3. Performing 3D Digital Heritage (2 Acts)

In contrast to the upheld view of promoting accuracy and the objectivity of 3D visualisations, the primary focus in ACCORD was on including the community in the process of making these visualisations. The co-design and co-production methodology that we developed was therefore deliberately democratic and flexible, and although we were encouraging best practice approaches (Jeffrey et al. 2015), frequently we had to take a step back from our own professional bias. Here I will reflect on examples that illustrate the uneasy relationship between the persisting idea of the objectivity of recording heritage using these technologies and the actual reality of the process of making when engaging with these technologies in a participatory community heritage context. This will be in two acts. What unfolded was a performance of two very different sorts; the first case study describes how the community set the stage for archaeological documentation as a means to legitimise the importance of that place. In the second case study the performance was more of an open-ended improvisation with the technology. Interestingly, in both cases the barrier between audience and performer was broken down through the technologies used.

Additionally, in hindsight, it is clear that we all learned from each other through participating in the ACCORD project. As our collaboration with the Rhynie Woman demonstrates below, relationships were re-assembled (Latour 2005) through embracing the digital creative process, while the roles of expert and non-expert were broken down (Schofield 2014). A community of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991) emerged through situated doing. As Cobb and Croucher (2014) have also argued in the context of archaeological pedagogy, this mutual learning approach through flexible and deliberately inclusive mechanisms is arguably fundamental to the production of meaningful archaeological knowledge. Nevertheless, in the volume Creativity and Cultural Improvisation (Hallam and Ingold 2007) Harris writes how anthropologists 'study the creativity of others, [but] are reluctant to recognise it in [their] own accounts' and that the discipline is in need of developing rigorous approaches for embedding creativity in research (Harris 2007, 239). This is demonstrated in how the Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust approached the laser scanning of the cairn in the first case study. This can also describe how 3D visualisation is generally used in archaeological discourse; Huggett (2015, 90) has called for the founding of Digital Culture Studies, noting that digital archaeology as a discipline in itself is still nascent. We rarely acknowledge 3D models as visual cultural artefacts and, as pointed out by Jeffrey (2015), this partly explains the limited re-use of these assets.

First of all I will discuss the laser-scanning of a Neolithic/Early Bronze Age cairn carried out with members of a history sub-group of the Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust. Here their focus was on the perceived benefits of objective recording where human hands were absent, using the latest and best technology available. Secondly I will take a look at a group who approached ACCORD with a different motivation and embraced the digital as an artistic medium to explore and improvise. Phrases in quotations are anonymous quotes from community participants.


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