Digital Reconstruction and Display of Landscape Models: Reviving Mayson’s Ordnance Model of 1875

Participants:

Gary Priestnall (lead, Geography, UoN), Mike Heffernan (Geography, UoN), Katharina Lorenz (Classics, UoN), Keswick Museum (Catherine Stead, Curator), Ordnance Survey (Glen Hart, Head of Research)

Overview of the Project :

This project aims to use a range of digital technologies to explore the role of maps and landscape models in the nineteenth century tourist industry. The specific case study is a physical model of the English Lake District created by Henry Mayson in 1875 which gave tourists to Keswick, Cumbria an unprecedented view of the landscape they were about to explore. Huge efforts went into creating this model which faithfully represented the contours and other details of the Ordnance Survey mapping which had recently been surveyed but which were not at that time available to the public in any form. The model is believed to have been displayed until the 1960s but all that now remains are some mouldings created ‘for future use’, found in storage in 2012. These moulds are being captured using laser-scanning technology in order to digitally reconstruct the scale and detail of the original model and create an exhibit for Keswick Museum which aims to explore and celebrate the original Victorian visitor experience whilst utilising contemporary digital display technologies.
Continue reading Digital Reconstruction and Display of Landscape Models: Reviving Mayson’s Ordnance Model of 1875

A History of Coal Mining in 10 Objects – Update

About the project

Coal Mining Website displayed on iPad screen

‘A History of Coal Mining in 10 Objects’ explores the significance of various iconic mining objects; how they relate to the development of mechanised mining and how they have impacted upon Nottinghamshire communities. The study comes at a pivotal time in the industry when UK Coal’s production capability is reduced to just three working collieries and many former mineworkers are now entering their twilight years.

The project is jointly spearheaded by Dr David Amos, a mining historian and former mineworker, and Paul Fillingham a miner’s son and digital producer. Both share a connection with local coal mining communities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and have experience of developing heritage projects and cultural trails.

Responsive design works on mobile devices
Website adapts to mobile devices and other displays.

The website for ‘A History of Coal Mining in 10 Objects’ www.miningheritage.co.uk has been designed to adapt to mobile tablets and smartphones and incorporates picture galleries that scale beautifully on PC, connected TV and double-density displays that are typically found in WiFi-enabled coffee shops. The website also contains embedded video clips with the prospect of additional audio archive material being added before the end of the pilot project.

The website is augmented by a range of social media pages that encourage the submission of user-generated content and help publicise a busy schedule of community events where the project team engage with former miners, their families and members of the public. Social media pages are also used to announce the publication of fresh content on the main website.

Community Engagement

Mining heritage event at Bestwood Winding House Museum.
Mining heritage event at Bestwood Winding House Museum.

Community engagement has helped build an archive of mining artefacts related to the project. Photographs from private collections presented by members of the public at these events are being digitised and conversation often reveals further themes for investigation. Some important historical documents have also been donated to the University of Nottingham Archives, these include direct references to Arthur Lawrence, the father of working-class novelist D.H. Lawrence.

Facebook page showing inaugural meeting of Mining Banner Trust.
Facebook page showing inaugural meeting of Mining Banner Trust.

Union Banners

One of our successes has been the discovery of fourteen union banners and other artefacts at the former NUM Headquarters near Mansfield. The union banners have been digitised and can be viewed as an image gallery on the mining heritage website which discusses their history and  iconography.

Mansfield Colliery Union Banner
Mansfield Colliery Union Banner

The issues surrounding the preservation and restoration of the  banners has since been raised with union representatives, heritage groups, the University of Nottingham, Mansfield District Council, Mansfield Museum and Alan Meale MP.  As a result, a trust has been established to ensure these important objects can be cared for and eventually loaned out to the communities they represent.


Website: www.miningheritage.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/miningheritage/
Flickr: www.flickr.com/groups/miningheritage/
Twitter www.twitter.com/miningheritage/

Story-sharing workshop in the Lace Market

Do you have a personal or family connection to the Lace Market? If so, come and share your own stories of life in this area, and become a part of a unique project that is documenting and sharing the social history of this area.

As part of my CEKE fellowship, I am organising two story-sharing workshops, in collaboration with Deborah Tyler-Bennett and Debbie Bryan. Here are some further details if you are interested in attending.

https://www.facebook.com/lacemarketlivinghistory
https://www.facebook.com/Deborah.TylerBennett
https://www.facebook.com/DebbieBryanUK

Musical Echoes: Engaging the past through virtual performances in a Victorian Music Hall

Participants:

Dr Jo Robinson (School of English), Prof. Pat Thomson (School of Education), Dr James Goulding, Victoria Shipp (Horizon Digital Economy Research), Matt Buck, Jo Cox-Brown (Malt Cross), Julian Hanby (Hanby and Barrett), Time/Image, Broadway Cinema, Nottingham Theatre Royal

Overview of project

Malt Cross

This pilot project aims to examine the creative and engagement possibilities for using archive film footage of music hall performances in combination with projection technologies, to enhance the experience of visitors at a musical heritage site: Nottingham’s Grade II listed Malt Cross Music Hall. In doing so, we seek to explore what we are terming Musical Echoes, performance memories ingrained into the structure of the building over the centuries, but which are now re-emerging from that fabric. Through innovative re-adaptations of archived performances, we aim to investigate how new technologies can bring histories of working-class entertainment back to life in a way that is both compelling and integrated into the architecture of the building itself.

