SEAHA Centre for Doctoral Training


SEAHA Sessions 2021: Innovative Dialogues in Heritage Science

A series of live-streamed presentations and round-table discussions on the theme of ‘Innovative Dialogues in Heritage Science’.

SEAHA conference 2021

A range of exciting speakers explored issues affecting all of those who work in the fields of science and engineering in cultural heritage, issues which have a special relevance in light of the current limits on research practice.

Presentations covered projects and case studies related to:
-    Communication of research
-    Uses of multisensory interactions and data
-    Citizen science and public engagement

Each session included the opportunity for questions and discussion.

 Theme one: Language | Theme two: Multisensory interactions |  Theme three: Public Engagements and Contact

Theme one: Language 

The type of language we use to communicate our research can reveal a lot about the purpose and scope of our work. Whether it is technical jargon associated with specialised laboratory techniques, or historical narratives designed to enthuse a museum visitor, effective collaborations and interactions depend on finding a shared vocabulary – and making space for other voices to be heard.
In this strand we explore communication and collaboration across the different sectors of cultural heritage. In multi-disciplinary research projects we reframe our output depending on the audience: industry partners, practitioners, end-users or other stakeholders. When is the language of heritage science easy to understand, and when it is a barrier to communication? 

Theme two: Multisensory Interactions

Sensory research contributes in very relatable ways to both public and academic engagement and learning in the heritage sector. In this strand we explore the broad areas of visual, aural, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile interactions which are the subject of sensory and experiential heritage science research. 
Looking behind the scenes at visual methods such as imaging, modelling, mapping, and remote sensing, we seek to understand what they contribute to public and academic understanding of heritage sites and artefacts, and what they might say to us about our cultural values, such as authenticity, accuracy and truth.
Immersive technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and 3D audio, have become increasingly prevalent in museum and heritage settings. Can multisensory experiences create engagement with historical narratives and provide educational opportunities, and what is their potential for simulating imagined realities, past, present and future?
We have strong emotional ties to our senses. In museums, the laboratory or the digital domain, and particularly in a period of lockdown and isolation, how does physical presence and contact, or its absence, affect our connection to heritage artefacts and experiences?

Theme three: Public Engagement and Contact

Public engagement is the sphere where research makes contact with the wider world. Input from a range of perspectives can be crucial when collecting data or assessing the impact of research outputs. With the recent steep challenges to effective public engagement in mind, we consider novel methods of engagement utilising mobile outreach, remote, digital and web-based approaches, in addition to discussing more traditional face-to-face initiatives.
Do people feel ownership and engagement with the heritage they experience on a daily basis in their local communities, or with that protected on their behalf at a national level? Should the values of heritage science research reflect those of the broader community and can crowdsourcing, open calls or new forms of outreach contribute to the goals of broader representation and inclusion?