CoP in Ghent, 2013

The Community of Practice in Ghent, May 2013, was full of presentations, with a wide variety of examples. From means to inform hikers about the environment and the natural species richness in a nature reserve, to multimedia showing how things used to be when Romans ruled, learning that ingenious constructions make it possible that an ancient Roman harbour gate is shown, while protecting it against the construction of a subway line underneath and supporting the beautifull museum above.

We saw how aerial photography from archives can tell an almost emotional story and convince visitors how devastating WWI was for a large area in Belgium,for villages and villagers, leaving not much behind for archaeologists to find and study. By using Kinect technology visitors can surf their way through a 3D (virtual) reconstruction of an Etruscan sepulchral chamber. But we also understood that using signing, with well elaborated texts and images to guide visitors along historic city walls, will still reach many more people than smartphones will do nowadays.

We pondered on issues such as ‘How are the public expectations towards heritage institutions evolving?’ Or ‘How heritage, leisure and tourism can enhance each other online, confronting the past with present events, news and trends. Does that mean innovation as process, or innovation as a way of life? We discovered how a game invite youngsters to look at the hidden history and treasures in their town, but is gamification really the future of heritage interpretation? We found out that minimal interaction still can lead to intense experience. And we were asked whether it is possible to develop visions of the future of heritage interpretation by the right network (size), the right people (quality) and the right tools to develop and share visions of the future of heritage interpretation.

A “full summary” of the CoP, including abstracts, questions & theorems, presentations and a manifesto, can be found below.

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