Cultural Heritage projects

Digitally Exhibiting Textual Heritage

Project's web page: Digitally Exhibiting Textual Heritage

Contact: Dr Johanna Green
Dates: 1 March 2020 - 31 March 2022
Funder: Royal Sociey of Edinburgh
Funding: £10,000

Textual heritage was made to be handled: to be touched, manipulated, annotated, read. Never neutral carriers of text, the materials that transmit our textual heritage provide a window to the socio-historical contexts in which they were produced, used, altered, and abused. These unique materials are complex objects; even if we disregard their individual, lived-object biographies, we are left with substantial data concerning their physical and textual contents. This complexity is particularly striking when we undertake to display items from our textual past, either physically in an exhibition or via a digitised facsimile. The environmental conditions required for display dictate a number of immediate choices, while the physical format of books, scrolls, letters, documents and so forth as manipulable objects means that curators must choose between innumerable points of access in order that these items are seen at all. Once exhibited, these items lose various qualities that make them inherently sensory objects: immobile behind glass, or disembodied as digital pages, they are transformed as exhibits from living textual bodies into static objects. For public audiences, opportunities for encounter with textual heritage items in exhibition spaces are inherently mediated: the item is static and out of reach, the page chosen for them, and the interpretation limited.

POEM - Participatory Memory Practices

POEM - Participatory Memory Practices. H2020 MCSA ITN

Concepts, strategies, and media infrastructures for envisioning socially inclusive potential futures of European societies through culture.

UofG: two PhD projects supervised by Dr Maria Economou, a) one on “Crowdsourcing of Digital Cultural Heritage Collections through Gamification”, which will use the Kelvin Hall Open Collections as a case study to investigate participatory practices, co-curation and co-creation by diverse users, and b) the second on “Social Media for Encouraging Engagement with Arts and Culture in Museums” in collaboration with Glasgow Museums, which will analyse the discourse and type of engagement that is supported by the museums’ social media platforms.

POEM is co-ordinated by the University of Hamburg, and includes in the consortium apart from the University of Glasgow’s Information Studies, the University of Uppsala, Aarhus University, the Technological University of Cyprus, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, the NGO Ashoka UK and the SME Atomatic, Ltd, as well as a long list of cultural heritage, creative industry and other organisations as partners where the PhD students will undertake placements. Grant agreement number 764859.

Overall budget: €3,431,000 / UofG: €546,000
Funder: EC H2020 MCSA Action
Dates: April 2018- March 2022 

Scottish National Heritage partnership

Date: March 1st, 2018
Funding: £74,998

The Scottish Heritage partnership is a nine-month AHRC-funded initiative aiming to address the existing practice and future potential of immersive experiences and technologies in the collections and heritage industry in Scotland. Its key research question revolves around measuring the success of approaches to immersive technologies at major heritage sites in Scotland, both in terms of outcomes against business plan expectations and in terms of visitor response, and the kinds of future development supported by the evidence.

EMOTIVE - Εmotive virtual cultural experiences through personalized storytelling

EMOTIVE is a Research and Innovation Action funded under H2020–Social Sciences & Humanities Cult-coop 8 Virtual Museums call. It aims to use emotional storytelling to dramatically change how we experience heritage sites. For heritage professionals, the Emotive application will provide a powerful storytelling engine and a set of rich digital media assets that can be used to create detailed characters and narratives featuring archaeological sites or collections of artefacts. For visitors, Emotive will offer dramatic, emotionally engaging stories that can be experienced while at a cultural site or remotely. Wherever visitors are, they can follow characters, look for clues and explore environments alone or with family and friends. The University of Glasgow team brings to EMOTIVE in-depth understanding of the needs of both cultural heritage professionals, as well as diverse visitor groups and end users. It will contribute numerous research, user-centred design and production, and evaluation activities to the project, taking advantage of the real cultural heritage context of The Hunterian’s Antonine Wall display (one of the two UNESCO World Heritage sites used at EMOTIVE case studies) to collect user requirements and evaluate EMOTIVE prototype tools. The other EMOTIVE partners are: EXUS Software Ltd-SME, UK; ATHENA RC-Research Centre, Greece; University of York, UK; INRIA Sophia-Antipolis-Research Centre, France; CNR-Research Centre, Italy; DIGINEXT-Company, France; Noho-SME, Ireland - UoG: €241,891

Funder: EC H2020 
Dates: 11/2016-10/2019

Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation

The Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation brings together academics and cultural heritage professionals to investigate the use of digital cultural resources by diverse user groups. Coordinated by Dr Maria Economou, the network examines how digital cultural resources impact learning, research and public engagement within cultural heritage organisations. What is the impact of these resources, and how can this be quantified and recorded in order to help organisations use them to their fullest potential?

