“Equity, Empathy, and Ethics in Digital Heritage Practice and Research” is a joint project between the Institute for Cultural Practices and the School of Social Sciences (University of Manchester), the iSchool, Faculty of Information (University of Toronto), The Manchester Museum, The Whitworth and the Museums and Heritage Services of the City of Toronto. It is funded by the Manchester-Toronto Research Fund.

Over the last forty years, museums have used new technologies to digitise their collections, create born-digital objects and create new ways of engaging with audiences. In tandem, social media, and community-driven challenges to museum authority, led to intriguing participatory heritage practices. Despite this widespread take-up of digital processes, there has been little emphasis in interrogating the politics and practices of constructing digital cultural heritage.

Drawing on expertise, current research and relevant case studies, this project will run Digital Labs and Webinars, develop a shared Online Resource and Reading Lists and produce a draft Online Course. These will explore the following:

  • how inequalities of digital access and digital literacy create illusions of democratisation in digital heritage production and participation;
  • how empathy and affect intersect with notions of authority and validity in digital spaces of traumatic or contested heritage; and
  • what ethics of participatory research and practice in digital cultural heritage entails.

The project will commence in October 2020 and will go on for a year.

For more information about the project, please contact kostas.arvanitis@manchester.ac.uk

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