Digital Media, Creativity, Narrative Structure and Heritage

Tara Copplestone1 and Daniel Dunne2

1. Centre for Digital Heritage, University of York, Department of Archaeology, Heslington, YO10 5DD, UK. Email:

2. Swinburne University of Technology, Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Australia. Email:

Cite this as: Copplestone, T. and Dunne, D. 2017 Digital Media, Creativity, Narrative Structure and Heritage, Internet Archaeology 44.


An example GIF of multilinear nodal narrative schema. In this instance the player's position in the narrative is represented by the blue dot, the possible story routes from the player's position are represented by green dots and the path to date is represented by a purple dot. Black links between the segments represent that it has been active or that the narrative node has the potential to still be activated. Nodes and paths that no-longer have the ability to become active are greyed out with no outline.

Media forms, digital creativity and narrative structure have a reflexive relationship to the narratives they portray. Digital media combined with creativity facilitate a wide range of narrative structures, many of which are digitally specific, beyond the norm of traditional displays. However, many of the heritage outcomes we observe through digital media employ narrative structures that do not make use of the specifically digital affordances.

This article seeks to explore what narrative structure is, how digital media afford certain structures and the impact that digital media and narrative structure have on how we can engage with the past. To this end it will leverage two key case-study sectors; two digital exhibits located at Moesgård Museum, and two digital exhibitions created by the authors of this article in partnership with external practitioners.

These case studies, in conjunction with wider discussion, will be used to explore how and why narrative structure is currently employed within digitally mediated heritage outcomes and what other forms of engagement might be afforded by further digitally mediated narrative structures. It is hoped that, through this research, a foundation for understanding the interrelation between the heritage sector, digital creativity,interactive technology and narrative studies can be established.

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