The broad aims of this feasibility project synthesize three aspects:

  • To investigate archived document and film material of performances at the Malt Cross in the late 19th and early 20th century and develop historical understandings around them.
  • To understand how projection technologies may be employed to engage visitors in musical heritage environments, assessing display and content challenges associated with presenting the archived data.
  • To work alongside both heritage professionals and audiences to examine visitor engagement, via a design workshop and a feasibility exhibit at the Malt Cross Music Hall.

These goals will result in a technological pilot, a research report based on the archival materials, an impact analysis, and recommendations for further advances and future funding opportunities.

The Malt Cross: A Victorian Music Hall

oldmaltcross

The Malt Cross is a charity run entertainment venue based in the former Victorian music hall on St James’s Street in the heart of Nottingham. The Malt Cross runs a social enterprise café bar whose profits are donated to the Trust and plays host to a diverse and vibrant programme of arts, events, artistic communities and live music. The organization has recently submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HFL) with a view to celebrating its heritage in a variety of ways; this collaboration represents an opportunity to bring the history of the building to life in innovative ways. Given the compelling architectural space presented by the Malt Cross, we are particularly interested in exploring the possibilites of (sensitive) integration of projection technologies within the environment.

Our Research

This project brings together 3 parallel research strands:


Research

  • Led by the Horizon Digital Economy team, we are undertaking an ethnographic study establishing current practices at the Malt Cross, examining current visitor experience, the architectural space and interaction with archive materials to provide a baseline for comparison during the project installation. This phase will include carrying out observations and informal interviews with staff and visitors, as well as exploring the use of techniques such as first person digital ethnography
  • A collaboration between Julian Hanby of Hanby and Barrett and the Horizon team to explore the possibilities for using projection technologies to present archive film to a contemporary audience as musical echoes. How might best use be made of a heritage site for such activity? What are the technical barriers to such work and how can they be overcome?
  • Led by the School of English, research into the performance history of the Malt Cross Music Hall during the 1890s and the location of film archive material. This research is well under way and we have identified a number of performers and performance types: serio-comic vocalists, Negro comedians, big boot dancers, jugglers and boxers. The nature of the Malt Cross and its relatively lowly position on the theatrical circuits of the Victorian era means that these records are patchy and the performers themselves obscure but our knowledge of performance types now means we can locate appropriate films with the help of the Centre for Creative Collaboration.

Planned Outcomes:

Charles Coborn - Music Hall Performer
Charles Coborn – Music Hall Performer

Following initial research, a participatory design workshop will be held later this month with key stakeholders (the project team, Malt Cross representatives, and HORIZON representatives) that will bring together the findings obtained in the first phase and relevant demonstrations of existing HORIZON and UoN technologies. Participants will be encouraged to examine the potentials of these technologies for developing engaging experiences with the newly archived material as well as assets at the Malt Cross.

Outputs of this workshop will inform the design of a small-scale deployment at the Music Hall – planned for the weekend of 25-27 October – which will be followed by an evaluation of the technologies enacted and their impact. The outcomes of the technical pilot study will be analysed, including an in-depth evaluation of visitors’ feedback.

Drawing of the fractured cast iron beam, from the Illustrated London News, 1864

Mining Heritage: The Hartley Calamity (1862) – Poem

The Hartley Colliery Disaster of 1862 lead to government legislation that decreed that all mines must consist of two shafts. You can find out more about the incident in our video interview with mining historian Robert Bradley. Here is a poem for National Poetry Day about the men and boys who perished in the tragedy.

The Hartley Calamity, January 6th. 1862.

By Joseph Skipsey.

Continue reading Mining Heritage: The Hartley Calamity (1862) – Poem

KE Fellowship – Sarah Cole (at CAS)

I’m Sarah Cole, Director of Time/Image – a heritage and collections consultancy based in London.

Time/Image predominantly works to enhance historical and cultural collections through research, digitisation, curation, creative promotion,  and improved online presence. We work with all forms of archives, though moving image collections are our speciality. Our goal is to maximise the opportunities for access, exploration, and engagement.

British Council FIlm CollectionA typical example of our work is the British Council Film Collection – a joint project between the British Council, the British Film Institute, Google, and Time/Image.
When Time/Image first encountered this collection, it was simply as a list of titles and dates. Over 18 months, we worked to research, digitise, catalogue, and provide content around this remarkable film archive. In May 2012 the collection became available for the public to watch and download for free, receiving overwhelming positive press and vast numbers of viewers.

Time/Image History ShopExperimenting independently with modes of engagement, Time/Image was the main contributor at a pop-up ‘shop’ in Exmouth Market, London. This two-week event was held in partnership with the charity New Deal of the Mind and organisation Meanwhile Space. The former shop was set up as a museum of local history featuring both films and static visual media, and encouraged members of the public to share their own histories and interact with archive materials.

