3.2. Media, narrative, narrative structures in the heritage sector

The notion of narrative has been discussed in a broad variety of contexts within the wider heritage sector. Foremost of the concerns has been the role of narrative in communicating ideas between professionals and audiences (Caulton 1998). Discussions of narrative structure have been less frequent (Kalay et al. 2008, 1-9). When they do occur, they tend to focus on how a given message can be constructed or conveyed to an audience, rather than on how this construction or conveyance occurs in relation to the form, digital creativity, author or audience (Falk and Dierking 2000). While the audience's interaction with a given narrative structure, as well as the architectural space, is noted as being an integral aspect of understanding presentations of heritage, this article has chosen to focus on establishing the foundational relationship between media, narrative and narrative structure. Further analysis of the phenomenological reception, or the architectural impact of heritage presentations, is outside the scope of this article.

Previous work in the area of heritage and archaeological visualisation has suggested that the language of its practitioners is shaped by the media forms, methods and structures with which they are familiar. To this end it has been suggested that the interactive and generative narratives that are being produced now will influence the ongoing design of digital heritage (Bateman 2000), yet have their roots in the prior engagements with hypertext (for example, Holtorf 2000-2008) and works produced on early digital journals (Warren and Bateman 1997). It can be observed that the affordances of the media forms that practitioners engage with and grow up with have a significant impact on how they understand and can further engage with narrative structures - for example, formative engagements with 'choose your own adventure' styles of books may create an awareness of these possibilities and may be seen to have an impact on how practitioners seek to implement or experiment with these elements for heritage interpretation through digital mediations. These sociological and textual concerns are certainly worthy of study but lay outside the scope of this article. Instead, examples of both digital and analogue presentations of these narrative structures are focused on here.

In many instances narrative structure is taken as being normative or omnipresent, rather than dynamic or constructed (Roussou 2015). Even with the theoretical shifts towards multivocality, multilinearity, active agency and reflexivity, many of the narrative structures employed in storing, disseminating and communicating heritage have remained bound to linear forms with few, notable, exceptions (Falk and Dierking 2000).


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