Saving Your Cemetery with the University of York

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As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week the CDH co-organised Saving Your Cemetery or Churchyard a day long workshop for those wishing to document and to preserve burial spaces in their own communities. The event was well attended by a wide range of individuals and groups including family history and heritage societies, university researchers, local government officials and commercial archaeology units. The event sought to inspire new approaches to cemetery documentation and management and to challenge existing preconceptions about what can be achieved through collaboration and creative thinking.

The day was aimed at anybody who wanted to learn more about how to document, conserve and manage a burial site as part of a community group and we were fully booked with more than 30 participants. The morning saw presentations from guest speakers and the afternoon was filled with a practical demonstrations of digital techniques which can be used for cemetery documentation by staff and students from the CDH, the University of York Department of Archaeology and the Re-reading the British Memorial Project .

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In the morning talks by Felicia Smith from Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust and Susan Buckham from Kirkyard Consulting provided wonderful examples of initiatives which have placed burial spaces back at the heart of communities. Felicia’s talk described the extraordinary transformation which has taken place at Arnos Vale since the Cemetery Trust took over the management of the site. As well as providing access to the public the Trust’s efforts have placed the cemetery back at the heart of the community. The talk dealt with the challenges involved in balancing the need for generating revenue against the role of the cemetery as a community space and heritage site. Susan spoke about her role overseeing the improvement of five cemeteries which form part of the UNESCO Edinburgh World Heritage Site;  Greyfriars, Canongate, St Cuthbert’s, New and Old Calton. Susan’s talk emphasised the importance of community stewardship and provided many examples of the ways in which efforts on the part of local communities can transform burial spaces into valuable community resources.  

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Heritage Jam, 11-12 July 2014

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We are very pleased to announce the launch of a new project – The Heritage Jam– a collaborative endeavour funded by the Department of Archaeology, with support from the Centre for Digital Heritage at the University of York. The Jam invites artists, animators, designers, programmers, archaeologists, historians, conservators, museums professionals, heritage practitioners, students and other interested specialists and members of the public to join forces in creating new, cutting-edge visualisations of the past. We aim to push the boundaries on the nature of heritage presentation—experimenting with forms of display, demonstrating the importance of imagery to understanding the past, and showcasing the innovation and creative potential across the heritage sector internationally.

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Based on jamming events commonly held in the games industry, where ad-hoc groups meet for short, intensive periods of time to produce game prototypes, here we seek to develop new views on the past through 2D and 3D image-making. At the same time, we’re hoping to stimulate connections and inspiration between those working in heritage, and those whose work often involves visualising the past in other industries and forms (film and television, art, literature, comics, further education, tourism, video game development, etc.).

 

As part of the Jam, you will produce one or more images in any media on a specified heritage theme—to be announced in the weeks to come. You will submit electronic copies of your images, videos or multi-media projects by end-of-day on Friday, 11 July 2014 for exhibition and judging by a panel of experts. Winning entries will be announced the following day, Saturday, 12 July 2014, at an awards ceremony at the Centre for Digital Heritage international conference. All submissions will feature in a web-based exhibition, as well as in a digitally-projected physical exhibition in York.

 

Anyone from any part of the world with an interest in heritage visualisation is invited to participate. If you are nearby to York, the project will culminate in a one-day collaborative ‘making’ session at the University of York on 11 July 2014: registration for the making session is £10 (including lunch, refreshments and access to facilities), and open to all.

 

To join the Jam, register online here.

 

For more information, contact Dr Sara Perry– follow us on Twitter and Facebook – or visit our newly-launched webpages – http://www.heritagejam.org/