Co-curate North East: creating sustainable routes for North East communities to digitally transform and co-produce open cultural resources
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Has co-investigator
Has principal investigator Eric Cross
Impact The Co-curate North East project will not only benefit the academic research community, as through its promotion of the processes of 'co-creating', 'co-curating' and 'co-utilisation' of the 'official' and 'un-official' collections and archives, it will empower many other stakeholders. These beneficiaries will include: public sector agencies or bodies (e.g. English Heritage, National Trust, Northumberland National Park); professional or practitioner groups; archivists and curators; publishers; the third sector, including charities, museums and galleries; organisations, and individuals in the creative and performing arts; learning communities (both formal and non-formal, including teachers and students, and older people's groups such as U3A); heritage, cultural and arts businesses in the private and commercial sectors; local community groups and individuals involved in co-creating and co-curating online collections and archives; and, consequently, the wider public in general. While the project has a geographical focus on the North East, the potential impact on other academic researchers for whom this project will provide a baseline understanding of the issues of co-creation and co-curation of material and content in social online spaces gives the opportunity for a broader impact on policy-makers, governments at local, regional, national, and trans-national levels and international organisations like UNESCO ( whose heritage and cultural Conventions and their implementations are of a research interest to ICCHS), as it will provide a possible model for policy implementation and further policy development. Our belief is that these technologies work best when tested in real-world environments. Experience has shown that introduction of easy-to-use technology interventions greatly enhance practice (for example, Apps generally do not arrive with manuals). Through the processes of 'co-creation' and 'co-curation' of online collections and archives, the project should also benefit media and publishing companies involved in communication delivery, through the generation of new content that needs to be communicated. This delivery will be further enhanced by the possibilities of using a 'constructivist' open online learning platform similar to that of a MOOC, whereby any interested party from anywhere in the world could also join into the co-creating and co-curation processes. This opens up cross continent and cross-cultural collaborative opportunities and perspectives. Ultimately, the main beneficiaries locally, regionally and nationally will be all of the learners at various levels, in different social, cultural and geographical contexts, who can become involved in the virtual online processes of 'co-creation' and 'co-curating', thereby benefiting from the opportunities for 'co-constructed' learning in formal and non-formal environments. Internationally, the project will benefit all those stakeholders in China, Kenya (and Anglophone countries in Africa) and Guyana associated with the EC-funded 'en-compass' project, which is discussed in more detail - along with ecomuseology - in the 'Rationale and research context section' in the Case for Support. These stakeholders will benefit, as the proposed project will be able to enhance the legacy of that project. As an added-value indirect outcome of en-compass 6 ecomuseums will likely be developed in Hainan Province in China. These will look at co-research programmes to identify, document and develop databases on heritage resources important to local people.
Status Closed
Identifier AH/L007991/1
abstract Co-curate North East is a trans-disciplinary project that will open up 'official' museum and 'un-official' co-created community-based collections and archives through innovative collaborative approaches using social media and open archives/data. The project delivers a transformative educational environment creating a rich mix of openly licenced and other data from arts and humanities, science, and medical health contexts, placing 'authoritative museums' data from professional curators alongside data from more informal contexts compiled and published in collaboration with communities. The project draws on a wide range of expertise from Newcastle University and various external partners. University contributions come from the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, with its heritage and museums academic-practitioners, the Digital Institute, whose computer scientists contribute to an important project on Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy, Medical Education, which has been at the forefront of e-learning, and Education and Communication, which has been piloting a 'Skype Seniors' project connecting motivated, skilled adults with school students. External partners include Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (the leading museums, gallery and archive service in the North East), Woodhorn (which manages four Northumberland museums and the Northumberland Archives), Taylor & Francis Group (a major publishing group), Wellcome Images (a national database of medical sciences images) and Schools Northeast (representing schools in the north east region). The partnership has a range of expertise on community engagement: both Newcastle University, through its recent Beacon North East and its Education School, and the two museum consortia have successfully developed models. Newcastle University has identified three major Societal Challenge Themes: Ageing, Sustainability and Social Renewal. Co-curate North East plays into all three. It seeks to engage and empower communities, especially those involving ethnic minorities and other 'hard to reach' groups - something central to the concept of Social Renewal - for which key partners Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM) and Woodhorn have nationally recognised track records. The Ageing theme involves a set of intergenerational priorities highly relevant to Co-curate North East, while it is important that the legacy of key assets generated by the project, particularly the range of digital datasets and learning packages, is sustainable. This will be ensured through their stewardship by TWAM and Woodhorn, who will make them available for future generations of researchers through their regular collections management policies. The project will work with around 20 different community and school groups, many of them based in the Newcastle region but some from rural settings. They will have access to a broad range of digital collections and archives, from the exotic ethnographic objects in the Great North Museum to the scientific and industrial heritage in Discovery Museum and Woodhorn and the wealth of images from publishers Taylor & Francis. Participants will be free to curate their own collections: some may wish to focus on local history, perhaps engaging with the centenary of World War 1 or maybe comparing how objects nowadays gain cultural value from a particular social context with a similar process in the 18th century. This approach meets an identified need for Enquiry Based and Project Based Learning within a consortium of local North East schools already working with the University. The project will help develop curriculum innovation and an exciting offer to community groups (from Young Archaeologists to U3A). Evaluation will be through a case-study methodology based on Theory of Change, which involves working closely with participant organisations to help them articulate their ideas and expose contradictions between theories and practice.
Type Project
Label Co-curate North East: creating sustainable routes for North East communities to digitally transform and co-produce open cultural resources
Title Co-curate North East: creating sustainable routes for North East communities to digitally transform and co-produce open cultural resources

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Newcastle University Of