Equity, Empathy, and Ethics in Digital Heritage Practice and Research

A joint bid between the University of Manchester and the University of Toronto has been awarded funding for a year-long project set to commence in October 2020. 

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.