Explorations for DIY Approaches for Cultural Heritage Professionals through Digital Technology at INTERACT2013

Laura Maye, who is involved in the meSch consortium as a PhD student at the University of Limerick, was amongst the presenters at the Doctoral Consortium collocated with the INTERACT2013 conference earlier this month. During her presentation, Laura explored the theme of Do-It-Yourself approaches for cultural heritage professionals through digital technology. This topic reflects upon a core meSch objective. The objective is to not only create a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) platform whereby cultural heritage professionals can create tangible smart artefacts, but to also employ cultural heritage professionals as co-creators of the DIY platform aimed for their use. In this blog post Laura will share some of the main points from her presentation.

Sharing reseach goals, methods and results

A Doctoral Consortium is a forum for Dotoral Students (PhD students) to discuss their research goals, methods, and results at an early stage in their research. Each participant at the Consortium was provided with a thirty-minute slot: during this slot, participants had twenty minutes to present their research with the remaining ten minutes open for questions. Participants also had to compose a research poster with information on their research. At the event, Laura won the award for the ‘Best Research Poster by a Doctoral Consortium Participant’.

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The certificate Laura was presented with when she won the award for ‘Best Research Poster by a Doctoral Consortium Participant’ at INTERACT2013

The potential for Do-It-Yourself approaches through digital technology

During the presentation, Laura raised the potential of DIY approaches for cultural heritage professionals through the use of digital technology. Digital technology is increasingly being used in cultural heritage institutions to serve many purposes, such as enhancing museum collections with sensor-enriched technology and creating interactive experiences for visitors through the use of mobile apps. However, experts are commonly hired to create and change the behaviour of these digital technologies. Many cultural heritage institutions cannot afford the expense of hiring experts; therefore, a Do-It-Yourself approach may be an attractive alternative for cultural heritage professionals. In the meSch project such a DIY platform will be developed.

Empowering cultural heritage professionals through co-design

Laura argued that creating such a DIY platform for cultural heritage professionals relies on understanding how the platform can support their activities. Through adopting a co-design methodology, cultural heritage can become co-creators of the platform, and hence empowered to share their ideas on how the platform can support them, if at all. Laura argued that through co-design, us researchers can gain a better insight on how, for example, they envisage technology enhancing a museum’s collection and what activities they would consider using the technology for. Laura described a workshop she held at the Hunt Museum, Limerick, exploring how DIY technologies can support cultural heritage personnel in creating small-scale interactive exhibitions. The workshop involved four interns from the aforementioned museum.

A successful event

The consortium was a successful event. Other doctoral students shared their research ideas with the students and the panel. Laura aims to continue her research on this topic through organising local events and through collaborating with events organised by meSch.

More on the event

Laura’s abstract can be accessed directly via the Outputs section of this website. Her presentation and award-winning poster have been uploaded on the meSch project slideshare account.

The Consortium was collocated with the INTERACT 2013 conference (the 14th IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction). The event took place on the 3rd of September 2013 at 9:00am in the Cape Town International Conventional Centre (CTICC), South Africa. For more information on the conference, see interact2013.org.