LeaPS: Learning from the Past to create a Sustainable society

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University
Department Name: Fac of Engineering and Environment

Abstract

Access to information and data is a key requirement for achieving sustainable development. Cultural heritage - both tangible and intangible - connects us to the past and provides invaluable insights into our identities and evolution. It can play an important role in economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development. The importance of heritage tourism for the African economy has been well recognised by the World Tourism Organization and Unesco, and it is believed that appropriate knowledge of cultural heritage can promote ethnic and heritage tourism and thereby contribute to the economic development of African countries. Traditional medical knowledge, which is hidden in the collective heritage of a particular indigenous people or local community, has social, cultural and scientific value and is important for many indigenous peoples and local communities in Africa (WIPO: http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/tk/en/documents/pdf/background_briefs-e-n6-web.pdf). Finding, recording and imparting indigenous and traditional medical knowledge, which is often hidden in cultural heritage content, through education and training can boost the health and wellbeing of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The key objective of the LeaPS project is to promote access to and use of digital cultural heritage content for classroom education which will enable people to promote tourism and tackle health and wellbeing issues by learning about traditional and indigenous medicine and healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. It will undertake a series of creative and innovative fieldwork and engagement activities with key stakeholders in the partner countries to understand the key challenges at both demand and supply side of cultural heritage content for school education in Sub-Saharan Africa, and assess its potential impact on different sectors in particular tourism, and indigenous and traditional medicine and wellbeing of people. In order to achieve this, it will:
1. Explore how innovative digital learning and training materials can be developed by bringing together cultural heritage content and service providers, educators and policymakers; and
2. Engage with key stakeholders to understand the potential benefits and impacts that will arise from delivery of cultural heritage education in schools in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The project will address the following inter-related research questions:
1. Use of cultural heritage content in education: Can the cultural heritage content that has already been digitised be accessed and used for classroom education in Sub-Saharan Africa? What are the policies of government/education departments, academic institutions and others in this context, and what changes are needed?
2. Teachers' training: What kind of training is required for teachers to be able to use digital cultural heritage content in classrooms? Whether the Unesco Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Framework (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/image`````s/0022/002246/224655e.pdf) or the training materials developed in Europe based on the Europeana collections [8] can be adapted to suit the training needs of teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of this project?
3. Beneficiaries and impact: What are the potential benefits of using cultural heritage content in education in Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular:
a. tourism departments/industries who can benefit from having trained human resources in the use of cultural heritage content, for example, for creating specific applications based on cultural heritage content for attracting heritage- and eco-tourism;
b. government departments, businesses/industries and public bodies concerned with health and wellbeing challenges that can be addressed through an understanding of indigenous and traditional medicine and health practices that may be hidden in cultural heritage content.

In the long term the project will have a significant impact on people and society in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Planned Impact

The LeaPS project has been triggered by some of the key findings of an AHRC GCRF project (NetDiploma) (Grant Ref: AH/R004277/1; www.northumbria.ac.uk/netdiploma) which produces an account of what has been digitised in the leading memory institutions in the partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and how they can be made available through the Open Acces (OA) mode. So, it is appropriate to undertake a follow-on research to explore how such OA cultural heritage content can be used to provide cultural heritage education in schools in Sub-Saharan Africa that can contribute to sustainable development.

The LeaPS project is a collaboration between arts and humanities disciplines, and other academic and national institutions in the UK and four African countries viz. Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria. It will explore innovative ways to enhance engagement with key stakeholders in the partner countries, and assess impacts from specific applications, arising from the ongoing AHRC GCRF project NetDiploma. The focus of the project is to study how cultural heritage content can be used in school education that can subsequently contribute to sustainable development, especially in promoting tourism, and health and wellbeing of people, in Sub-Saharan Africa. It will undertake a series of creative and innovative fieldwork and engagement activities with key stakeholders in the partner countries to identify the the major challenges to be addressed at both the demand and supply side of cultural heritage content for making it suitable for school education in Sub-Saharan Africa, and its potential impact on different sectors in particular heritage tourism, and health & wellbeing of people.

The project will demonstrate how cultural heritage content can be brought to the classrooms in Sub-Saharan Africa in promoting awareness and skills of schoolchildren in the use of cultural heritage to promote tourism and improve knowledge on indigenous and traditional medicine and health practices. It will demonstrate how cultural heritage information in classrooms can benefit schoolchildren and young adults in developing their understanding and thus benefiting from traditional and indigenous medicine and health practices. It will demonstrate how cultural heritage education can benefit tourism industry in Sub-Saharan Africa in the longer term by creating a workforce equipped with the necessary knowledge of cultural heritage and digital skills that can promote tourism at local and national level by developing novel products and applications. It will also identify the key policy and capacity requirements for bringing cultural heritage education to classroom. This will benefit content providers like libraries, archives and museums at the supply side, and schools and educators at the demand side. In addition, the LeaPS project will produce a website for facilitating longer term engagement activities and discussions amongst members of a multinational team and general public in Sub-Saharan Africa who are interested to bring cultural heritage content to classrooms. The project website will be maintained by members of the project team for two years after the project ends, and then by one or more interested stakeholders in the longer term.

In the longer term this project will have a significant impact on the life and wellbeing of people in Sub-Saharan Africa through learning of cultural heritage, and utilization of knowledge from the past in addressing some health and wellbeing issues, and sustainable tourism development. It will also benefit tourism and health sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa.Thus, in the longer term the project will contribute to several SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals): SDG 4.7.1 (Education for Sustainable Development), SDG 8.9 & SDG12b (Sustainable tourism and creation of jobs and promoting local culture and products), SDG11.4 (Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world's cultural and natural heritage).

Publications

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Description Based on a series of online meetings and a 2-day workshop at Northumbria University (on 3rd and 4th June 2019), the project team agreed to engage with a small set of schoolteachers in the partner countries to co-design a mobile app, as a proof-of-concept that can be used by the schoolteachers to select African cultural heritage and indigenous content in classrooms. The design activities were led by the project team in the UK and Nigeria, while members of the other project teams participated in the conceptualisation and design of the LeaPS app as a proof-of concept. The project developed the initial prototype of a mobile and web app that would allow schoolteachers select quality digital cultural heritage content for preparing lessons and reading materials in classrooms. We co-designed this prototype with schoolteachers in four African countries - Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria. An outline of this prototype can be found at the following link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DHiIwXI5KcptcNIg_TSyuPBUnWxdBORi
Exploitation Route The initial prototype mobile and web app needs to be developed and tested further with more schoolteachers and schoolchildren in Africa in order to develop a full version that can be rolled out to African schools.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education

URL http://www.leapsgcrf.com