Imperial College London

Towards a More Accessible Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities in Contextualisation Using 3D Sound Narratives

Veranika Lim, Sara Khan, Lorenzo Picinali
January 1, 2021
Applied Sciences
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

This paper reports on the exploration of potential design opportunities for social media and technology to identify issues and challenges in involving people in generating content within a cultural heritage context. The work is divided into two parts. In the first part, arguments are informed by findings from 22 in-depth semi-structured interviews with representatives of cultural institutions and with people from a general audience who recently participated in a cultural activity. The key findings show that social media could be used more extensively to achieve a deeper understanding of cultural diversity, with opportunities in redefining the expert, extending the experience space, and decentralising collaboration. To further support these findings, a case study was set up evaluating the experience of a mini audio tour with user-generated (ie, personal stories from a local audience) vs. non user-generated (ie, professional stories including facts) narratives. These were delivered using text and 3D sound on a mobile device. The narratives were related to a built environment in central London near world-renown museums, cultural buildings, and a royal park. Observations, a standardised spatial presence questionnaire, and a short open interview at the end of the tour were used to gain insights about participants preferences and overall experience. Thematic analysis and triangulation were used as a means for understanding and articulating opportunities for social media to better involve and engage people using user-generated narratives presented through 3D sound.

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