The project’s main case study is the re-development of the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, which is due to open in 2016 and will house the collections of Glasgow Life, The Hunterian of the University of Glasgow and the Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland. The network will consider the applicability of digital technologies to the Kelvin Hall project, and also study the characteristics of Glasgow’s wider cultural landscape. By using a variety of methodologies and perspectives drawn from museology, computing science, the digital humanities and the social sciences, the project places Glasgow’s cultural offerings within a wider, international discussion concerning how and why digital cultural resources are used by both cultural heritage organisations and their diverse audiences.

Over the two years of the project, network partners will organise a variety of events including four workshops, a knowledge exchange forum for cultural professionals, an international symposium and a public open day for exploring the digital collections at the newly-opened Kelvin Hall.

Funder: Royal Society of Edinburgh

Dates: January 2015 – December 2016

Kelvin Hall Open Collections

The redevelopment of the Kelvin Hall is major capital project between Glasgow Museums, The Hunterian (University of Glasgow) and the National Library of Scotland Moving Picture Archive to provide a new cultural hub that includes major collection storage space, public access, research and teaching facilities. As part of this project an online collection system is being developed to provide integrated access across the partners collections. The system utilises the OAI-PMH protocol to automatically harvest data from the partners collections management systems. The development of a map based interface and social media integration will provide additional functionality beyond standard search, sorting and filtering features. From the outset the system will be optimised for mobile devices to support in-situ exploration and engagement with the collections. The system will provide an ongoing open source platform for experimentation in cross-collection access, delivery, UGC, co-curation and visualisation.

Travellers’ Tails project - ‘The Kangaroo and the Moose’ Hunterian exhibition and Digital Trail

The Travellers' Tails project is a collaboration between Royal Museums Greenwich, The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow, The Horniman, The Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby. The project investigates the themes of exploration, art and science inspired by the National Maritime Museum's recent acquisition of the 'Kangaroo' and 'Dingo' paintings by the English painter George Stubbs.The Hunterian created a special exhibition, The Kangaroo and the Moose, with the Kangaroo as its centrepiece when the painting was on loan to The Hunterian between 2 October 2015 and 21 February 2016. The Kangaroo was commissioned from Stubbs by the naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, immediately following his part in Captain James Cook’s 'first voyage of discovery' to the Pacific and first landing in Australia (1768–71). The Hunterian positioned the Kangaroo in relation to its own famous paintings of New World  animals by George Stubbs that were commissioned by the Hunterian’s founder Dr William Hunter together with related natural history specimens, artefacts and prints  that commemorate the European discovery of Australia. The exhibition explored key themes such as the representation of nature and early theories of extinction against the backdrop of the scientific and artistic dialogues between the painter George Stubbs and the scientists William Hunter and Joseph Banks. 

The presentation of the Kangaroo was linked to objects and specimens in the Museum’s permanent displays through a digital trail. Dr Maria Economou co-ordinated the design of the digital trail and the evaluation of student and visitor engagement and exhibition impact. The evaluation research studied the effect of the digital trail on different visitor groups (both onsite and online), visitors’ understanding of the exhibition themes, as well as the effect of student co-curation, co-creation and public engagement activities.

Study of use of online museum catalogues

The project examines how online museum catalogues are accessed and used by end users and studies the profile of different user groups. This builds on previous EU-funded research by Dr Economou which analysed the web access logs of three museums in Greece, the UK and Spain: the Benaki Museum (Athens), the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford), and the Diocesan and Regional Museum of Lleida (Lleida). The current project extended this work by including the case study of The Hunterian online catalogue and the organisation’s move from the old INKA system designed in-house to the new KE-Emu collections management system and its web front-end. It looks at the strategic aims of a university museum and the audience it addresses and investigates if this is reflected in the online use of the digital collections and related resources. This will be compared with the analysis of use of the Kelvin Hall collections portal, which will merge the collections of Glasgow Museums (Glasgow Life) and the Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland and will examine the effect of different institutional contexts (local authority and national cultural organisation), targeted audiences, as well as specific interface design choices are having on the use of digital collections.

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund

Dates: July 2014 – June 2018

Hunterian Collections

As part of the move to The Hunterian’s new storage, study and research facilities at Kelvin Hall in September 2016 a major programme of collection assessment, description, photography and packing. Underpinning this move is the implementation of The Hunterian's new collections management system using the EMu software system.

Funder: The Hunterian & Information Studies (building on EU Matching Funds (2007-2011) & FP6 Marie Curie EST CHIRON project (2004-08))

Dates: May 2015 – ongoing