reTelling Tang Hall

DC Labs' PhD Researcher, Claire Boardman, talks to The Press about her Applied Heritage PhD research project, 'reTelling Tang Hall'.

Rather than creating more of 'the past', applied heritage takes what already exists (i.e. in archives/collections/at sites) and uses this to affect social change and benefit in the present.

Drawing on recent developments in cognitive and behavioural science, Claire's research is focused on disrupting, challenging and ultimately changing the sense of 'ordinary' in places such as inner urban neighbourhoods. Claire's work aims to bring about this change by the use of digital storytelling, a form of personal journaling, and the creative re-use of existing digitized heritage assets.

Claire is investigating what impact this 'retelling' has on the diverse and often highly mobile communities that now live in these traditional ‘worker’ neighbourhoods, including their sense of belonging and level of neighbourhood involvement.

As part of her research, Claire organised a series of community workshops where images and information from local archives were used to reframe and retell the local experiences of the residents who took part. This active engagement resulted in the creation of personal stories which were then shared as an iDoc across the wider neighbourhood using a technique known as deep mapping. Deep mapping layers multiple voices to produce a rich, complex, often contradictory place based narrative that has the potential to change both individual and communal sense of place.

This foray into applied heritage was positively received by workshop participants, with many expressing a sense of pride, not only in place but also in self. Other participants were inspired to create the 'Discover Tang Hall' app and continued their own extensive research to reveal some of the hidden stories that form part of Tang Hall's rich cultural and natural heritage.

With funding from a Small Community Grant from Tang Hall Big Local, local residents joined forces with Digital Creativity Labs and local start-up, Experience Heritage to design and develop the app, which is now available to download at Apple and Google Play stores.

Read The Press article here.