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Speakers and Abstracts 2020

Keynote speakers

Dr Sarah Colley (SMC Research and Consultancy)

Audiovisual Documents, Digital Cultural Heritage and Ethics

My paper highlights ethical issues raised for heritage stakeholders by some ‘audiovisual documents’ (cf. Baron J. 2014 The Archive Effect) in a world of ubiquitous online technologies and media. ‘Factual’ or documentary films and video, virtual reality and other digital reconstructions commonly use historical or archival content to re-enact, re-create or re-imagine aspects of heritage. This can raise questions about truth, trust and ethics. Problems can arise from mismatched ethical values prevalent in heritage practice compared to the technology development and media production industries. Contexts in which ‘audiences’ experience heritage-related audiovisual documents are also crucial to their shifting ethical qualities.

Sarah Colley trained as an archaeologist and has many years of experience working in higher education, research and professional cultural heritage practice in Australia and the UK. She has long-standing research interests in professional ethics, public archaeology, education and also the application of digital technologies in archaeology and heritage. She was involved in developing early computer visualizations for archaeology and has since worked on sustainable digital archives, image databases, video production and ‘big data’ applications in archaeology. She is currently an independent researcher and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leicester.

Josie Fraser (The National Lottery Heritage Fund)

Digital Skills for Heritage

Josie Fraser will talk about why digital skills and confidence are now essential for individuals and organisations working across the heritage sector. Her keynote will the cover wide range of ways that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is taking its ambition for the sector forward, through support for digital capability and leadership development, and outline the ways in which organisations can get involved and benefit from this.

Josie Fraser is a Social and Educational Technologist who has worked across education, government and the civic sector to embed innovative and effective practice in the use of technology. She was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Association of Learning Technologists in 2017. She is Head of Digital Policy at the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Until January 2020 she was senior technology adviser at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, leading on a range of digital policy areas across government and internationally.

Gaël Hamon (Art Graphique & Patrimoine)

3D Scanning of Cultural Heritage: When Digital Technologies Meet the Historical Know-how

This talk will aim to clarify the process of 3D survey according to the original methods introduced by Art Graphique & Patrimoine, a forerunner startup which has been working for 25 years in the sector of digital technologies for cultural heritage. The presentation will highlight the positive impact of these practices and their contribution to all the professional stakeholders of cultural heritage restoration, especially by dealing with the case study of Notre-Dame. In fact, the 3D mapping carried out by AGP made possible the record of an authentic digital double of the “Forest” (the wooden carpentry of the cathedral) lost during the fire on 15th April 2019.

Gaël Hamon is one of the most recognized specialists in the field of surveying and the promotion of heritage preservation. After gaining a lengthy experience in the restoration of prestigious structures, he founded Art Graphique & Patrimoine with the help of Hervé Quelin in 1994. Holder of a BPMH professional diploma in historical monuments and a gold medal for the best international stonecutter award at the Olympiades des Métiers, he is currently the vice-chairman of Appareilleurs de France and a jury member for the MOF craftsmen competition. He regularly speaks at the INP and the universities of Poitiers, Paris VIII, and Aix-en-Provence.

Dr Marinos Ioannides (Cyprus University of Technology / UNESCO)

Digital Past: It is all about Knowledge, Story and Memory

The surveying of a tangible object such as an artefact, monument and/or a site has as a result the accurate 3D reconstruction of their virtual geometrical structure(s), but surely not their historical value and not their relation to the society. The presentation will focus on current research activities in the area of 3D holistic documentation and in particular the 3D enrichment with semantics and the corresponding generation of object’s specific knowledge and unique memory. Moreover, challenges such as the missing standardisation in the 3D documentation and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence tools in Cultural Heritage will be presented and discussed.

Marinos Ioannides studied at the University of Stuttgart, Germany and specialised for his BSc and MSC in Computer Science in the area of digital repositories and for his PhD in the area of 3D reverse engineering, where he developed one of the first 3D reconstruction engines. Since 1989, he is working exclusively in the area of Cultural Heritage 3D documentation. He is the director of the newly established UNESCO CHAIR on Digital Cultural Heritage and the coordinator of the EU ERA Chair on Digital Cultural Heritage Mnemosyne.  Marino’s current research interests focusing on the digital Holistic Documentation in Cultural Heritage.

