Upcoming Academic Talks:

I’m thrilled to be attending the i-Docs Spring 2018 Symposium in Bristol for the 4th??? time! better check that – 3rd for sure!

Provisional title.. (stupidly didactic for now – oh inspiration any time please!)

‘Hidden Histories and the Challenge of Sustaining Intangible Cultural Heritage i-Doc projects’

Long abstract (oh editing brain, please return sooner!)

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) prioritizes the safeguarding of ‘intangible cultural heritage,’ understood as the ‘practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills … that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.’ In my recent participation in the Ontario Heritage Trust Symposium on ‘Intangible cultural heritage and the digital age’ I had the opportunity to discuss a recent project, Kensington Market: Hidden Histories, an augmented reality app for mobile. Framed as a deep dive into urban archeology, the mobile app hosts curated micro-histories of twelve sites in Toronto’s famed, long-standing immigrant neighbourhood. A companion website, built on ArcGIS, reveals the rich history of a further twenty sites. The individual lives, residences and properties, together make visible and tangible a history of Toronto as an evolving city, impacted by distinct waves of immigration and urban planning. 

My proposed paper examines the opportunities and challenges of working with innovative digital platforms for digital documentary projects in the intangible cultural heritage sphere. Mobile platforms and augmented reality apps can layer history in situ, creating unique immersive experiences, altering and intervening in the urban landscapes of today by making visible past traces of lives lived through audio, text, images and 360° video. As these histories are the sometimes invisible strata underlying current gentrification and development, i-Doc projects such as Hidden Histories are one means of connecting new generations with the past.

Building on my first AR app, the Hidden Histories project is now addressing another crucial ‘i’, infrastructure, as a major drawback for heritage funding for i-Doc mobile projects is the relatively short life-span of archival projects. Working with Stitch Media and a roster of new funding partners and community organizations, Hidden Histories is developing a platform and long-term sustainable framework model to support intangible cultural heritage projects with a goal of launching two new apps in 2018 and 2019. I would be delighted and honoured to be able to share with the i-Docs community insights and practices, and details of  past and current projects.

Convened by Dr. Judith Aston, Dr. Sandra Gaudenzi and Mandy Rose, and hosted by the UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre, the symposium will be held at the Watershed in Bristol’s Harbourside on Wednesday to Friday 21st – 23rd March 2018.