Design with Heritage

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Graduate Studies


With the Arts and Humanities as the driver, the KE Project will develop a mutual learning environment among universities, cultural institutions and digital design industry. This will benefit the UK economy, its unparalleled wealth in tangible, intangible and digital cultural heritage and advance the UK's position as the global leader of digital design-led, research-based Knowledge Exchange in the field of cultural heritage.

Aims and Distinctiveness
The KE Project Design with Heritage will challenge heritage disciplines to engage with digital design industries, thereby realising their potential to support the development and growth of the Creative Economy. It will promote the value of cultural heritage assets as a resource by utilising research to develop products and services, and to improve productivity. It will facilitate connections, communication and exchange between A&H research and Creative Industries and increase public engagement.
Uniquely, the KE Project will address the digital design sector engaging with cultural heritage and will address barriers to effective business engagement such as fragmented company base, cultural issues in academia and resource issues in the business sector. The KE Project will be enriched by the success of the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme run by UCL. The activities will be extremely relevant to the RCUK Digital Economy Grand Challenge, the Care for the Future theme, and enhanced cultural tourism, all major AHRC priorities.

Summary of key knowledge exchange activities and main partners involved
Two Work Packages (WPs) will be used to deliver knowledge exchange activities across 2 themes: WP1: Design for Enhanced Exhibitions, and WP2: Design for Augmented Artifacts.
A Jumpstart event at UCL will produce clear questions identifying gaps and needs in Knowledge Exchange. A Green Paper will detail the priorities for engaging digital design industries with cultural heritage. Two interactive Sandpits focussing on the KE questions will be organised. KE Feasibility projects will be funded to provide support for practical exploration of new ideas. Outputs from these projects will include exhibition, case study, teaching, and web-based materials (e.g. apps).
A final showcase event will disseminate and communicate public information in the form of a Symposium organised at the V&A, and an Exhibition with enhanced web presence.
Two mechanisms will support the engagement of digital design industries with the Project: (i) academic backfill programme enabling academics and researchers at UCL and V&A to be seconded to work on KE Feasibility projects on the basis of financial compensation for their time; (ii) KE Projects, emerging from Sandpits, supported by the KE Project and addressing barriers to effective engagement between academia, heritage institutions and digital design industries.

Planned Impact

Target sectors/beneficiaries
Heritage is the key target sector of the KE Project. The Co-I institution, a globally-renowned museum (V&A), provides a strategic steer ensuring that KE activities align with the business and research needs of the sector. Principally, the KE Project will explore the increasing convergence of tangible, intangible and digital heritage with a key creative sector, digital design. The number of Letters of Support from renowned digital design and visualisation SMEs demonstrates overwhelming domain support. The Project also targets the academic sector in the endeavour to identify and remove impediments to KE. Further HEI partners will be identified, to participate in KE activities and share development of best practice, and links with KE Hubs will be forged.
The Project is centred in London, home to major museums and national cultural partners. However, it reaches beyond the capital since collaboration is open to further academic and cultural institutions and industry partners.

Specific research and skills needs
The prevalence of SMEs in the digital design sector challenges traditional KE models. SMEs often cannot access adequate research infrastructure, afford patenting costs, or work on research projects over extended periods. Digital design industry's engagement with heritage disciplines is often hampered by incommensurable terminology and conceptual approaches, and by limited networking and training. We plan to address these issues as follows:
1. Strategic brokerage
The KE Project will facilitate collaboration between academia and digital design industry on a strategic Green Paper identifying and addressing training, skills and structural needs. We will liaise closely with key funding bodies (Research Councils, EU Framework Programme) and major industries.
2. New market opportunities
The KE Project will help SMEs innovate strategically to identify and target untapped heritage markets. Relevant mechanisms will include fast-track access for SMEs to innovation and research via the Jumpstart event, Sandpits and KE Feasibility projects. For instance, our digital design and heritage science will help SMEs identify and respond to new market challenges.
3. KE Best Practice and Entrepreneurial Capacity
Activities devoted to promotion of the quality of KE between academia, cultural institutions and SMEs are focussed on the Jumpstart event, Sandpits and the resulting KE Feasibility projects and particularly the Green Paper on KE between heritage and digital design. We will investigate impediments and propose policies to intensify KE. Ways of integrating best practice into academic training will be explored, thus supporting the creation of a friendly symbiosis of academia, public institutions and the digital design industry. In this process, centrally managed Project activities will play a key role, particularly the meetings involving other AHRC programmes, KE Hubs, RCs, KTNs, and government departments.
The KE Project activities focus on growing businesses by developing best practice to enable micro and small digital design companies to operate in the complex heritage market landscape. Issues of IP and copyright have been addressed.