Harry Verwayen (Europeana Foundation)

Europeana: Driving Digital Transformation

The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 awakened the cultural heritage field in Europe to the social and economic impact our sector can have. Not only do we contribute access to valuable content resources to the fast-growing cultural and creative industries, but the sector is seen more and more as an R&D lab, fertile soil, an environment in which technological, behavioural and organisational experimentation can take place in a relatively safe environment. At the same time, the world around us continues to change. Artificial intelligence is feeding itself on the Big Data we are all mass producing and new machine readable worlds in 3D are emerging from the garages of Silicon Valley. Using Europeana as an example, we will explore what this changing landscape might look like and what we can do to play a meaningful role in the decade to come.

Harry Verwayen is the Executive Director Europeana Foundation, the operator of the Europeana platform. Across Europe, museums, galleries and archives digitize their collections. Europeana supports these organisations in their digital transformation by making these collections available as widely as possible so that people can find and use them. Prior to this Harry worked at the Amsterdam based think tank Knowledgeland where he was responsible for business model innovation in the cultural heritage sector. Harry holds a MA in History from Leiden University and has worked over ten years in the Academic Publishing Industry.

Mario Wallner (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology)

10 Years of LBI ArchPro: Large-scale, High-resolution Geophysical Prospection Projects in Europe

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) is dedicated to the development of new techniques and methodological concepts for landscape archaeology. Within the last ten years, the LBI ArchPro was able to conduct several large-scale archaeological prospection case studies throughout Europe, significantly contributing to our knowledge and understanding of the investigated cultural heritage. The interdisciplinary research programme combines for this purpose geophysics, remote sensing and computer science to develop more efficient and universally applicable approaches for the non-destructive detection, documentation, analysis, interpretation and visualisation of archaeological sites and landscapes.

Mario Wallner studied Celtic Studies in Vienna and has been employed by LBI ArchPro from the very beginning. He was strongly involved in the field work of the institute’s large-scale geophysical prospection projects, such as the ‘Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project’, the Roman town of Carnuntum, the Viking Age settlements of Birka and. He is also in charge for the interpretation and archaeological analyses of several corresponding data sets. Since 2010, he has a strong connection with Bangor University, having joined the ‘Meillionydd Project’, an excavation project at the far end of the Llyn peninsular.

Website launch

Helen Rowe and Tom Pert (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales): U-Boats: Commemorating the War at Sea, 1914-1918

The U-Boat Project 1914-18 is a collaboration between the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Bangor University and the Nautical Archaeology Society. Through a mixture of open access online material (https://uboatproject.wales/ and https://www.peoplescollection.wales/users/29486), a travelling exhibition, free public talks and activity days for the whole family, the U-Boat Project provides unprecedented access to the remains of vessels on the seabed which are part of Wales’s heritage. The research undertaken by the partners uncovers the previously untold stories about the Great War in Welsh waters.

Helen Rowe is a qualified archivist with experience in digitisation and oral history. Helen has worked on several previous HLF funded projects, including Britain from Above, during her 10 years at the Royal Commission. She has been involved extensively with People’s Collection Wales, sourcing and uploading Royal Commission content to the site and training community contributors. As Community Engagement Officer on the U-boat Project, she has been working with museums and venues around Wales to discover the local stories associated with the War at Sea.

Tom Pert is the Online Development Manager at the Royal Commission. He is responsible for developing the website and other services, and also leads the innovation strand of the People’s Collection. He is manager of the Commission’s Digital Delivery project.