I am currently working on a broad Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with the Centre for Advanced Studies at the University of Nottingham, allowing me to work across different CEKE projects and to work with other CEKE fellows. My aims are to:

  • Explore common themes and connections between the different CEKE projects under the ‘Archives, Assets, and Audiences’ umbrella.
  • Bring my experiences of film and engagement methods to a range of CEKE projects.
  • Explore and develop the ‘Blink’ idea (a concept for a framework for cross-domain ‘tours’ of online content, with heavy focus on user interactivity and narrative) as a means of curating a digital trail through online sources.
  • To explore the theme of digital and physical user curation and contribution, across both the other CEKE projects and the wider heritage sector.
  • Explore the ‘pop-up’ exhibition shop as one of the possible outcomes of the CEKE project.

I have thus far been focussing on the the pop-up exhibition and exploring cross-project links as well as the way in which various themes manifest – or don’t – in each project.

The latter of these has involved interviewing as many participants as possible to get a feel for the projects, what challenges they’re facing, and what issues they are addressing. It has been unexpectedly interesting to speak to different members of any given project, as individuals do not always have the same motivations or interests as their colleagues, despite their common goals. Other interesting points to emerge so far are the differences of approach between projects that have a more academic focus and those which are technology focussed, as well as the prominent theme of visitor experience in all projects I have explored to date.

With regards to the pop-up exhibition, we have made good progress, and are currently looking at occupying a large, currently unused shop space on Carlton Street in conjunction with a bigger scheme that’s being organised by the Creative Quarter. The idea is that the space will be used as a temporary exhibition space – probably for about a week – at the end of the year where all the ‘Archives, Assets, and Audiences’ projects can display or represent their work to the public. This would be a particularly great location as it’s in the Lace Market area, which relates to a number of the projects who would exhibit there.

This arrangement is looking promising, but I’m hoping to have a more definite idea of whether we’ll be able to use the space in the very near future.

My exploration of the ‘Blink’ concept continues (though largely with non-CEKE parties) and I am keen to speak to anyone with thoughts about digital curation, user curation, data trails, and narrative.

I am also assisting the Malt Cross project in locating and retrieving film archive material.

I am hoping to speak to many more projects in the next few weeks, and I would be immensely grateful if those of you I haven’t spoken to yet would get in touch.

I am happy to hold interviews in person, via Skype, or over the phone at your convenience.

I’m also interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on the pop-up exhibition, such as whether you think the concept will work with your project and what you might like to display.

Learning about the Lace Market

As part of my CEKE fellowship, I’ve been learning about the Lace Market area of Nottingham, in preparation for prototyping some new experiences to try out there. I’ve learned a lot of interesting stuff already. For anyone interested in this area, I would recommend a book called “The Lace Market, Nottingham”, by Geoffrey Oldfield of the Nottingham Civic Society, and available in the tourist information office. It is worth mentioning that the  civic society themselves seem to have done an enormous amount of work to retain the character of the Lace Market, and have helped to avoid development work which would have been disruptive to its nature, including the construction of a large trunk road straight through the middle of it.

Having read the book mentioned above, and after a visit to the Nottinghamshire Archives, I have become really interested in the layouts of the streets in the Lace Market and the potential for augmenting them with some interesting content. It appears that the key streets (e.g. High Pavement, Stoney Gate and St. Mary’s Gate) were certainly present, and in their current location, in 1610, and may well have been present in 1435 and even earlier. Any information on any of these streets would be very welcome – contact details below. These streets could then be an interesting reference point for a smartphone experience – which could potentially integrate content that spans a whole millennium.

Of those key streets, I find St. Mary’s Gate particularly interesting. The name itself gives a hint of its ancient origins – the derivation of gate is from gata, an Old Norse word for street, and the Lace Market area is known to have been occupied by Danish Vikings in AD 868. St. Mary’s Church, at the end of this street, is at least 500 years old, and a church has been present on this site since at least 1086. In 1843, warehouses for Lace were present on this street, and in 1847, the Nottingham Journal described St. Mary’s Gate as the “seat of the Lace Market”. Today, however, very little of this long history is apparent in the physical appearance of the street itself, which seems a shame. The street itself is actually very quiet and free of traffic, and also fairly short of natural light (thanks to Tim Coughlan for these observations). As such, it is a good candidate for augmentation with content such as audio recordings or projections, and I will be considering these kinds of possibilities during my fellowship.

In the meantime, I would like to collect as much information about St. Mary’s Gate as possible – whether historical, personal or anecdotal. If you would like to send me something, there are a few ways to do it. You can email me at cekelacemarket@gmail.com or tweet to @cekelacemarket – I will assume that anything sent to these addresses is private, and will ask permission before including content in any prototype experiences. If you want to write a public tweet, please use any of the following hashtags: #lacemarket, #stmarysgate, #stoneystreet, #highpavement and #broadstreet, which I will be monitoring and using myself. Please follow @cekelacemarket – I will be posting interesting things that I find to that, and advertising opportunities to get involved in this project. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts at all around the Lace Market – I’ll be listening!

Stefan Rennick-Egglestone, CEKE fellow.