Research centre
Art and Design Research Centre

2013 - 2017

Material encounters with digital cultural heritage

Co-designing novel platforms for the creation of tangible exhibits at heritage sites: curators will be able to offer visitors new interactive experiences by means of material interaction with smart objects.

meSch: Material Encounters with digital Cultural Heritage, has the goal of designing, developing and deploying tools for the creation of tangible interactive experiences that connect the physical experience of museums and exhibitions with relevant digital cross-media information in novel ways.

A wealth of digital cultural heritage content is currently available in on-line repositories and archives, it is however accessed only in a limited way and utilised through rather static modes of delivery. meSch bridges the gap between visitors’ cultural heritage experience on-site and on-line by providing a platform for the creation of tangible smart exhibits, that enables heritage professionals to compose and realise physical artifacts enriched by digital content without the need for specialised technical knowledge: the platform includes an authoring environment for the composition of physical/digital narratives to be mapped to interactive artefacts, and an embedded multi-sensor digital system platform for the construction of ad-hoc physical adaptive smart objects.

The meSch envisioning and realisation approach is grounded on principles of co-design, the broad participation of designers, developers and stakeholders into the process, and on a Do-It-Yourself philosophy to making and experimentation: hands-on design and making workshops are employed throughout the project to inform and shape development. Three large-scale case studies in different museums provide test beds for the real-world evaluation of meSch technology with the public and cultural heritage stakeholders. The ultimate goal of the project is to support the creation of an open community of cultural heritage institutions driving and sharing a new generation of physical/digital museum interactives. meSch is funded under EU FP7 “Digicult” and involves 12 European partners including universities, independent research institutions, SMEs and Heritage Institutions. It is coordinated by Sheffield Hallam University.

For full information on the project visit the meSch website.

The people involved at Sheffield Hallam are

Professor Daniela Petrelli - Professor in Interaction Design

Dr Luigina Ciolfi - Reader in Communication

Dr Mark T Marshall - Research Associate

Nick Dulake - Senior Product Designer, Design Futures

Professor Ian Gwilt - Professor of Design: Visual Communication

Helen Grantham - Senior Administrator

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