Digital Heritage

Adam Clarke and Victoria Bennett (The Common People): Mapping the Void – How New Digital Technologies Can Be Used to Explore Narratives of Absence

“…part of what I am is the enigmatic traces of others…” (Judith Butler)

When we experience the loss of another, we seek to find ways of making sense of absence. We often speak of the “space left behind’. This space has shape, form, texture – and yet, it is constructed entirely by the absence of the other. It is the negative space around what was once present. When we navigate our experience of loss, we are seeking ways to create a narrative of this absence. From creating immersive textual environments to mapping the narrative landscapes of Neolithic Orkney – this presentation explores our collaborative creative engagement with creative writing and new digital technologies, to create narratives from these enigmatic traces.

Jamie Davies (Arts and Humanities Research Council): AHRC – Heritage Funding Opportunities, Key Programmes and Activities

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body that works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Over the past few years AHRC has built upon its previous investments and enhanced its work in heritage through partnerships with other agencies, targeted funding calls and collaborations both in the UK and internationally. This short presentation will provide an overview of current heritage funding opportunities and outline key programmes and activities.

Penelope Foreman (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust) and the Unloved Heritage? team: Unloved Heritage? Digital Futures for Hidden Pasts, a Perspective from Young People in Powys

Digital techniques and online archives are often an essential aspect to projects funded by grants such as the Lottery Heritage fund, as a way to make heritage “accessible” for all. However, the legacy of these digital repositories is often fleeting, obscure, and have poor take-up among target demographics. This paper presents views from young participants of the Unloved Heritage project in Prestiegne, Powys, on how they view digital heritage and its relevance to their generation.

Tim Hill (Cadw): Digital Art – A Lens on to Heritage Sites

A meet over a cup of coffee, led to the start of a collaborative partnership project between the then fairly young Newport digital and education company pyka and Cadw that would bring together and fuse the worlds of digital art and heritage in an engaging new way. Tested with a range of user groups on site and drawing on the knowledge of site custodians, the initial app idea was grown and honed into a free to use, live Arts Award/new curriculum friendly product that ticks creative, experiential learning and digital competency boxes, that’s fun to use along the way.

Gareth Morlais (Welsh Government): Why We Need More Mapping Projects in Welsh and Other Smaller Languages

How will we continue using the place names in our language unless we see them written down on maps? In the digital age, this needs to include interactive maps on our devices. The web versions need to be embeddable, slippable and able to show points of interest. This is a look at some of the challenges – from which names to use, how to cope with differing versions of names from different ages and localities, how granular to get.

Sheena Payne-Lunn (Worcester City Council): Worcester Life Stories – Community Co-production for Heritage and Health

Worcester Life Stories is a collaboration between the Worcester City Historic Environment Record and the Older Adult psychology lead at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. This paper will summarise our journey so far towards co-production of a community-owned resource made up of freely accessible heritage material and local knowledge and providing a powerful model of delivering health and wellbeing outcomes through shared interests, shared stories, and a greater sense of community.

Bernard Tiddeman (Department of Computer Science, Aberystwyth University): An Augmented Reality Case Study of Bryn Celli Ddu

We will report on the development of a proof-of-concept Augmented Reality (AR) app of the burial mound and landscape around Bryn Celli Ddu passage tomb on Anglesey.  The app provides visualisations of the site at four distinct stages of its development, an immersive soundscape, plus visualisations of artefacts found at the site or representative of the era, and accompanying text descriptions and videos.  We will discuss design decision relating to 3D registration, memory constraints, how to deal with the user being “underground”, and problems with foreground objects appearing in the background.

Joe Vaughan (The Museum of English Rural Life): The Museum Has Entered the Chat – Exploring the Possibility of Social Media

In recent years, museums, libraries and galleries have blossomed on social media, creating and curating content that’s resonated with audiences ranging up into the millions. Often, the nature of this social media curation seems to radically depart from traditional museum contexts. This paper will advocate for the opportunities inherent to this strangeness, exploring how social media–even at its most experimental–can reflect and complement the work of museums, libraries, and galleries themselves, using examples from across the UK and The MERL’s historic work.

