Making Digital Heritage about People's Life Stories

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Abstract

Actively creating new digital heritage content about people’s life historiesis part of the democratisation of heritage engagement with the public. Theapproach of documenting unofficial histories is supported by a growingliterature. Unofficial stories contribute new perspectives on the heritageidentity of a region. The case study of the ‘Local People’ exhibition, curatedby the author in 2013 in the North West of Ireland, is used to discuss themethodology of a digital curatorial process, www.localpeopleireland.com.This article argues that gathering and presenting unofficial histories ofindividuals’ life experiences, can disrupt official narratives of The Troublesand challenge a regional identity based on conflict and division. The makingof digital history is analysed as a curatorial process, rather than the easeof use of technology. The methods used included: filmed interviews, newportrait photography and the digitisation of family photograph albums.A virtual exhibition was produced and new digital historical sources werecreated that transform intangible heritage by crystallising people’s voicesand images into ‘tangible’ digital objects. ‘Local People’ utilised Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/localpeopleproject/?fref=ts and Vimeo https://vimeo.com/album/2518991. It is argued that the digital space provides a‘virtual contact zone’ in which diverse, unofficial and personal narrativescan be presented together.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Volume2016
Early online date30 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 May 2016

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Keywords

  • Digital heritage
  • virtual exhibition
  • curation
  • local
  • people
  • history

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