Heritage Dot: Joining the Dots: Partnerships, Participation and Platforms, 3-4 June 2019, was a digital heritage conference co-hosted by the University of Lincoln, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Imperial War Museums.
Heritage Dot was a two-day event featuring discussions about where digital technology and heritage meet, with an inspiring cohort of speakers bringing different perspectives and experience. It created a platform for sharing, challenging, disrupting, and interrogating what digital heritage is and does across professional, academic and community sectors. The Centre led the organisation of this international conference, working with co-hosts and partners to deliver an exciting and innovative event.
“We are delighted to be hosting the Heritage Dot conference with the University of Lincoln and the Heritage Lottery Fund. This is an opportunity to highlight how we can work in partnership to explore new and innovative ways of preserving our cultural heritage for future generations.”
Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum
Heritage Dot explored the exciting collision between the worlds of digital tools and technology and cultural heritage. This fusion is creating new relationships between past and future, tradition and innovation. New audiences can reinterpret the past. New technologies can re-imagine professional practice.
While this is exciting, the pace and volume of change can be confusing, which puts extra demands on people and organisations who are working in a sector where funding and resources are becoming increasingly hard to access.
The committee recognised that those working in the sector often feel isolated, or lacking in resources and expertise, in their attempts to satisfy increasingly discerning, diverse and hard-to-reach audiences. Sometimes it is difficult to perceive what the added value of digital would, or could, be. It is hard to know how to define, manage and resource digital projects and to be aware of the opportunities, solutions and expertise available. Heritage Dot brought together those in higher education and cultural heritage institutions to share ideas, practice and experience. It aimed to ‘join the dots’, providing practical insights and moving the debate forward about the role of digital in cultural heritage.
Key areas for investigation:
- TEAMWORK: Explore the ways in which practitioners, professionals and researchers can work in partnership across digital-cultural heritage terrains: more than ever, teamwork seems fundamental to success
- PRACTICE: Share experiences and identify opportunities to develop confidence, skills and expertise that lead to successful outcomes for those involved in preserving, curating and using digital cultural heritage
- SOLUTIONS: Identify key challenges and lessons learnt in delivering innovative and effective digital solutions and platforms that support access to cultural heritage
Heritage Dot took a broad view of both ‘cultural heritage’ and ‘digital’, from landscapes and the built environment, to individual sites and collections across different media, including virtual representations. It encompassed intangible and tangible cultural heritage and digital approaches, across galleries, libraries, archives, museums and elsewhere.
Lincoln’s inaugural digital heritage conference, Heritage Dot, was officially launched in September 2018, with the first conference taking place in early June 2019. Leading figures from the arts and cultural heritage sectors gathered in Lincoln to celebrate the launch of the Heritage Dot which is co-hosted by the Centre and University with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Imperial War Museums. The launch was an official European Year of Culture Heritage event, and highlighted digital cultural heritage achievements at the University of Lincoln.
An inspiring Q&A with Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, kicked things off as he discussed the opportunities and challenges that digital offers across the creative and heritage sectors. Prof Monika Hagedorn-Saupe gave the keynote speech and explored the role of digital platforms in her keynote address, such as Europeana, an online hub aggregating and sharing the richness and diversity of cultural heritage across the EU. She is from the Institut für Museumsforschung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and is VP of Europeana.
A thought-provoking glimpse of the conference to come was provided by a panel including Eilish McGuinness, Director of Operations at the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Highlighting the importance of strong partnerships, she said: “Digital technology is central to so many aspects of our personal and professional lives, and the heritage sector is no different. This conference represents an exciting opportunity for institutions to come together and learn from and inspire each other.”
The evening culminated in the official launch of the Heritage Dot website and call for participation. The future looks bright for Heritage Dot with digital technologies continuing to embed ever more deeply into our lives, past and future.
Heritage Dot aims to support the sector by focusing on how heritage practitioners, professionals and researchers can work together to deliver innovative and effective digital cultural heritage. ‘Joining the Dots’ proposed that partnerships are becoming ever more crucial to the success – and even survival – of the organisations preserving and sharing our cultural heritage in the digital age. As such, this first edition of the conference explored how collaborations and the use of digital tools and technologies can increase access to, and participation in, cultural heritage.
Sukhy Johal MBE
Sukhy is the founding Director of the Centre. He is an all-round champion of the arts and creative thinking, and is passionate about the difference they make to lives and places.read more
Dr Anna Scott
Anna is the Project Assistant for the Heritage Dot Conference, taking place on 3-4 June 2019 at the University of Lincoln. Heritage Dot is Lincoln’s inaugural digital heritage conference, aimed at academics and practitioners from across the heritage sector. Anna is a heritage consultant and public historian who is interested in the question of how and why we use the past.read more