Digital Data

Jo Pugh (The National Archives): To Eternity from Here? Building Digital Capacity in the Archives Sector

The need to engage audiences online, provide access to digital metadata and digitised documents and preserve the born-digital records of today all mean the digital demands placed on archivists have never been higher. In 2019, The National Archives and Jisc undertook a large scale survey of digital skills in the archives sector and two thirds of respondents reported they felt they lacked the digital skills they needed to carry out their roles. This session will discuss the barriers reported by archivists undertaking digital work, how some of these challenges can be met and the programmes The National Archives has put in place to support digital skills development in UK archives.

David Thomas and Tom Pert (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales): Delivering the Archive – A Modular Approach

The Royal Commission is redeveloping its systems for managing, and making available, the contents of its archive. Currently delivered through a partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, the new solution takes a modular approach based on opensource software, with data integrated through a middleware solution before delivery to a publicly accessible portal. The presentation will look at the elements of the modular solution and the benefits, and risks, of such an approach.

Dr Holly Wright (Archaeology Data Service): Introduction to Saving European Archaeology from the Digital Dark Age (SEADDA) COST Action

The COST Action SEADDA (Saving European Archaeology from the Digital Dark Age) is working to create a research network on the archiving, dissemination and open-access re-use of archaeological data, including participation from over 30 European countries and international partners. SEADDA is an interdisciplinary network of archaeologists and computer scientists; experts in archaeological data management and open data dissemination. This presentation will discuss ways to participate and benefit from the Action.

Gerben Zaagsma (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH)): The Digital Archive and the Politics of Digitisation

This paper deals with a question that is becoming increasingly important for historians who work with digitised cultural heritage: what are the politics of digitisation and what are its implications for historical research? In discussing this question, I will also emphasise the importance of more transparency in this regard and the need for guidelines about how digital archives are constituted.

Digital Survey

Anthony Corns (The Discovery Programme): Upcycling 3D Cultural Heritage

The Discovery Programme completed its participation in the 3D-ICONS project where over 200 historical structures where digitally documented in 3D using a range of geospatial technologies. The resulting datasets where subsequently made publicly accessible through Sketchfab and Europeana. The data created has been reused by many different individuals who have managed to exploit the digital content across a range of disciplines and industries including: tourism, art & creative sector, gaming industry, conservation and the film/TV industry. This presentation explores these different reuse cases and highlights the wide-ranging value cultural heritage data has to offer.

George Dey (Bluesky International): Bluesky Data… A Window to the Past

Bluesky is the leading aerial survey company based in the UK providing a range of survey, geographic and CAD data, including aerial imagery, mapping and LiDAR. Our continuous investment in cutting edge technology enables Bluesky to offer the most accurate, current and highest resolution datasets available.

Shôned Jones (Wessex Archaeology): The Bath Abbey Footprint Project: From 4D Photogrammetric Recording to Virtual Reality

The Bath Abbey Footprint project has necessitated excavation and recording of its rich and complicated archaeological elements in small segments. With large areas never exposed at once, understanding how the site fit together was a methodological challenge, as was recording the archaeology in an efficient and appropriate manner. Photogrammetry was employed to overcome these problems, allowing the temporally separated phases of the site to be viewed together, and for geometrically complicated features to be recorded in full. This process has also opened up new possibilities for community engagement, for example through VR.

Sophia Mirashrafi (Historic Environment Scotland): The Hill House: A Collaboration in Digital Documentation and Scientific Investigation

Recently placed in a box of chain-mail and steel, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s The Hill House in Helensburgh, Scotland is the perfect playground to push the limits of digital documentation and scientific investigation. Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland are collaborating on a project to utilise digital and scientific data to examine the building’s history and present state, as well as to inform conservation decisions in the future. By examining thermographic data in 3D space, conservators and visitors alike are able to better visualise the state of The Hill House in its entirety.


Stephen Barlow (The National Lottery Heritage Fund) and Dr Jamie Davies (AHRC), Local, National and Global – Heritage Funding Workshop

This workshop aims to provide an overview of the heritage funding opportunities available from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The workshop will include presentations by Stephen Barlow (Head of Engagement for National Lottery Heritage Fund Wales) and Dr Jamie Davies (International Partnerships and Engagement Manager for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and committee member for the National Lottery Heritage Fund Wales).

