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Evaluating digital cultural heritage 'in the wild': The case for reflexivity

Galani, Areti and Kidd, Jenny 2019. Evaluating digital cultural heritage 'in the wild': The case for reflexivity. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage 12 (1) , 5. 10.1145/3287272

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Digital heritage interpretation is often untethered from traditional museological techniques and environments. As museums and heritage sites explore the potentials of locative technologies and ever more sophisticated content-triggering mechanisms for use outdoors, the kinds of questions digital heritage researchers are able to explore have complexified. Researchers now find themselves in the realm of the immersive, the experiential, and the performative. Working closely with their research participants, they navigate ambiguous terrain including the often unpredictable affective resonances that are the direct consequences of interaction. This article creates a dialogue between two case studies which, taken together, help to unpack some key methodological and ethical questions emerging from these developments. Firstly, we introduce With New Eyes I See, an itinerant and immersive digital heritage encounter which collapsed boundaries between physical/digital, fact/fiction and past/present. Secondly, we detail Rock Art on Mobile Phones, a set of dialogic web apps that aimed to explore the potential of mobile devices in delivering heritage interpretation in the rural outdoors. Looking outward from these case studies, we reflect on how traditional evaluation frameworks are being stretched and strained given the kinds of questions digital heritage researchers are now exploring. Drawing on vignettes from experience-oriented qualitative studies with participants, we articulate specific common evaluative challenges related to the embodied, multimodal and transmedial nature of the digital heritage experiences under investigation. In doing so, we make the case for reflexivity as a central - and more collaborative - feature of research design within this field going forward; paying attention to, and advocating, the reciprocal relationship between researchers and the heritage experiences we study

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISSN: 1556-4673
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 November 2018
Date of Acceptance: 20 October 2018
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2020 11:37

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