This lecture discusses the difference between critical and informational scholarship and the increasing importance of public outreach in historical studies. It then discusses the application of this issue to the Ruthwell Kirk and Cross and the Visionary Cross project's approach to the problem.
Talk about the overall site, how not much is left. Contextualise it for the audience. Anecdote about finding the site and where the sign is.
Talk about the sign. It starts with a relation to St. Kentigern of Glasgow and ends with a suggestion of visiting Culross Abbey or Glasgow Cathedral. There is also some mention of the Anglo-Saxon monastery that was on the site,
However, the real error is that it points you in the wrong direction. The only interpretive material provided is a mounted plaque inside the graveyard. It faces the river, which is opposite of where the monastery buildings actually were. The material actively forces visitors to look away from the interesting location. But this is a problem of location and museological problem. But the archaeological excavations uncovered a large eighth century Northumbrian monastery settlement, complete with a church and house on the lower level, and service buildings, such as corn-driers and brewhouses on the higher hill. Hoddom is interpreted as being a central, regional significant monastery, with associations with surrounding parishes, including the medieval church at Ruthwell. Visitors to Hoddom wouldn’t realise this importance by visiting the site. Numerous carved stones and crosses were found at Hoddom, some with similar iconographic style to the Ruthwell and Bewcastle crosses. Hoddom has location and museological problem Ruthwell has a nice network and is kind of doing the right thing, but has museological problems because its amateur, and doesn't quite explain things, creates an odd connection. Bewcastle covers everything really, museological it's great as a site. Nice model for how it's done, if you can stop having to "put it somewhere."
Talk about the site, orient people with it. Castle, roman fort, long bar.
Talk about elements of the interpretive centre. Who organised the centre, when, how it fits into the interpretive model. Different things the panels talk about what they do and how.
Imagine taking Bewcastle’s interpretive material and following it around the entire site. Visitors would become immersed in the site, similar to how visitors are free to explore the whole site at Ruthwell, or how Tour Scotland “directs” people by way of heritage trails. This is where augmented reality applications can take these ideas and improve them by expanding them outwards– and in turn, improving a visitor’s experience Each site is already part of an immersive augmented reality world: The minute a visitor chooses to explore a site, with or without access to supplementary interpretive material, they are willingly stepping into History and are immersing themselves in the Anglo-Saxon world. This technology gives us the ability to build a virtual Historic network and places this network into the hands of anyone who wants to explore it.
The interpretive program at Bewcastle is the best of all three, being the most comprehensive. But visitors are directed into the centre, away from the Cross and site, and ultimately out of context. When visitors leave the interpretive centre, they can see the Cross and church, but they're not getting the whole picture: what they don't see is the castle behind the church, or the Roman baths on the other side of the church wall.
Talk about location and site. Orient them with the overall site. Mention savings bank museum down the street.
Talk about interpretive material. Orient people around the site again. Ask about stone, what poeple think it is. Talk about location of cross marker in garden. Talk about connection made to savings bank location.
Living out loud: The Visionary Cross Project and the Public Humanities
Living out loud: The Visionary
Cross Project and the Public
Heather Hobma, Daniel Paul O'Donnell,
Marco Callieri, Matteo Dellepiane, James Graham,
Catherine Karkov, Roberto Rosselli Del Turco
CMRS/ETRUS. University of Saskatchewan.
January 16, 2014
Informational vs. Critical
Critical: Scholars writing for scholars
Little broad context
Not for popular audiences
Informational: Interpreters writing for public
From early digital editions that mimicked
print/critical models (Humanities computing)
To current generation editions/projects that
have heavier public engagement
Linked and open data
Public wants in
“You” wants to be/is very active
Museum attendance is up (online and in person)
Public's proxies (government and funding
agencies) stress mobilisation and dissemination
Increasingly important part of funding applications
We are all (going to be) interpreters
We are the people who both study AND present
Becoming responsible for both critical and
educational/informational aspects of our
Run into same issues museum directors etc.
have had to face.
Computation requires us to go back to first
principles (in this case UI design)
DH has a sense of self of itself as being
engaged with the world
We recognise that our material is great and
But we need to get more serious
Easy to see the work as trivial
Not at the research coal face
Can seem an additional/bureaucratic add on
And yet popular dissemination/instruction is
actually very hard