In June 2019, Danilo Giglitto, postdoctoral researcher at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), presented a paper called “Bridging cultural heritage and communities through digital technologies“ at the 9th International Conference on Communities & Technologies – Transforming Communities held at the Vienna University of Technology.
The theme of this edition of the conference was “Transforming Communities”. The conference encouraged submissions around the role of technology and technology design in the “making” of communities. Around 100 people from academia and industry attended the conference.
The paper – which was co-authored by Danilo Giglitto, Luigina Ciolfi, Caroline Claisse, and Eleanor Lockley – was included in a thematic session called Heritage and Future. The talk given by Danilo focused on the role that technology can have in facilitating the participation of communities at risk of exclusion (in particular migrant and refugee communities) in cultural and heritage related activities. The draws from the research led by SHU aimed at gathering the functional requirements of the CultureLabs platform from the perspective of people involved in the cultural heritage sector as well as people working with migrant groups in a variety of participatory settings.
The highlight of the talk was the presentation of key findings of the research, which revolved around the use of digital communication tools to tackle the barriers to participation in cultural heritage engagement projects, the implementation of a centralised digital platform to improve collaboration across entities and sharing best practices, and the characteristics that any technology should have to bridge cultural distances in participatory processes.
The presentation was followed by a very brief Q&A sessions, during which Danilo had the chance to discuss with members of the audience, including the extent of the ambition behind CultureLabs as a platform, the different perceptions around cultural heritage and its safeguarding by different communities of participants, and the potentially different conceptualizations of ‘co-design’ among the partners of the projects.
The paper has been published on the ACM Digital Library as part of the conference proceedings.