Digital Afterlife for Destroyed Heritage”
  • Have you heard of the estate of Park Hill? Interested in how to manage the many histories and values of contemporary urban sites? Then see the proposal “Park Hill: Past and Present” developed by Joelle-Louise Hall, Benjamin Gill, Joy Kemp, Caitlin Crosby, Hannah Page and Georgina Pike.
  • If you’re concerned about issues of access, and interested to experiment with extending the reach of already-known heritage spots, please check out the proposed project of Alison Edwards, Apoorva D. Goyle, Matthew Hargreaves, Aoife Kurta, Charlotte Roden, Helen Simmons, and Alice Trew, “Lowry’s York: Your York”.
  • And to witness amongst the most ambitious projects that I’ve ever seen developed and implemented in just a few weeks’ time, view and contribute to the exhibition #CurateMyLife – a full multi-media campaign launched by Lucie Fletcher, Emma Grange, Ana Paz, Margaret Perry, Ben Philips & Eleanor Styles. As the authors/curators describe it, #CurateMyLife aims to “help all generations of people to view heritage as a truly fluid aspect, which surrounds and encompasses every aspect of life, and, by sharing this personal heritage, it…help[s] to blur boundaries between different individuals and maybe even usher in new forms of educative liberalism and awareness of life, in addition to providing new inspiration for future exhibitions.”

I would be very keen to receive your feedback regarding this project overall, as well as regarding my students’ specific publications/responses to the project brief. If you can, please do comment either here (on this blog) or on the medium.com posts themselves. With a couple of tiny tweaks, I’d like to continue this experiment in the future, so your thoughts, recommendations, and constructive critiques will go directly towards informing its next iterations. Your input will also be combined with more formal evaluation data that I’ll be gathering with the students from next week, which I’ll then weave together alongside the official module feedback and share with you in future posts.

Thank you in advance for your help and interest!