Digital history matt thompson

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Digital history matt thompson

  1. 1. ‘… from which to taste a vicarious holiday’: Railway marketing, digital history and collaboration. Matt Thompson, University of York
  2. 2. The Project Picturing the Tourist Utopia of the Great Western Railway , 1897 - 1947 <ul><li>Funded through the AHRC Beyond Text programme </li></ul><ul><li>Three year doctoral project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of York (IRS&TH) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Railway Museum (non-academic partner) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30,000+ images (original negatives) at NRM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff magazine 1890s – 1947 at NRM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensive collection of guidebooks, pamphlets and posters at NRM </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of sources- very little documentary evidence at NRM/TNA… a case of ‘intention retrieval’! </li></ul>
  3. 3. Railway Marketing <ul><li>Lots of books- but mainly ‘enthusiast’ literature </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing: an import from the US? </li></ul><ul><li>Market segmentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Present in railway marketing pre 1914 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Landscape imagery key to the marketing strategies of the railways </li></ul><ul><li>Railway companies were ‘ were quick to perceive the possibilities of the pictures as an advertising asset’ </li></ul>
  4. 4. Railway Marketing
  5. 5. The ‘citizen geographer’
  6. 6. Methodologies <ul><li>Continuity and change in the types of landscapes pictured by GWR over 50 year period. </li></ul><ul><li>Context of production </li></ul>
  7. 7. Changes in the GWR’s tourist utopia Below: pre 1914- sublime landscapes, typically unpopulated. The Cheeswring from 1904 edition of Cornish Riviera. Above: Newquay from 1935 edition of Holiday Haunts, landscapes of activity filled with tourists.
  8. 8. Museums and digital technology <ul><li>‘ Make more stuff available to more people’ </li></ul><ul><li>Public accessibility projects attracted funding and staff resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The academic researcher is an audience too! </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Agency and the context of production <ul><li>30,000+ images- not ALL were published </li></ul><ul><li>Able to compare images of a location, taken at the same time, which were NOT chosen for publication </li></ul>
  10. 11. GIS mapping <ul><li>Images have associated geographical qualities </li></ul><ul><li>Assign each image a lat/long reference </li></ul><ul><li>Map the images </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns and trends through time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationships with changing corporate ‘territories’ </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. GIS mapping
  12. 13. Moving beyond the museum <ul><li>Commercial Cultures project </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 x PhD, 1 x post-doc, museum exhibitions, monograph </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile app </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allowing access to the collections beyond the museum walls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A mobility collection that can be engaged with while mobile </li></ul></ul>
  13. 17. Digital Humanities Troubles related deaths in Belfast, 1968-2001. (a) Protestant civilians killed by Republicans and (b) Catholic civilians killed by Loyalists
  14. 18. Converting a text to a GIS <ul><li>… off I sallied - over the Bridge, thro' the Hop-Field, thro' the <pl_name visited=&quot;Y&quot;> Prospect Bridge </pl_name> at <pl_name visited=&quot;Y&quot;> Portinscale </pl_name> , so on by the tall Birch that grows out of the centre of the huge Oak, along into <pl_name visited=&quot;Y&quot;> Newlands </pl_name> -- <pl_name visited=&quot;Y&quot;> Newlands </pl_name> is indeed a lovely place… </li></ul><ul><li>(Source: S.T. Coleridge’s tour of the </li></ul><ul><li>Lake District, August 1802) </li></ul>
  15. 19. ‘ Close Reading’ with Google Earth
  16. 20. To close… <ul><li>Thinking more about meta data associated with sources not just the content of the source itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where produced? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has it moved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal significances? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can this be pictured? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Engagement with wider audiences- both academic and museum </li></ul>
  17. 21. <ul><li>Thank you for your time… any questions? </li></ul>[email_address]

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