DiNAR; Digital Narratives for Archaeology and Heritage

The adoption of digital technologies such as virtual and mixed reality has high potential for museums and heritage organisations, providing them the opportunity to reach new audiences and explain the stories behind their exhibits in engaging and innovative ways.

Navigating between the different technologies and understanding the value they bring can be extremely challenging given the pace at which digital technology is moving.  This is especially challenging for small organisations working in this field. In collaboration with cultural heritage organisations such as York Museums Trust, Digital Creativity Labs is developing sustainable strategies for the real-world use of emerging mixed reality technologies, as well as exploring the application of new media forms, including immersive performance, spatial audio and environmental storytelling.

As part of this research, DiNAR is undertaking an impact programme to move beyond research-led proof of concept to full commercial realisation and to work with current and new industry partners to fully realise the impact of this work.  

As a first phase of this work, DiNAR has created a VR exhibition in partnership with York Museums Trust that integrates immersive narrative experiences of the Viking Great Army Torksey Winter Camp (#VikingVR). The scenes include elements of Norse mythology and contemporary storytelling. Outreach and evaluation activities will be carried out during the course of the exhibition (19th May 2017 – 5th November 2017) to examine how far VR can be used for interpretation of archaeological research, and to develop more informed and creative uses of VR technology for public engagement with new research in the cultural heritage sector. The VR experience has been developed with ease of use and cost of equipment as well future re-use and extension in mind. Several digital resources will be released under open license during the exhibition in order to extend the impact of the VikingVR beyond the walls of the Yorkshire Museum.

The collaboration is set to continue beyond the summer 2017 exhibition as we evaluate the research and develop new project ideas in collaboration with York Museums Trust and other organisations, with the aim of developing an approach to museum experiences that can be adopted by other galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs). As part of this, York Museums Trust and DiNAR will be developing training materials for cultural heritage practitioners.

Ultimately we aim to transform the use of VR in GLAMs, building capacity and sustainable strategies for the production of 3D experiences and to build awareness amongst museum visitors.


Photo credits to Dr Guy Schofield and Dr Nicole Beale