Royal Commission – a partner in new Unpath’d Waters UK project
The Royal Commission is one of twenty-two UK partners who have been successful in receiving an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through its Towards a National Collection Programme to develop emerging technologies, including machine learning and citizen-led archiving, in order to connect the UK’s cultural artefacts and historical archives in new and transformative ways.
Unpath’d Waters: Marine and Maritime Collections in the UK is one of five new ‘Discovery Projects’ in the programme and has been awarded £2.9 million to make maritime records from across all four nations of the UK accessible through one portal. Led by Historic England, the project will:
• devise new ways of searching across collections
• create simulations to visualise wrecks and landscapes
• deliver new ways of identifying wrecks and the artefacts and objects from them.
It will create tools to protect our significant maritime heritage and will invite the public to co-design new ways of interacting with archive collections to uncover previously untold stories and to get involved in the creation of new stories.
The Royal Commission maintains the National Monuments Record of Wales, which includes maritime sites such as shipwrecks, harbours and submerged landscapes and is an accredited Digital Archive Centre for Welsh marine heritage data. The project provides an opportunity to ensure that the maritime data for Wales and the rest of the UK is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr Julian Whitewright, Senior Maritime Investigator at the Royal Commission, said:
“The Unpath’d project provides an opportunity to bring together marine datasets from across the United Kingdom in a fully inclusive way. Crucially such inclusivity extends beyond the data, to the organisations involved, and in due course, to the people that will have access to it’.
Christopher Catling, Secretary of the Royal Commission, added:
‘the sea has been throughout history a highway and a means of achieving cultural connectivity between nations, and this project is entirely in that spirit – joining up the maritime heritage records of the four UK nations to break down the barriers that prevent a full understanding of the part played by the sea in human history.’
The project will start in November and run for three years.