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Exploring ways to establish a medieval church as a cultural venue and heart of the community.

From 2016 to 2017, the research team worked with a community group seeking to preserve and promote the 14th-century medieval church of St Andrew in Heckington, Lincolnshire. This involved exploring and demonstrating the cultural and social potential of the church through the creation of several digital artworks in response to the building, its history and its place in local life.

About the research project

Our work resulted in schools workshops, a public exhibition and performance, and the installation of several artworks throughout the church. This work informed the community group's successful application for Heritage Lottery resilience funding, and continues to inform their interpretation planning as part of a larger proposed HLF bid. We are continuing to develop and advise the community group on the development of digital resources to enhance the church's value as a cultural venue and community resource.

This creative practice-led research contributed to our investigations of how intangible, hidden, and 'lost' aspects of heritage sites can be made current and engaging for visitors through sound, interactive media, and digital technology. In addition, this research helped us to explore the value of multiple co-incident creative practice ("many makings") as a means of collaborative inquiry.

During the project, we participated in the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, the paper for which can be found here. Additionally, you can watch a video about Plain Changes, one of the devices we built to go in the church.

Funder: This project was initially funded as part of the Creative Exchange, an AHRC-funded knowledge exchange hub for the creative economy.

Duration: 2016-2017

PI and Further Team:

  • Simon Bowen - Open Lab, School of Computing
  • John Bowers Digital Cultures Research Group / Fine Arts, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Tim Shaw Digital Cultures Research Group / Fine Arts, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Magnus Williamson - Music, School of Arts and Culture.

Partners: Draw & Code (digital creative agency); Allan T Adams (architectural illustrator); the Heckington community.