Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts (DigiCONFLICT)

Lead Research Organisation: De Montfort University
Department Name: School of Humanities

Abstract

DigiCONFLICT will explore the impact of digital heritage on contemporary engagements with the past in specific national frameworks in Poland, Sweden and Israel. Focusing on oral history, photography and multimedia museums as some of the most common media used to digitalise cultural heritage, the project responds to the Call's 'Critical Engagements with Digital Heritage' trajectory, endeavouring to challenge widespread claims about the universality and democratising abilities of digital heritage. Even though digital heritage maintains the potential to increase cohesion across nations and social groups, it is equally used to cement elite power structures, define what counts as cultural heritage, and determine whose cultural heritage is worthy of preservation. While acknowledging the role digital heritage plays in shaping and distributing cultural heritage, the project's point of departure is that digital heritage cannot be considered in separation from historical, cultural and national contexts. The project has three main aims: 1) to explore how national politics affect digital definitions of cultural heritage, 2) to investigate who creates and engages with digital heritage, and how, and 3) to study how the scope and value of cultural heritage are being negotiated and reformulated in a digital context. The consortium will elaborate innovative research approaches to digital heritage through analysis of policy documents related to the case studies, to understand how specific institutions, governments and communities define, mark, and share cultural heritage. To achieve its aims, the consortium will employ interviews with professionals and members of communities who participate in the digitalisation of cultural heritage. It will study what parameters affect the creation of digital heritage products, inquire what is gained and lost when cultural heritage becomes digital, and explore who the main beneficiaries are. Findings will mainly be disseminated via scholarly and mainstream publications, workshops, and a dedicated interactive website.

Planned Impact

At the end of the first year of the project the Swedish team will organize a public workshop at the Nordic Museum for professionals in the cultural heritage sector focused on oral history, life stories and exclusions and inclusions in and by the digital heritage. Members of the public and especially those who have contributed to the ongoing development of the museum's oral history and life stories collections will be invited to attend and contribute. This will not only create an opportunity to communicate scholarly research results to professionals in the cultural heritage sector but also to learn from their practical experiences and enhance scholarly understanding of their expectations of digital heritage and the challenges they encounter when digitalizing cultural heritage.

In the second year of the project the Polish team will organise a workshop on the ethical and legal issues of digitalisation and multimedia museums. The workshop will discuss the ethical and legal implications of the digitisation of private memories, photographs, everyday objects. It will also consider Multimedia Museums, their Oral and Visual History Archives, and digital platforms in the framework of museum ethics, human rights and the societal roles of cultural heritage. The workshop will involve museum professionals, stakeholders, and scholars (in particular lawyers dealing with human rights, cultural heritage, copyrights). It will also involve representatives of communities of participants in the creation of multimedia museums and cultural heritage digital platforms, who will be accessed by following the existing institutional protocols implemented by their outreach teams.

Towards the end of the second year of the project, the UK team will organise a two-day international conference. The UK team is well-connected with many scholars and professionals who lead some of the most influential museums, galleries and archives in the country. The conference will constitute a framework to start sketching out and disseminating some of the project's most important findings as it reaches to an end. It will enable the widest range possible of scholars, curators, archivists, policymakers and stakeholders to introduce DigiCONFLICT and its expanded research community to nuanced case studies from national and international sociocultural environments. The conference will thus help connect scholars and professionals from multiple social and cultural backgrounds with a view to creating pathways for the development and sustainability of legacy for the DigiCONFLICT research project.

The project will also involve the larger public through engagement with mainstream media outlets and the organization of public events addressed to schools and the Third Age. The UK team will hold a series of master classes in secondary schools in the multicultural city of Leicester, discussing with youngsters and demonstrating how digital technologies complicate relationships between individuals, communities, histories and the experience of culture. The Polish team will organise in collaboration with a local public museum institution (ex. The National Museum in Warsaw) a cycle of popular public lectures entitled This is Our History addressed to the Third Age. The Swedish team will organize a cycle of get-togethers entitled, This is Our Cultural Heritage, for secondary school students at different places (Botkyrka in cooperation with the Multicultural Centre, AP of the project) and Växjö (organized by researcher Jesper Johansson from the Swedish team) in Sweden. The main aim of all these regional events will be to encourage these groups to engage in active reflection, participation and contribution to the creation and shaping of digital heritage.
 
Title Digital online exhibition - Recovering Connections: Poles, Jews and Our Interrelated Cultural Heritage (2021) 
Description This is a co-curated digital online exhibition of photographs, each of which is accompanied by a text written by the contributor. The exhibition features photographs of the realities individually encountered by members of Leicester's Jewish and Polish communities in their day-to-day life. Viewing is open to the general public. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact The digital online exhibition has been curated and launched in March 2021. It is one of the outputs of Pasternak's collaborative partnership with the President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and the Chair of Project Polska. On 5 November 2019 Pasternak launched and delivered a community engagement project on Polish and Jewish interrelated heritage. It employed disposable cameras, digitisation, and digitalisation practices as a means to bring together participants from both sociocultural groups to explore each other's history, beliefs, values, and everyday realities through carefully considered photographic storytelling. The development of the exhibition during workshop sessions helped the two otherwise separated communities to nurture mutual appreciation of their cultural worlds as well as sensitivity to the role digital technology plays in framing, negotiating, and redefining cultural heritage more broadly. It resulted in the establishment of new inter-communal contacts and friendships. Members of the two communities have also organised a number of additional social and sociable events subsequently, to further explore each other's history, culture and shared heritage, for example around traditional types of food and music. 
URL https://recovering-connections.net/
 
Title Recovering Connections: Poles, Jews and Our Interrelated Cultural Heritage 
Description This is a co-curated book of photographs, each of which is accompanied by a text written by the contributor. The book features photographs of the realities individually encountered by members of Leicester's Jewish and Polish communities in their day-to-day life. It was designed and self-published in collaboration with members of the two communities. Published in 2020, it is one of the outputs of a community engagement activity of multiple workshops that Pasternak launched on 5 November 2019 in partnership with the President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and the Chair of Project Polska. Exploring Polish and Jewish interrelated heritage, the workshops employed disposable cameras, digitisation, and digitalisation practices as a means to bring together participants from both sociocultural groups in the city of Leicester to explore each other's history, beliefs, values, and everyday realities through carefully considered photographic storytelling. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The development of the photobook during workshop sessions helped the two otherwise separate communities to nurture mutual appreciation of their cultural worlds as well as sensitivity to the role digital technology plays in framing, negotiating, and redefining cultural heritage more broadly. It resulted in the establishment of new inter-communal contacts and friendships. Members of the two communities have also organised a number of additional social and sociable events subsequently, to further explore each other's history, culture and shared heritage, for example around traditional types of food and music. 
 
Title Voices from Our Photo Albums 
Description On 27 October 2019 the photographic display "Voices from Our Photo Albums" opened to the public in Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre at the village of Akrotiri, located within one of the British Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus. The occasion signified the culmination of community engagement activities that Pasternak carried out in the area earlier that month. Having digitized family albums of members of the local community, who gave their formal consent to contribute, he curated and installed a digital display of a selection of historical photographs capable of encouraging members of the British and Cypriot communities to engage in inter-communal explorations of their mutual influence. As well as demonstrating the value of family photographs as socio-culturally informative historical sources, the display was designed as an interactive social means to facilitate communal and inter-generational communication and to enthuse more members of the local community to take ownership of the initiative by gathering photographic records concerning their heritage. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact With approximately one hundred individuals visiting the space on the opening day, the display proved to have been a great success. Members of the local communities were given the option of leaving written comments for the curator. Some reported change in their understanding of family photographs, seeing them now as historical records of relevance to the whole community rather than as mere private records of family members and sociable occasions. Community members also expressed their interest in beginning to employ digital technology to explore and disseminate historical family photographs; they explained that the display helped them to experience the benefits of digital technology in terms of enhanced accessibility to image content and details as well as a means to communicate their legacies to the younger generation. Some members of the community also voiced their wish to continue to gather photographs from their peers and prompt the local council to help them to establish an organized formal community archive in order to preserve their heritage for their children, grandchildren and future generations more broadly. 
 
Description Since the 1990s, digital technologies have gradually become dominant participants in the collection, safeguarding, expression and production of cultural heritage. This reality has enabled the increasing engagement of the public with recognised heritage assets. It has also created opportunities for the inclusion of underrepresented social groups and marginalised communities in the identification and definition of cultural heritage. As such, the absorption of digital technologies into heritage practices has allegedly provided the means for diversifying heritage collections as a way of incorporating the cultural inheritance of people from all walks of life. The timely research carried out between 2018 and 2021 as part of the project Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts has shown that the exclusion of social and ethnic groups from cultural heritage still persists nevertheless, mainly due to political pressures and digital literacy gaps in particular.

The Project results revealed that, despite the popularity of digital heritage initiatives that rely on crowdsourcing and public engagement, contributions are usually restricted to the privileged few. The scope of exclusion is either built into the initiatives to facilitate dogmatic schemes or it is the consequence of limited abilities-conditioned by access to technology, digital proficiency and conceptual skills. Dominant forces occasionally also exploit the limited abilities of community members to their own benefit, excluding them from cultural heritage through their inclusion in its documentation.

In this regard, the Project identified digital literacy as one of the main factors influencing the level of involvement of the public in digital heritagisation initiatives. Digital literacy is not merely understood here in connection with the question of who can contribute to digital heritagization, but mostly in connection with that of who can practically participate in this process to influence the selection of objects for digitization and to determine their relationship with their digital representations and with their sociocultural interpretations. This approach highlights the mutual yet unbalanced reliance of stakeholder communities and authorised culture institutions for digital heritagisation. Put differently, digital literacy gaps leave contributions made by communities rather exposed to manipulation mainly as a result of their commonly limited digital education, experience and expertise. Their inclusion in attempts to diversify heritage collections may therefore still result in their exclusion from the digitization process, where heritage assets are often recognised and their significance is usually defined.

Institutional policies and legal protection of cultural heritage also came to surface during the research as related areas requiring further investigation. Institutional policies usually still lag behind developments in the heritage sector and technological innovation. Thus, official culture organisations tend to consider community heritage as a means of targeting new audiences and of promoting public engagement with recognised assets, overlooking its own cultural importance. Similarly, community contributions to digital heritage normally receive no legal recognition as heritage assets and they also enjoy no legal protection as a consequence. These conditions reduce the perceived cultural value of forms of cultural heritage identified as such by communities, resulting in their re-marginalisation and eventual exclusion from the mainstream discourse and treatment of cultural heritage.
Exploitation Route The research outcomes could be taken forward by heritage practitioners in the museums and culture sectors, especially those interested in developing digital photographic collections and archives in partnership with non-professional heritage communities/activists. Generating training opportunities in visual and digital literacy for non-professional heritage practitioners remains one of the most urgent conditions for their ability to make meaningful contributions to the identification and safeguarding of cultural heritage, even more so in the context of postdigital societies. Provision of such training programmes could also facilitate recognition of people-centred cultural heritage by culture institutions and equip these with greater ability to develop people-cantered collections, archives, and related educational and public engagement activities. Ideally, training schemes will not merely perpetuate professional attitudes towards definitions of cultural/digital heritage. Instead, they would rather equip participants with technical digital skills and sufficient understanding about the gains and disadvantages of digital culture, while openly acknowledging the cultural limitations of professional standards and inviting participants to prioritise their perceived cultural needs. We would also suggest that any public funds awarded to grassroots organisations towards the development of digital heritage initiatives should include provision of suitable training in digital literacy with a view to maximising value, benefit, and efficacy altogether.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts (DigiCONFLICT) developed social and cultural research through direct engagement with organisations in the museums and culture sectors and through cooperation with grassroots heritage initiatives and communities. Impact has subsequently been embedded in the Project's public engagement strategy, and generated in multiple countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden, Cyprus, Israel, and Russia. The impact reported in this summary pertains specifically to that achieved exclusively by the UK team (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, AHRC), while also incorporating discussions of impact that was achieved via collaboration between the Project's UK team and the Project's international research partner teams in Poland and Sweden. Establishing platforms for knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer, such as professional workshops and public conferences, the Project increased the participation of under-represented grassroots organisations and under-engaged communities in academic and cultural debates. More specifically, it increased their participation in public deliberations about the benefits and challenges presented by digital technology to the diversification of cultural heritage and to the inclusion of socially and ethnically diverse stakeholders in its definition and identification. We achieved this impact through the delivery of three key events, each of which brought together scholars, policymakers and stakeholders. In October 2018 we organised a workshop in partnership with the Nordic Museum in Stockholm that engaged approximately 30 heritage scholars, students, policymakers, and stakeholders from Sweden, Finland and Canada in discussions about the visibility of migration in national heritage collections and the problematics of digital testimonies in a museum context. In June 2021, a two-day conference that we organised in partnership with the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk looked into the challenges of social and cultural inclusion caused by the absorption of digital technologies into contemporary historical and memory museums, reaching so far a global audience of over 330 heritage scholars, policymakers, stakeholders and post/graduate students via livestreaming and online viewing of the event recordings. In October 2021, a two-day conference that we organised in partnership with the National Trust (UK) focused on the challenges posed by the politics of photographic digitisation on the ability of cultural institutions and grassroots communities to diversify approaches to cultural heritage, reaching so far a global audience of over 390 heritage scholars, policymakers, stakeholders and post/graduate students via livestreaming and online viewing of the event recordings. One National Trust curator and policymaker who partook in this series of events said, "Partnering with DigiCONFLICT was a fantastic opportunity to dig into some of the complex realities that underpin any aspiration to digitise collections that have myriad potential for interpretation in different local, regional, national and international context, and which exist within the many different, and sometimes conflicting, claims and priorities that this can give rise to. The opportunities that this partnership created for us to encounter and listen to scholars, and especially to otherwise underrepresented members of heritage communities, helped us unpack points of contact between the roles of cultural institutions, the communities that they serve, and the political circumstances that inevitably participate in shaping heritage, cultural legacy, digitisation and interaction with digital collections." The Project also enhanced the approaches of international professional and community archivists and curators towards the digital collection, preservation, interpretation, and digital dissemination of cultural heritage. We delivered more than 15 consultations and professional training programmes on photographic digitisation methodology, archival documentation practices, and the cultivation of community participatory culture, all of which were aimed at heritage practitioners working on photographic digital heritage initiatives in authorised institutions and grassroots organisations. Beneficiaries included the Ben-Zvi Institute (Israel), Black Country Visual Arts (UK), Kiryat Tivon's Library and Memorial Centre (Israel), the National Trust (UK), Nesher's Heritage Centre (Israel), Rishon Le Zion Museum (Israel), the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russia), and the community initiatives ReFramed (UK) and the Moroccan Jewish Story in 360 (Israel and Morocco). One of the Project participants, who is the Director of a community-based heritage digitisation initiative at Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, said that, "Our cooperation with you, as Project Leader of Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts, has influenced how we now understand the potential role played by personal photographs in salvaging and safeguarding cultural heritage, especially in connection with localized cultural heritage and the cultural heritage that come to the surface in ethnically diverse communities. Following your delivery of training to our initiative's coordinators, and thanks to your one-to-one consultations with our heritage documentarians in the initiative's documentation centers across the country of Israel, our initiative volunteers have begun to document more nuanced information when digitizing community heritage, which simultaneously helps us to generate richer and more meaningful metadata for the digital records. Through our application of this improved approach, the resulting digital database of our initiative becomes more effective at providing access to intangible forms of cultural heritage, and more equipped to cater to the needs of researchers, the local creative industry, and most importantly, to the aspirations of our initiative's community participants." The impact activities at the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan have led to enhancements to cultural heritage preservation and interpretation and to the submission of a formal Policy Brief whose main aim was to inform the Museum's photographic collecting methodologies and underscore the advantages of photographic digitisation for capacity building. One key area of consideration was the development of strategies to employ digitisation for the integration of community-generated photographic works of historical significance into the Museum collections. The Museum's Curator of Photographic Collections explained that, "The educational training programme and talks on photographic history and heritage that you delivered to our staff and interns in 2020 and 2021 helped us to better understand how photographic traditions participate in processes of heritage creation and spread. Through these encounters and through our consultations with you, we obtained invaluable knowledge about how we could exploit different archival practices and digitization to assimilate photographic objects, specifically from our local communities, into our museum's photographic fonds. We also consider your Policy Brief to be filled with practical advice and guidance that can allow us to develop our new photographic fonds in ways that will build directly on the preservation of photographic objects of local historical value, and by taking advantage of digital technology to document and make important contextualizing objects easily accessible to local, national and international researchers. We filed a copy of the Policy Brief in our Museum archive, and it is our intention to draw on your insights and recommendations very closely to inform our new collecting policy for our dedicated photographic fonds." In exploring prevalent digital heritagisation practices and uses of digital heritage through discussions with professional and grassroots practitioners, the Project stimulated their interest in subject-specific research and improved their ability to employ their resources to promote their visions more inclusively and effectively. A particularly close, ongoing engagement has developed with the Apna Heritage Archive, administered by Black Country Visual Arts. In 2018, the organisation appointed the Project Leader as Adviser for the Archive. We subsequently co-organised and delivered educational workshops, lectures and masterclasses on sociocultural inclusion via photographic digital heritage to students in Dudley College of Technology, University of Wolverhampton, and Koç University in Turkey. The creator and curator of the Apna Heritage Archive said that, "Our work with the UK research team of Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts led to a significant increase in the public visibility of the Apna Heritage Archive and to an equally significant growth in the attention it receives both by its source community of Punjabi migrants in the Black Country and by scholars and cultural institutions in the UK and in India. Participating in the Project's research activities enabled us to improve, and even transform our understanding of the educational potential rooted in our digital archive. We learnt to recognise the contributions it can make not only about the history of the community that is at the heart of the photographic collections, but also about Black Country history, and issues like the conflicting experiences of migration, the cultural implications of socialisation, and the social effects of racism. Developing this close relationship with the Project Leader also provided us with opportunities to deepen our understanding of digitisation methodologies and archival practices. The knowledge we gained in this respect led us to instigate new cataloguing practices to enhance public accessibility at the level of individual objects and to optimise archival content in the photographic database, to make it more easily accessible to our target audience and the public at large." This sustainable cooperation with the Apna Heritage Archive also resulted in a joint participatory research project by the name of Picturing Untold Migration Experiences: Punjabi Social Struggles and Everyday Life in the Black Country, designed to increase the deployment of resources from the digital Apna Heritage Archive in teaching activities on local history, migration, racism and acculturation for Key Stage 3 students in the Black Country region of the West Midlands, and beyond. The Project has also cooperated with divided and minority communities in Cyprus and the UK (2019-2020), co-creating cultural outputs and programming to promote the use of digital heritage for the mitigation of cultural conflicts on community-level interactions. One key result was the photographic digital display Voices from Our Photo Albums (2019) that opened to the public in the small village of Akrotiri in one of the British Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus and that attracted more than 100 visitors on the opening day, both from Akrotiri Village and the local military base. Two additional interrelated key results were the photobook (2020) and digital exhibition (2021) by the name of Recovering Connections: Poles, Jews, and Our Interrelated Cultural Heritage that were co-created through a series of workshops convened by the Project Leader in cooperation with Jewish and Polish community activists in the city of Leicester. Since opening to the public in March 2021, the digital exhibition attracted 130 visitors and 765 views, mainly from the UK, USA, and Poland, but also from China, Canada, France, Turkey, Singapore, Denmark, and Egypt. One of the participants said that the Project "gave an opportunity for members of the Polish and Jewish communities in Leicester, who might never otherwise have met, to exchange personal histories and experiences". Another participant added that, "following the project, further [joint] initiatives are being planned."
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Activating the Photographic Mass: Identity & History in the National Trust's Photography Collections
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Adviser for BeLonging: Taking Responsibility for the Community Story
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Adviser for digital heritage interactive collection based in Israel absorbing cultural heritage of Moroccan Jews from international sources
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Adviser on digital community engagement strategies for "Digital Diaspora: The Midlands Covid-19 Project"
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Appointment as adviser to Black Country Visual Arts
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Provision of advice on digitisation methodology, archival practice, and the cultivation of participatory culture (in particular for the Apna Heritage Archive project, managed by Black Country Visual Arts). This led to a successful Arts Council England grant application, which assists the Black Country's community of Punjab migrants to preserve and make accessible their photographic cultural heritage. A community exhibition is scheduled for late 2019.
URL http://www.bcva.info/the-team
 
Description Collections Advisor at the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Collections Advisor at the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Delivery of professional training on photographic digitisation, preservation and community engagement strategies
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Delivery of professional training on preparation of family photographs for digitisation and their continued preservation as material objects
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Delivery of professional training on the cultivation of participatory digital culture amongst youngsters
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Delivery of professional training on uses of family photographs in nationally framed digital heritage archives
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Provision of advice and delivery of talks on community engagement activities and photographic cultural diplomacy for the Apna Heritage Archive (managed by Black Country Visual Arts)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Research adviser and evaluator of at-risk cultural heritage social monuments
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Research adviser and evaluator of culture and heritage objects, collections, displays and museums
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description National Trust, UK 
Organisation National Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We organised a two-day conference, taking responsibility to identify and invite speakers for the programme. We also developed and circulated a call for online participants. In addition, we made arrangements to livestream the event online, record it, as well as light-edit and upload the resulting recordings online, for more potential audiences to view and engage with the content.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners contributed intellectual and administrative input. They enabled the participation of two curators in panel presentations and discussions, as well as contributions to chairing duties. They also assisted in advertising the event via their social media outlets.
Impact The partnership with the National Trust (UK) resulted in the two-day livestreamed conference "Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political", which took place online on 19-20 October 2021. The event was multi-disciplinary, involving scholars and academics from the disciplines and fields of: anthropology, history, photography studies, art history, memory studies, and postcolonial studies. The partnership also resulted in recordings of the event, accessible online via YouTube free of charge.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Nordic Museum, Sweden 
Organisation Nordic Museum
Country Sweden 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We organised a one-day workshop and took responsibility to identify and invite speakers for the programme, as well as to develop and circulate a call for participants.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners contributed facilities, hospitality, digital equipment, technical support and intellectual input.
Impact The partnership with the Nordic Museum in Sweden resulted in the one-day workshop Digital Heritage and Oral History, which took place on 24 October 2018 at the Nordic Museum. The event was multi-disciplinary, involving scholars and academics from the disciplines and fields of: history, folklore studies, art history, memory studies, archival studies, migration studies, cultural studies.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Project Polska and Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation 
Organisation Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution On 5 November 2019 Gil Pasternak launched and delivered a community engagement initiative on Polish and Jewish interrelated heritage, titled Photo Storytelling: Poles, Jews and Our Interrelated Heritage. The initiative was designed to help build social, cultural, and interpersonal bridges between the otherwise largely segregated UK-based Polish and Jewish communities through engagement with photography and digital technologies, focusing more specifically on the two communities in the city of Leicester. Pasternak secured a room and facilities at his home University (De Montfort) to host members of the two communities. In total he organised three sessions, which combined formal talks and interactive activities, mainly designed, delivered and steered by himself. As part of the sessions, Pasternak delivered a series of talks on photography as a social and cultural means of communication, instructing participants to employ disposable cameras to produce pictures of their own about their day to day life and interests. Pasternak liaised with a local photo-lab and made arrangements to process the films and digitise the images. He then held a series of analytical workshops with participants. First, he facilitated discussions among participants from both sociocultural groups about each other's history, beliefs, values, and everyday realities through carefully considered photographic storytelling. He later assisted them to select images for inclusion in a curated book and online digital exhibition as well as in writing communicative texts to accompany the photographs. All three workshops in the series employed digital technology to help participants gain different perspectives about the photographs they made as well as a means to enhance inclusion of all participants in conversations and analysis. Pasternak also contributed a contextualising text for the resulting self-published book and online exhibition.
Collaborator Contribution The President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and the Chair of Project Polska advertised an open call for participation, each among members of their community. In effect they were responsible for the recruitment of interested parties. The Chair of Project Polska has in addition applied for funds form the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester. The funds received were used for the purchase of disposable cameras, coverage of film processing, digitisation costs, costs of a domain to host an online digital exhibition, and production costs of a self-published photo book. Some of the budget was also used for the provision of light refreshments for the project's participants. Both the President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and the Chair of Project Polska also assisted in facilitating discussions during the workshops and took full reasponsibility to liaise with memebrs of their community and communicate information and instructions concerning each of the sessions held during the duration of the project.
Impact In terms of outcomes, participants in the workshops/initiative reported change in views, opinions and behaviors. They established new inter-communal contacts and friendships and organised a number of additional social and sociable events to further explore each other's history, culture and shared heritage, for example around traditional types of food and music. In terms of outputs, the project was designed to culminate in a self-published photobook (to be published by August 2020) and an online digital exhibition (to go live by March 2021), both featuring contributions from the Jewish and Polish communities. The exhibition and the book were curated with the intention of helping the two otherwise separate communities to nurture mutual appreciation of their cultural worlds as well as sensitivity to the role digital technology plays in framing, negotiating, and redefining cultural heritage more broadly.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Project Polska and Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation 
Organisation Project Polska
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution On 5 November 2019 Gil Pasternak launched and delivered a community engagement initiative on Polish and Jewish interrelated heritage, titled Photo Storytelling: Poles, Jews and Our Interrelated Heritage. The initiative was designed to help build social, cultural, and interpersonal bridges between the otherwise largely segregated UK-based Polish and Jewish communities through engagement with photography and digital technologies, focusing more specifically on the two communities in the city of Leicester. Pasternak secured a room and facilities at his home University (De Montfort) to host members of the two communities. In total he organised three sessions, which combined formal talks and interactive activities, mainly designed, delivered and steered by himself. As part of the sessions, Pasternak delivered a series of talks on photography as a social and cultural means of communication, instructing participants to employ disposable cameras to produce pictures of their own about their day to day life and interests. Pasternak liaised with a local photo-lab and made arrangements to process the films and digitise the images. He then held a series of analytical workshops with participants. First, he facilitated discussions among participants from both sociocultural groups about each other's history, beliefs, values, and everyday realities through carefully considered photographic storytelling. He later assisted them to select images for inclusion in a curated book and online digital exhibition as well as in writing communicative texts to accompany the photographs. All three workshops in the series employed digital technology to help participants gain different perspectives about the photographs they made as well as a means to enhance inclusion of all participants in conversations and analysis. Pasternak also contributed a contextualising text for the resulting self-published book and online exhibition.
Collaborator Contribution The President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and the Chair of Project Polska advertised an open call for participation, each among members of their community. In effect they were responsible for the recruitment of interested parties. The Chair of Project Polska has in addition applied for funds form the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester. The funds received were used for the purchase of disposable cameras, coverage of film processing, digitisation costs, costs of a domain to host an online digital exhibition, and production costs of a self-published photo book. Some of the budget was also used for the provision of light refreshments for the project's participants. Both the President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and the Chair of Project Polska also assisted in facilitating discussions during the workshops and took full reasponsibility to liaise with memebrs of their community and communicate information and instructions concerning each of the sessions held during the duration of the project.
Impact In terms of outcomes, participants in the workshops/initiative reported change in views, opinions and behaviors. They established new inter-communal contacts and friendships and organised a number of additional social and sociable events to further explore each other's history, culture and shared heritage, for example around traditional types of food and music. In terms of outputs, the project was designed to culminate in a self-published photobook (to be published by August 2020) and an online digital exhibition (to go live by March 2021), both featuring contributions from the Jewish and Polish communities. The exhibition and the book were curated with the intention of helping the two otherwise separate communities to nurture mutual appreciation of their cultural worlds as well as sensitivity to the role digital technology plays in framing, negotiating, and redefining cultural heritage more broadly.
Start Year 2019
 
Description School of Archaeology and Ancient History - Ancient Akrotiri Project, Cyprus 
Organisation University of Leicester
Department School of Archaeology and Ancient History
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research initiative "Akrotiri Salt Lake's Living Histories: Recovering Maritime Cultures in Family Photographs and Oral History" - part of the Ancient Akrotiri Project at the University of Leicester - ran a pilot scheme in October 2019 to assess the viability of establishing a community digital photographic and oral history archive in the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri, Cyprus. The purpose of the pilot was twofold. First, it was designed to employ family photographs and oral history as means to strengthen the relationship between the archaeologists/researchers and the local community as well as between the Cypriot and British residents. To this end Pasternak engaged members of the local communities in a range of activities that were geared towards helping them to document their own history, culture and heritage. Secondly, the pilot was designed to employ the same means to elicit and capture memories of undocumented archaeological remains of Cypriot villagers and serving as well as past members of the UK military community. In this respect, Pasternak experimented with photography-based research methods to evaluate whether they could help researchers from the Ancient Akrotiri Project to glean from the communities their own local knowledge about archaeological remains as a means to elaborate knowledge and understanding of the archaeology of the Akrotiri peninsula. Gil Pasternak digitised and documented photographs from family photo albums and other photo collections that belong to local participants who formally gave their consent to contribute to the project. He also designed and curated a public engagement activity (a digital public display) with a view to enabling members of the local communities to share and celebrate their heritage, and enthuse the younger generations to learn more about their community's history and culture. In addition to these, Pasternak provided his collaborative partners with practical knowledge, understanding, and skills concerning photography-based research methods, together with suggestions and general advice on possibilities to establish the desired archive and populate it with subject-specific research data.
Collaborator Contribution Pasternak's collaborative partners: designed, prepared, translated and circulated calls for research participants and volunteers; facilitated introductions to participants and volunteers; liaised with community coordinators and the communications team at RAF Akrotiri; secured a space and equipment to host a public engagement event, including the organisation of a public reception; advertised the project and the public engagement event locally.
Impact The week of photographic digitisation and interviews with the people of Akrotiri culminated in a photographic public display, which was hosted by Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre on Sunday, 27 October 2019. Entitled, "Voices from Our Photo Albums", the display was digital and enabled an insight into the sociocultural history of Akrotiri as presented through the family albums of its residents. The public display received over one hundred visitors. Providing a space for the community to share their experiences, it prompted and facilitated cross-generational conversations about Akrotiri's sociocultural past and enthused younger generations to continue exploring the history of Akrotiri.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Leicester 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This has been a collaboration between Pasternak and a scholar from the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester that has resulted from the award owing to Pasternak's work with institutional and community digital archives that safeguard photographic records about Israeli and Jewish heritage in Israel. The collaboration intended to create opportunities for scholars and academics to consider and reflect on the effect of digitised visual sources on research activities and analysis. With this in mind, it revolved around the co-organisation of an online workshop series that sought to explore the significance of dress in Jewish history but, importantly, through engagement with and exploration of visual sources, most of which have been digitised and become absorbed subsequently into digital archives and collections worldwide. The workshop was delivered between October and December 2020 and comprised five meetings with international audiences, contributors and subject experts. Each session revolved around a specific theme of historical, cultural or technological significance. Pasternak and the collaborating party co-convened the sessions and steered discussions about the implication of conducting research into cultural history with digitally-mediated visual sources. Pasternak has also recorded and edited the talks into self-contained video clips and maintained a YouTube channel to make these accessible to other scholars, academics and interested members of the public more broadly (excluding Q&As and additional discussions).
Collaborator Contribution Pasternak's collaborative partners: prepared and circulated calls for contributions and participation; recruited high-profile contributors; financed a Zoom account to accommodate the workshop online; financed a website to circulate information about the events and maintain records on content and speakers; liaised with all speakers and made all necessary arrangements for their talks; advertised the series to increase public engagement.
Impact The collaboration has brought together scholars from multiple academic fields and disciplines, such as cultural history, fashion studies, design history, history of emotions, Jewish studies, German studies, photography studies, art history, memory studies, visual culture, theology studies, among others. The partnership resulted in the online workshop series "Picturing Jewish Dress: Researching Belonging and Identification Through Historical Visual Sources". It also resulted in a YouTube channel featuring all the talks for which Pasternak and his collaborating partner have obtained speaker permissions to disseminate the recorded content publicly: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfMNja2Vm8oLB0q8mG8s2RkfDhmk1CfFA In addition, the editor-in-chief of a leading peer-reviewed journal on cloth and culture has contacted the organisers of the workshop series to turn it into a special issue that will be edited by Pasternak and his research partner. The special issue is intended to be dedicated to explorations of the implications of conducting research into cultural history of cloth and fashion with digitally-mediated visual sources.
Start Year 2020
 
Description A class with Gil Pasternak on digitised photographic cultural heritage delivered at Episkopi Primary School for British Service Families 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact On 25 October 2019 Gil Pasternak co-delivered a class on digitised photographic cultural heritage to year 6 pupils at Episkopi Primary School for British Service Families. Intended as an enrichment educational activity to their history curriculum, the lesson included many interactive exercises. Among others, the pupils were guided to consider photographs as historical primary sources, identify the advantages and limitations of photographic digital heritage, and explore what can be learnt about the history of British-Cypriot relations from the digitised versions of photographs that Pasternak helped scan from albums of Cypriot families living in Cyprus' British Overseas Territory. To cement photographic and digital literacy alike, part of the lesson revolved around digitised photographs originally produced in Victorian England, which was one of the historical periods the pupils were studying at the time. Approximately 50 pupils participated in the session. All pupils contributed eagerly and their teachers reported increased interest in uses of photographs and photographic digital sources/archives in research-based assignments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://digiconflict.net/2019/10/28/old-photographs-as-historical-sources-in-a-digital-world-a-class...
 
Description A guest talk by Gil Pasternak at the University of Wolverhampton 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact On 8 November 2019, Gil Pasternak was invited to deliver a talk to students and members of the public at Wolverhampton School of Art, the University of Wolverhampton. Discussing the relationship of photography with political, social, and civic affairs, Gil used this opportunity to demonstrate the significant role photography has played in the organisation of collective interpersonal relations since its first appearance in the nineteenth century, as well as in the formation of connected cultural knowledge and memory, since the medium's absorption into smart communication technologies, social media, and digital archives. In particular his talk explored the ways in which photographs are used in our time to manage identity politics, preserve cultural heritage, and overcome as well as administrate cultural conflicts through institutional, professional, and communal digital heritage initiatives. Audiences comprised approximately 30 individuals, and a request to contribute to a popular volume on the current employment of photographic digital heritage and oral history in the documentation of social and cultural history in the Black Country was received from Geoff Broadway, Project Director of Living Memory, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.wlv.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/2019/november/photographs-in-interpersonal-relations-an...
 
Description A masterclass by Gil Pasternak delivered at Dudley College of Technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Titled "What are Family Photographs Made to do at Home, in Public, and in Digital Heritage?", this class and the interactions it involved explored the many uses of family photographs in domestic and public contexts, Pasternak split the session into three parts, each of which paid attention to different types of practices and social environments. In the first part he explored the history and development of family photography from the nineteenth century to the present day, with specific focus on conventional representational practices, distribution technologies, and the common functions of family photographs. In the second part of the talk he investigated a selection of instances in which family photographs have become absorbed into the public environment, discussing what might have made family photographs, as otherwise private types of objects, most fit for purpose. Lastly, in the talk's final part, Pasternak discussed the growing attention family photographs receive in cultural heritage digitisation and digitalisation initiatives. Here he was particularly concerned with the various ways in which family photographs have been used to preserve as well as salvage "forgotten" cultural heritage. Part of the talk included direct interaction with the students who brought some photographs from their own family albums as a means to explore what happens to family photographs once taken out of the domestic environment, whether through digitisation, digitalised circulation, or otherwise. Audience comprised of approximately 65 individuals, the majority of whom were FE students. Teachers from the school also joined the event as well as a number of heritage professionals from the area. Teachers reported increased interest in questions concerning the impact that digital and smart technologies exert on historical photographic records. In addition, a request to contribute to a popular volume on the current employment of photographic digital heritage and oral history in the documentation of social and cultural history in the Black Country was received from Geoff Broadway, Project Director of Living Memory, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description An invited public talk by Gil Pasternak at Yad Vashem (Heichal Yahaduth Wolyn) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Gil Pasternak was invited to speak at the annual memorial assembly for the Jews of Piotrków Trybunalski, organised by the Piotrków Trybunalski Jewish Association in Israel. Having accompanied members and friends of the Association on a commemoration and heritage-preservation trip to the city of their ancestors, Pasternak titled his talk, "Preserving Piotrków Trybunalski's Jewish Heritage: Observations, Impressions, and Conclusions from Commemoration Trip 2019". He shared with the audience some of his observations about the challenges of heritage maintenance facing the second, third, and fourth generations of Shoah survivors. He also discussed the options available for salvaging first-hand knowledge of Jewish life and culture in the city both during and prior to the Second World War. Dedicating part of his talk to differentiate between "collective memory" and "connected memory", Pasternak especially highlighted the importance of cultivating a Jewish-Polish inter-communal participatory culture and the advantages of utilising informative historical photographs in combination with digital heritage practices.

The audience comprised approximately 70 individuals, mostly general members of the public who are first, second or third generations of Holocaust survivors. The organisers reported that a number of the participants changes their views and behaviours following the talk, especially increased interest in digitising their historical family photographs for the benefit of heritage preservation activities carried out by the Association. The organisers also expressed their sincere wish to involve Pasternak in steering committees focused on the development of strategies to engage younger generations in the absorption and preservation of the heritage of the Jewish community of Piotrków Trybunalski.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Conference organisation in partnership with the European Solidarity Centre in Poland 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On 21-22 June 2021 the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium held the conference "Museums Fit for the 21st Century: The Challenge of Technology" in partnership with the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk (Poland). The conference was designed to consider the "digital turn" in the institution of the museum as an important derivative of wider societal and cultural changes. Bringing together scholars, practitioners and policymakers, it constituted a platform for knowledge exchange about the ways in which digital technology has both empowered and hindered the ability of museums to promote democratic values and address cultural conflicts in the twenty-first century. Over 50 people viewed the livestream during the event and more than 280 caught up with its recording online afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2Ve8ypjcIg
 
Description Conference organisation in partnership with the National Trust, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On 19-20 June 2021 the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium held the conference "Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political" in partnership with the National Trust (UK). The conference explored how uses of digital technology, and digitisation in particular, have transformed the ways in which historical photographs of value to perceived inherited cultural legacies are collected, deployed and identified as such. It specifically investigated what has led formal heritage and memory institutions to drive this process, how heritage communities might have navigated their aspirations around it, and how political interest groups have taken advantage of it to promote their causes.

Bringing together photography and heritage scholars, policymakers, and community organisers, the online, livestreamed event was designed to expand the discussion on the entanglement of photography and digital heritage into the political environment-where human diversity often gives rise to antagonistic sentiments. It was therefore geared towards unravelling how "the political" has conditioned digitisation practices, while equally looking into the ways in which photographic digital heritage has facilitated innovative hegemonic and anti-hegemonic aspirations in national and inter-national social settings.

Speakers considered interrelated topics, including: the influence that photographic digitisation practices have exerted on definitions of heritage assets; the effect of photographic digitisation on institutional practices and policies; uses of photographic digital heritage for community building and activism; the employment of photographic digital heritage by governing powers; and the effect of photographic digital heritage on social and inter-generational communications about history, memory and the past.

Comprising a comprehensive introduction, a keynote lecture, and three thematic panels ("Institutions", "Communities", "The Political"), the event provided multiple opportunities for knowledge exchange among the participants while enabling live engagement with comments and questions from the public of viewers. Over 110 people viewed the livestream during the event and more than 280 caught up with its recordings online afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMJKSt-qI6g&list=PLIz6EUVbWby-Wv6KLAMYByTGG4AWGErwe
 
Description Everyday Photographs and the Archive in the Age of Institutionalised Digitisation, Ankara (Turkey) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Pasternak was invited to contribute an article to a special issue of the photography magazine KONTRAST (volume 55, issue number 1). The magazine, currently in its 17th year, is published in Turkish - both in print as well as online - by the Ankara Association of Amateur Photographers (Ankara Fotograf Sanatçilari Dernegi - AFSAD). Due to the limited availability of sources dedicated to explorations of photographic practices, literature, and scholarship in the country, KONTRAST is widely read by members of the Association, other amateur photographers, scholars, third-sector professionals and undergraduate and postgraduate students alike. The special issue Pasternak was invited to contribute to is dedicated to the subject of photography and the everyday. Titled, "Everyday Photographs and the Archive in the Age of Institutionalised Digitisation", his article explores how digital technology has affected our relationship with the so-called old, non-digital type of everyday photographs that had flooded almost every modern household for the majority of the twentieth century. While doing so, Pasternak specifically discusses under what circumstances they are digitised and get incorporated into public digital archives, exploring what purpose exactly they are commonly expected to fulfil there. In practice, the article is designed to communicate research-based information and knowledge about photographic and digital heritage to non-expert stakeholders in layman terms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description How Can Our Family Photographs Help Safeguard the Heritage of Our Community? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Pasternak was invited to contribute an article to the magazine The Voice (issue 58, no. 169) due to the limited availability of sources on the possible uses of family photographs for research in the context of digital heritage community historical collections. Published in English and Hebrew, the magazine is widely read by Jewish and Polish heritage communities as well as by their affiliated members, family relations. It is dedicated primarily to Holocaust and WWII survivors and their families but as such it is regularly used by educators and third-sector practitioners concerned with Polish-Jewish relations, past and present. Titled, "How Can Our Family Photographs Help Safeguard the Heritage of Our Community?", Pasternak's article explores how one may use family photographs for research about community histories and heritage and how one may also use family photographs and digitisation technologies as a means to safeguard living memory more broadly.

In practice, the article communicates research-based information and knowledge about photographic and digital heritage to non-expert stakeholders in layman terms.

The publication of the article resulted in requests from community organisers to develop funding applications to facilitate shared initiatives with the intention of recording and safeguarding live memories through photography-based research methods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.piotrkow-jc.com/en/voice.html
 
Description Interview on BBC Radio Leicester in connection with the community engagement project "Photo Storytelling: Poles, Jews and Our Interrelated Heritage" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact In partnership with President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and Chair of Project Polska, on 5 November 2019 Gil Pasternak launched and delivered a community engagement project on Polish and Jewish interrelated heritage. Assisted and facilitated by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester, Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation, and De Montfort University, the project consisted of three workshops and was designed to help build social, cultural, and interpersonal bridges between the otherwise largely segregated UK-based Polish and Jewish communities. It employs disposable cameras, digitisation, and digitalisation practices as a means to bring together participants from both sociocultural groups to explore each other's history, beliefs, values, and everyday realities through carefully considered photographic storytelling.

Learning about the initiative through our online advertisements, a few hours before the launch BBC Radio Leicester invited the three project conveners to discuss its scope and intentions live, as part of the daily radio programme "Jimmy and Summaya" of 5 November 2019. The discussion revolved specifically around questions related to uses of photography to facilitate the study and dissemination of cultural heritage and as a means to establish inter-cultural and inter-communal relationships.

The broadcast sparked inquiries and requests for advice, help and assistance from members of the public interested in designing similar events for their local communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited talk for Speaking of Photography, the annual series of public lectures on the history, theory, and practice of photography at Concordia University (Canada) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact On 31 January 2020 Gil Pasternak was invited to deliver the talk "Digitized Contestations: Family Photographs in the Struggle Over Cultural Heritage in Israel" as part of Speaking of Photography the annual series of public lectures on the history, theory, and practice of photography, organized by the Department of Art History at Concordia University, Canada. In his talk, Pasternak communicated findings from his research on photographic digital heritage in Israel to develop awareness of the otherwise overlooked intersections of photography, digital heritage practices, and politics. He demonstrated that although for the onlooker Israel may appear as the state of a united people and Israeli society politically coherent, the multiple range of photographic digital heritage initiatives currently prevailing in the country frame Israel as a zone of cultural conflicts. Pasternak explained that, especially since the 2009 election of a right-leaning government, Israeli citizens have turned to family photographs and digital technology to document, preserve, and popularize a range of cultural heritage creations, often unauthorized by the state or its official institutions. He therefore discussed what has led Israeli citizens to use specifically family photographs in their attempts to diversify Israel's socio-political sphere and what it can tell us about Israeli attitudes towards the state of Israel and Israeli canonical culture.

The audience comprised over 70 individuals, mostly students from the hosting and nearby academic institutions as well as a relatively large percentage of third-sector professionals and scholars. Members of the audience as well as colleagues reported change in views and opinions, as well as rising intentions to develop research on similar aspects to those addressed by Pasternak but in other sociocultural environments in the world. Plans were made for future collaborations on related publications and academic events such as conferences and thematic seminars.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://speakingofphotography.concordia.ca/index.php/2019-2020/17-lectures/current-year/120-digitized...
 
Description Media Discourse Centre, international conference at De Montfort University, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Approximately 100 individuals (students, academics and professionals) attended for participation in the international, annual conference Surveillance, Social Media and Identity, hosted by the Media Discourse Centre at De Montfort University. Gil Pasternak delivered a talk on online Israeli and Palestinian pictorial histories, looking specifically at the impact exerted by digitisation projects of photographic cultural heritage on public opinion concerning Israeli and Palestinian national history. Following the event, Pasternak was asked to contribute some lectures on the subject to final year BA Media and Communication students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/centres-institutes/mdc/projects.aspx
 
Description Photographic Heritage and "The Craze" For Community Photo Archives (online event) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact With photographs being among the most popular cultural objects in the history of humanity, this event asked what kinds of photographs gain the status of cultural heritage in the digital age and on what ground. The event intended to disseminate information and knowledge about uses of digital heritage in terms of community engagement with the establishment and maintenance of digital photo databases. While steering discussions about the social and cultural value of photographs, the online event considered more closely the cultural and academic status of photographs created by non-professional, amateur and opportunistic snapshot photographers. The main portion of the event gave the floor to the directors of two UK-based photographic community heritage initiatives who have made it their mission to safeguard the private photographs of distinct communities in the country. One initiative is The Living Memory Project which has recorded and celebrated everyday life stories connected to family photo albums. The other is the Apna Heritage Archive which has gathered, documented and displayed personal family photos collected form UK-based Punjabi migrant communities. The event coupled with the two presentations and the discussions it generated enabled participants to consider who has the right, in practical terms, to define some photographs as valuable cultural objects and others as unimportant. It was reported in feedback from the participants that the event helped them to develop a critical understanding of photographic collections and archives and become methodologically equipped to consider the contributions that un-authorised/non-institutional digitised photo collections can make to advance visual histories - and historical studies more broadly.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Photography, Its Heritage and Histories 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact An average of 15 staff members, affiliate students and third-sector guests participated in a three-month course on photographic history and heritage, delivered online by Gil Pasternak in the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art at the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation). Comprising a total of 6 seminars, the course looked at approaches to photographic research through examination of culturally-diverse seminal case studies and discussions of key subject-specific scholarly texts. The Museum's Curator of Photography, who hosted the seminars, reported growing interest amongst the Museum's affiliate students in further researching the role photography and digital photographic technologies have played in formulating and expressing Western versus Eastern (i.e., Eastern European) cultural heritage, in local Russian and international contexts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://izo-museum.ru/modern/vyistavki-i-sobyitiya/kurs-fotografiya-nasledie-i-istorii-v-gsi-gmii-rt
 
Description Picturing Jewish Dress: Researching Belonging and Identification Through Historical Visual Sources (social media channel) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This engagement output is the result of a collaboration between Pasternak and a History scholar from the University of Leicester. The collaboration came to fruition as a consequence of the award, owing to Pasternak's work with institutional and community digital archives that safeguard photographic records about Israeli and Jewish heritage more broadly. The collaboration intended to create opportunities for scholars and academics to consider and reflect on the effect of digitised visual sources on research activities and analysis.

