I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Digital Cultural Heritage cluster, part of the Centre for Data, Culture and Society. The cluster has been in development for the past year, and I’m the cluster lead/facilitator.
There are about 25 University of Edinburgh colleagues associated with the cluster so far, and we hope it will continue to grow as more people who are doing work in this area get involved. In addition to providing a way to amplify the University’s work in this area, we are also aiming to host workshops, showcases, roundtables and other events (including some to be co-organised with the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network); facilitate research networking and exchanges; and develop exhibitions and teaching resources.
Also re Artcasting, I’ve just finished and submitted a paper about hospitality and digital co-production; and the team recently reconvened with a number of others who have helped us a lot in thinking about Artcasting futures, to talk about a whole bunch of fascinating issues still to be explored. There is a summary of these on the Artcasting site blog.
Beyond Artcasting and its ripples, London also allowed a bit of time for Koula Charitonos and I to talk through some ideas – including to propose a symposium for next year’s ICLS conference on museum visitor experiences in the digital age. We hope this will be able to come together!
Serendipitously, I’ve got the opportunity to supervise not one but two masters students this year who are exploring aspects of 3d printing, scanning and visualisation in cultural heritage contexts – I look forward to learning lots from both of them about this topic.
I’m spending the day with a fantastic group of artists, youth organisation representatives, researchers and arts experts for a workshop at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, aiming to collaboratively explore and develop ideas for a project to explore the potential of contemporary art to raise awareness, provoke thought and motivate change in relation to youth inequalities. I’ll post some notes and other materials later, but we’ll be using the hashtag #artineq.
I really can’t say enough good things about my experience as a Fellow, working closely with Donald Jarvie and Scotland’s Futures Forum. My understanding of public engagement, the policy sphere in Scotland, and the value of networking and collaborating beyond academia has been deepened, and it’s really had a big impact on how I think about my identity and priorities as an academic.
My Fellowship focused on online and distance learning in Scotland, and looked in particular at issues around Massive Online Open Courses. I briefed Parliament colleagues about MOOCs, co-ordinated resources and activities to get them to explore these courses by signing up for one in early 2014, and worked with the Forum and the Learning and Leadership team to embed MOOCs as part of the professional development infrastructure of the Parliament. The MOOC strand culminated in a workshop in April 2014, bringing together groups of non-academic experts in four topic areas, including wellbeing and community energy, along with MOOC experts from the University of Edinburgh, to discuss the potential for creating MOOCs for public engagement and knowledge exchange. These teams are now taking their ideas forward, with further input from me.
Two other strands of activity emerged during the Fellowship. The first involved discussions with the Shetland Learning Partnership, when Scotland’s Futures Forum was asked to help plan scenarios for secondary, further, higher and adult education in Shetland.
The second was a collaboration with the Forum to host a ‘Creative Futures for Scotland’ roundtable event exploring how the growing popularity of individual and collaborative creativity (for example, crafting, 3D printing and web coding) could impact on learning, innovation and wellbeing in Scotland.
All three areas of work are continuing beyond the end of the Fellowship. I greatly appreciate the support I’ve received from Beltane, Scotland’s Futures Forum and the University of Edinburgh.
I decided in the end to make a new space for the parliament engagement fellowship – it can be found at http://onlinelearningscotland.tumblr.com . It’s mainly reflections and observations about my public/parliament engagement experiences. But I’ll also post news there of the projects I’m working on during the fellowship.
I’m delighted to have been appointed as a Beltane Parliament Engagement Fellow in the autumn. I’ll be developing engagement events for Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and other parliamentary colleagues, on the topic of “Distance and online learning for an innovative and inclusive Scotland”. The fellowship will be starting at the end of September, and will run til the end of March. I got to attend a working dinner at the Parliament back in June, and started to get a sense of the many interesting topics and issues that the fellowship will raise.
MOOCs were on the agenda, of course, but also the Scotland’s Futures Forum 2025 project, and broad questions about what quality online education really means, and what Scotland should be doing to achieve it. I’ll start a project blog closer to the time, but in the meantime, feel free to be in touch if you’d like to discuss anything further re this.