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Description Our Basic Arguments and Recommendations -
There are three basic arguments and recommendations that emerged from the Design with Heritage project:
1. The use of digital technologies has yet to become ubiquitous in museums and galleries. While we discovered exceptional examples of imaginative design of exhibitions and
interpretation of objects, there are also places were digital design is limited in terms of quality and quantity.
Recommendation: An effort is needed to roll out guidance and support on the innovative use of digital technologies in museums and galleries. Case studies of outstanding and cost effective digital design in museums and galleries should be disseminated via the AHRC website.
2. Museums and galleries need to access the creativity and inventiveness of digital designers. Yet it may be difficult for curators and conservators to identify digital designers with whom to work especially when starting out. Recommendation: A voluntary list of digital designers with examples of their projects should be made available on the AHRC website to encourage greater collaboration between creative SMEs and museums and galleries.
3. Creative SMEs need support to turn inspired ideas into cutting edge designs. Access to assets in universities such as research and infrastructure can unlock business opportunities through the development of new skills.
Recommendation: Universities could provide greater resources to support creative SMEs beyond incubation that is at a critical stage of their development and beyond.

Highlights/best-practice examples from the Design with Heritage project were:
• Overcoming a fragmented knowledge base and investigating an IP agreement which might allow for 'updating' or 'augmenting' an artefact. The Play it Again,
SAM project used a case study the significance of which was little known outside the robotics world. They collaborated in the process of digitizing and replicating SAM and any surviving original documents associated with it, so that in the future a working replica could be produced, becoming a unique artefact in its own right for the museum.
• Research as a driver of Knowledge Exchange. The Materials Migrations project team consisted of a diverse group of five individuals who came together at the Sandpit event through a shared interest in Rapid Prototypes (RP) and particularly in
the possibilities and limitations of current technologies, as well as their material properties. The team's intersecting interests shaped the project proposal, which sought to better understand the material properties of RPs through a purpose-made reference collection of artwork and scanned objects.
• Testing of real-world prototypes. Your Tour was a client-driven project, the basis which was a brief responding to a real life problem faced by the SCVA curators. The exhibition brief is that only minimal written information can be displayed to accompany artifacts on display. The Your Tour project directly addressed this issue by developing and testing a real-time interactive gallery guide, which responded to visitor interest. The pilot was tested over three two-week periods: from September 17th 2013, November 12th 2013 and January 27th 2014
• Multi-phase projects. Two strands of the Mechanics of Wonderment project partnered with longer-running HEI Knowledge Exchange research, 'Transcribe Bentham', and the 'Space Syntax Group', which increased likelihood of knowledge
retention. The project operated on three scales, showing the different platforms and models for Knowledge Exchange between academic, SME and heritage institutions. Firstly, there was a pop-up experimental 'test exhibition' at UCL (two weeks from 15th August), then an installation at V&A as part of Digital Design Weekend (21-22nd September 2013) and finally a spatial model (October 2013) of the galleries involved
in the study.
Exploitation Route Design with Heritage produced consultation paper which contained observations on creative SMEs, policy context, including resources and toolkits for the creative economy;
trends in museums and exhibitions; emerging networks for knowledge exchange; integration of the digital into museums using the example of the V&A; global reach of digital technology and models and barriers of knowledge exchange activity.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description For each of the feasibility studies, the following impacts were achieved: Material Migrations: a study into the transformation of digital files and rapid-prototype objects, carried out in collaboration with artists and designers in order to make informed decisions regarding the care and acquisition of these objects. IMPACT: The film has engaged SMEs and Microenterprise by highlighting artists' workflow and the complex challenges faced by heritage institutions with relation to the conservation of Rapid Prototypes. Over 50 SMEs took part in the research through participation in surveys and films. The reference collection can be used for future study to better understand the chemical compositions of materials, chemical end dimensional stability and the rates of degradation. A snapshot in time, which could be referred to in the future, should the technologies become obsolete. Identification of conservation strategies and concerns related to RP collections. Mechanics of Wonderment: studies of the use of narrative to ground the real-time sensing of visitors and influence the flow and pacing of an exhibition. It would use a test exhibition in a 'labyrinthine' configuration of doors to guide visitors through a curator-driven story which would change upon each visit. IMPACT: Two strands of the project partnered with longer-running HEI research which increased likelihood of knowledge retention. A test exhibition used facsimile manuscripts from an online, crowd-sourced transcribing initiative. The spatial analysis has since been integrated into a major UCL research group. Play it Again, SAM: investigative study of authenticity of digital reproduction of heritage objects, in particular kinetic artworks. Using Sound Activated Mobile (SAM) by Edward Inhatowicz as a case-study, the project would scan and re-model an object to 'update' it for museum display. IMPACT: Potential inclusion in a future V&A exhibition Guidelines for developing principles and practices for replicating complex kinetic objects of cultural significance Your Tour: a study into the use of a mobile device to deliver self-selected content in real-time to museum visitors, and measure their engagement with the display. The project would create a prototype portable exhibition guide which would monitor exhibition-goers and tailor their experience based on their engagement with objects, themes and format of information delivery (text, film, audio etc) IMPACT: Enhanced the way people visit the gallery and engage with interpretive content. Transformed the way gallery interpretation is curated and delivered according to audience and interest Changed the way exhibitions are curated and objects are displayed, without the need for extended object labels or wall text in the gallery Enabled a longer partnership between the gallery and the SME partner The SME partners won the inaugural IK Prize from Tate following a continued interest in digital engagement
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural