Critical Making and Innovation Heritage

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of History, Classics and Archaeology


This project explores critical making and the design of physical-digital interfaces for heritage collections. The project will address the impact of creative practice innovation in co-production with communities and businesses. It will also focus on how the designed interfaces improve cultural resources' accessibility and business value. Thus, the project adopts critical making methodology alongside interviews and workshops with local communities. Partnerships with Baawolf - a game-design studio - Seaton Delaval Hall, a National Trust property and TWAM, will support the project's completion. This project will deliver NPIF's key priorities within the Transformative Digital Technologies theme, while encompassing both AHRC priority areas: Design and the Creative Sector.


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Title Women and Power: Lights of Innovation 
Description Lights of innovation is a suspended mixed-media installation which draws together light, sound and imagery to form a picture of female innovation at Cragside in past and present. I used DIY materials and re-purposed them to create hanging frames holding images printed on acrylic sheet, supplemented by audio and light. Each audio piece related to a specific strip of images, where that strip was illuminated during playback. LEDs were programmed to respond to the audio narration being played. Drawing on the themes of innovation and light, the installation looks to the future, redefining the way in which Cragside might share its magic as a visitor attraction with future audiences. Harnessing digital advancement and modern thinking, Lights of innovation aims to share stories with visitors beyond the simple use of display screens, audio guides, or mobile applications. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Cragside (the National Trust) is one of the most visited properties in the North-East of England. The exhibitions on Women and Power lasted 4 months during the busiest time of the year - summer. My artwork was placed in the main gallery in the property making it a focal point of the visitors' offer, forming a significant element of their experience inside Cragside. Anecdotal evidence from the staff at Cragside indicated that the artwork has been positively received by audiences. 
Description AHRC: International Placement Scheme with the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Amount £4,470 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/T000651/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2019 
End 01/2020
Description Women and Power: Lights of Innovation 
Organisation National Trust
Department Cragside
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution For the nation-wide initiative Women and Power at the National Trust, the Cragside property opened a call for female inventors, makers and professionals to contribute art pieces to and exhibition which took place from June 2018 until October 2018. After the selection process, I was awarded the opportunity to develop an installation which responded to the themes of the exhibition. I created a mixed-media installation based on Cragside's archival materials. The construction of the installation followed an exploration of the theme of critical making underpinning my research, thus, focusing on using re-purposed materials, DIY techniques, and creative programming.
Collaborator Contribution The staff at Cragside's property organised monthly meetings in discussing the process of the makers and the shaping of the installations. In these, we had access to the property, to the areas where my installation was suspended and it involved discussing with curators and technicians the practicalities of the installation. In my case, I was also allowed access to Cragside's archives which I used for visual and textual material in my exhibit. Cragside's main technician and I put a scaffold up and installed the exhibit in the course of three days prior to opening. Cragside dismantled the installation at the end of the exhibition in October 2018.
Impact Exhibition piece - Lights of Innovation
Start Year 2018
Description PhD to Public: Re-thinking digital technologies in cultural heritage sites 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Explore Lifelong Learning is a lifelong learning group offering a varied programme events. In the PhD to Public seminar series, an audience of approximately 30 people attended my talk on re-thinking the incorporation of digital technologies in the cultural heritage sector. The audience was very engaged, and a series of questions leading to a discussion after the talk was indicative of their interest. I have been invited to speak again in March 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019