Digitisation of cultural heritage discussed at AIMday
3 November 2016
Cultural heritage has become a field of great importance for the development of modern society. Modern technology creates new opportunities for communicating and presenting cultural heritage, as well as making it accessible. The potential and challenges of digitisation are the starting point for the topics that organisations from the cultural heritage sector will discuss with Uppsala University researchers at the AIMday for cultural heritage.
On 10 November, various organisations in the cultural heritage sector and researchers from different scholarly fields and subjects gather at Uppsala University’s campus Blåsenhus to discuss how cultural heritage can bee made accessible, communicated and presented to different target audiences and areas. The topics to be discussed have been submitted beforehand by the organisations, based on their current challenges.
One of the organisations taking part at the AIMday for cultural heritage is the LSH – the Swedish government agency for the Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl Museum. The museums’ collections consist of some 90,000 items, with everything from unique 17th-century clothing, royal jewellery and antique weapons to historical kitchen utensils and scientific instruments. One of the questions that the LSH wants to discuss is about different learning styles in a digital context and how we take in visual and digital information. The topic is highly relevant since a new permanent exhibition is being set up at the Royal Armoury to replace the current one which has been on display since 1978.
“The new permanent exhibition will be a thematic and chronological exhibition focusing on how the monarchy legitimised its power. It’s an extensive project where our area of responsibility is to show our digital collections. Our hope is that the AIMday meeting can give us knowledge and ideas of how we can offer something both to those without any prior knowledge about Swedish history, and to those who wish to deepen their knowledge,” says Karin Nilsson, Head of the Digital Museum unit at LSH.
Other topics to be discussed during the day revolve around how the national cultural heritage bodies can become better at giving the public a way to contribute to building knowledge and research on Swedish materials such as items, photographs, documents, etc. Internationally there are several examples of such initiatives which have had positive outcomes. How digital methods can support cross-border research, storytelling and life-long learning are other topics to be discussed during the day.
“Cultural heritage is an exciting and cross-border field and there is a lot of interest from both researchers and organisations to meet on this theme. Uppsala University conducts a lot of research which is relevant in this context, both in humanities and social sciences, and IT related fields. We strive to connect this research with the needs of society in a way that strengthens quality in research and education,” says Jin Moen, Project Manager for the AIMday on cultural heritage at Uppsala University Innovation.
AIMday is a method pioneered by Uppsala University to further collaboration between academic researchers and companies and organisations. Questions and challenges from companies and organisations are matched with researchers, and every issue is discussed in a workshop format – one hour per question. The goal is to explore, in a cross-disciplinary way, several different possible paths to potential solutions for an issue and lay the foundation for future collaboration. The AIMday concept was launched in 2008 and has since then been used in many different fields, such as cancer, diabetes, ageing and materials. The concept is also used by other Swedish higher education institutions and has also been introduced abroad, including at the University of Edinburgh and at the University of Oxford.