With this in mind, it revolved around the co-organisation of an online workshop series that sought to explore the significance of dress in Jewish history but, importantly, through engagement with and exploration of visual sources, most of which have been digitised and become absorbed subsequently into digital archives and collections worldwide. The workshop was delivered between October and December 2020 and comprised five meetings with international audiences, contributors and subject experts. Each session revolved around a specific theme of historical, cultural or technological significance.

Pasternak and the collaborating party co-convened the sessions and steered discussions about the implication of conducting research into cultural history with digitally-mediated visual sources. Pasternak has also recorded and edited the talks into self-contained video clips and maintained a YouTube channel to make these accessible to other scholars, academics and interested members of the public more broadly (excluding Q&As and additional discussions). The series of online workshops resulted in a YouTube channel featuring all the talks for which Pasternak and his collaborating party have obtained speaker permissions to disseminate the recorded content publicly. In terms of outcomes and impact, the editor-in-chief of a leading peer-reviewed journal on cloth and culture has contacted the organisers of the workshop series to turn it into a special issue that will be edited by Pasternak and his research partner. The special issue is intended to be dedicated to explorations of the implications of conducting research into cultural history of cloth and fashion with digitally-mediated visual sources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
URL https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfMNja2Vm8oLB0q8mG8s2RkfDhmk1CfFA
 
Description Picturing Jewish Dress: Researching Belonging and Identification Through Historical Visual Sources (workshop series) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This engagement output is the result of a collaboration between Pasternak and a History scholar from the University of Leicester. The collaboration came to fruition as a consequence of the award, owing to Pasternak's work with institutional and community digital archives that safeguard photographic records about Israeli and Jewish heritage more broadly. The collaboration intended to create opportunities for scholars and academics to consider and reflect on the effect of digitised visual sources on research activities and analysis. With this in mind, it revolved around the co-organisation of an online workshop series that sought to explore the significance of dress in Jewish history but, importantly, through engagement with and exploration of visual sources, most of which have been digitised and become absorbed subsequently into digital archives and collections worldwide.

The workshop was delivered between October and December 2020 and comprised five meetings with international audiences, contributors and subject experts. Each session revolved around a specific theme of historical, cultural or technological significance. Pasternak and the collaborating party co-convened the sessions and steered discussions about the implication of conducting research into cultural history with digitally-mediated visual sources.

Pasternak has also recorded and edited the talks into self-contained video clips and maintained a YouTube channel to make these accessible to other scholars, academics and interested members of the public more broadly (excluding Q&As and additional discussions). The series of online workshops resulted in a YouTube channel featuring all the talks for which Pasternak and his collaborating party have obtained speaker permissions to disseminate the recorded content publicly. In terms of outcomes and impact, the editor-in-chief of a leading peer-reviewed journal on cloth and culture has contacted the organisers of the workshop series to turn it into a special issue that will be edited by Pasternak and his research partner. The special issue is intended to be dedicated to explorations of the implications of conducting research into cultural history of cloth and fashion with digitally-mediated visual sources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://picturingjewishdress.com/
 
Description Public presentation and panel discussion, AA School, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Over 70 individuals of various academic and professional backgrounds attended a series of presentations on the meaning and challenges of photographic seeing within analogue versus digital photography, which was followed by a panel discussion. Gil Pasternak was one of the named presenters and panel speakers. His talk focused on the influence of conflict and political processes on uses of analogue and digital photography. During the panel discussion Pasternak also addressed questions from the audiences concerning digitisation practices and digital archiving methods. Given the large number of participants and the range of subjects that emerged during discussion, the event organizers expressed their interest in putting on another event or a series of events to continue the discussion. In addition, currently digitising and archiving the historical AA School's photographic collection of lantern slides, the AA School's archivist expressed his interest in inviting Pasternak to offer consultancies on good practice. Following the event, Pasternak also received a number of emails from members of the audiences, asking for additional information and references on some of the aspects discussed during the event, including the Head of Conservation Research and Audience Development at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/VIDEO/lecture.php?ID=3979
 
Description Workshop organisation and presentation at the Nordic Museum, Sweden 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Approximately 30 individuals of various professional and academic backgrounds from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and the UK participated in a one-day workshop that was hosted by the Nordic Museum in Sweden in order to explore the impact of digital heritage on oral and public history. As Project Leader of the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium, Gil Pasternak assisted in the organisation of the event and used it as an opportunity to deliver two presentations: one that introduced the Consortium, its aims, objectives and activities to the workshop participants; and another one in which he presented some initial findings from his digital ethnographic and fieldwork research into nationally framed uses of photographic digital heritage in the state of Israel. The workshop resulted in the establishment of working relationships with various third-sector individuals; a number of whom submitted written analytical case studies on uses of digital heritage in culturally/socially unstable realities for publication in a DigiCONFLICT peer-reviewed journal special issue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://liu.se/en/news-item/digiconflict-workshop-om-oral-history-och-digitalt-kulturarv
 
Description Workshops with Gil Pasternak in partnership with Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and Project Polska 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In partnership with President of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and Chair of Project Polska, on 5 November 2019 Gil Pasternak launched and delivered a community engagement project on Polish and Jewish interrelated heritage. Assisted and facilitated by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester, Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation, and De Montfort University, the project was designed to help build social, cultural, and interpersonal bridges between the otherwise largely segregated UK-based Polish and Jewish communities. It employed disposable cameras, digitisation, and digitalisation practices as a means to bring together participants from both sociocultural groups to explore each other's history, beliefs, values, and everyday realities through carefully considered photographic storytelling.

Consisting of a series of three workshops for approximately 20 individual volunteers from the two communities, who have been recruited via an open call, the project established an environment and the means for all participants to share, analyse, and discuss photographs that each of them produces in-between meetings. The workshop's conveners employed digital technology to generate a communal, inclusive atmosphere as well as a way to direct attention to details that may escape the participants' attention when engaging with their photographic paper-prints.

In creating and sharing photographs about their homes, families, and domestic as well as communal lives, participants entered into dialogue on their origins, backgrounds, cultural legacies and social realities alike. They touched on each other's perceived knowledge, stereotypes, differences, and similarities, learning to explore and understand the multiplicity of personal, historical, and cultural connections to the Polish country.

All participants reported change in views, opinions and behaviours. They established new inter-communal contacts and friendships and organised a number of additional social and sociable events to further explore each other's history, culture and shared heritage, for example around traditional types of food and music.

The project was designed to culminate in a self-published photobook (to be published by August 2020) and an online digital exhibition (to go live by March 2021), both featuring contributions from the Jewish and Polish communities. The exhibition and the book were curated with the intention of helping the two otherwise separated communities to nurture mutual appreciation of their cultural worlds as well as sensitivity to the role digital technology plays in framing, negotiating, and redefining cultural heritage more broadly.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://recovering-connections.net/