Jon Dollery (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales): GIS – You’ve Never Had It So Good!: How to Create, Build and Use a GIS Environment Using Open Source GIS and Open Data

GIS is everywhere. It’s in our homes, in our cars and it’s even on our phones. The potentials for GIS are boundless, yet it can still be daunting trying to use this tool. These two workshops will enable you to create your own GIS workspaces, using QGIS and populating it with freely available maps and datasets. The first 40-minute session will cover all the basics, with how to navigate, import and create your own data. The second 40-minute session will look more at visualisation of data in 3D environments using LiDAR. “Let’s be frank: You’ve never had it so good!”.

Polly Groom (Cadw) and the Unloved Heritage? team: Minecraft, Skateboarding, a Pop-up Time-vortex (and Other Stories)

Participants and project officers will give delegates the chance to try some of the activities we’ve been doing, and we can all discuss the ups and downs of working with a variety of digital media and a variety of young people! There will also be an opportunity to think about both the archaeological outcomes and the social and personal impacts of this project – and recording both of them.

Daniel Hunt and Dr Toby Driver (CHERISH Project, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales): Droning on: A Practical Introduction to Drones and Archaeology

A ninety-minute introductory workshop to the basics of safe drone flying and post-flight processing for archaeological survey, in the company of two CAA-qualified drone pilots from the EU-funded Ireland-Wales CHERISH Project.

Mensur Ibricic (Vizgu): Co-creating Tomorrow Today: Introducing Vizgu and Creating an Exhibition

Why is it that most technology companies think they know better than the experts they are trying to serve and support? Mensur will talk about how technology companies have neglected the historians, archaeologists, curators and professionals alike in supporting them in how their accumulated knowledge can be shared with the public and educate the public on all the great findings and research taking place. He will also show how Vizgu is changing the way technology companies work with these professionals by implementing a new approach- where we together co-create solutions which in the end will serve a higher purpose.

Gruffydd E. Jones (National Library of Wales) and Reina van der Wiel (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales): People’s Collection Wales – Memory Archive

‘Memory Archive’ is a People’s Collection Wales initiative, led by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. It is a curated account, aimed at facilitating reminiscence work with people living with dementia. Collections are divided into relevant themes and decades (within living memory), based on feedback received from healthcare professionals. This workshop will give a brief introduction to the People’s Collection Wales website before demonstrating how best to use these resources for reminiscence. We will also invite you to create your own ‘memory archives’ – either through existing content or by uploading/creating new resources.

Liz Rawlings, David Llewellyn and Angela Jones (Five Communities History Groups Pembrokeshire): Sharing Local History Digitally

In an age of austerity with public services under pressure, this project empowers local communities with their archival and cultural heritage. It combines local enthusiasm with access to cost neutral professional support in managing the preservation and access of their archival heritage to international standards. The project therefore creates and then develops a system for recording the heritage of five communities in Pembrokeshire through the use of digital technology. This bilingual cutting edge project works to ensure that local artefacts, documents, photographs, archaeological finds, research papers, are recorded and highly accessible to all. Two Digital Archivists ensure that a professional application is presented to cataloguing and digitising collections and ensure that copyright issues are held to the forefront of all issues.

Wyn Williams (Mapio Cymru): Mapping Wales in Welsh

This workshop involves: 1) Description of the scope of the project in the context of the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 grants. 2) Explanation of the importance of Open Data for the project and the “atmosphere” and environment of the project. 3) Summary of the history and background of the project, description of the role of Project Manager, information on our initial partners, Cardiff Open Data. 4) Call for assistance in placing current and historic Welsh names on our map of Wales which can be seen here: https://openstreetmap.cymru. Like Wikipedia, anyone can contribute to the map, including participants at the conference.  

Tour of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (Library and Search Room) and the National Library of Wales

A behind the scenes guided tour of the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission’s Library and Search Room. Come and view a fascinating display of original archive material from the National Monuments Record of Wales and browse the shelves of our specialist library. There will also be the opportunity to see behind the scenes on a tour of our stores.

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