Research Output
Digi-Mapping: Unpacking Meaning of Place Through Creative Technology
  Examining heritage can provide opportunities for marginalised communities to consider and valorise both their collective past and the relationality of more personal and mundane experiences (Rose, 2016). This paper argues that design methods offer heritage scholars new ways of exploring marginalised identities, experiences and relationships, extending a dialogic approach that supports the testing and realization of heritage futures (Jamieson & Discepoli, 2020). This paper describes a co-produced Digi-Mapping project with Edinburgh arts organisation WHALE Arts. This placemaking project developed a method called Digi-Mapping in partnership with primary school children in Wester Hailes Edinburgh, UK an area deemed in the top 10% of multiple deprivation (SIMD, 2020). Influenced by critical heritage and place theory, Digi-Mapping combines psychogeography with map-making using digital media tools. The Digi-mapping project afforded participants a new way to construct and perform meaning by appropriating their own cultural knowledge as part of the process. Over a period of two years, Digi-Mapping enabled school children to share personal meanings of place through digital media, which subsequently articulated contested narratives that framed Wester Hailes in polyvocal terms (Farman, 2018) and creatively mined the ‘processual nature of heritage’ and the sociality of its making (Graham, 2016). Attributing meaning, or ensoulment (Blevis & Stolterman, 2007) plays a key role in understanding the complexities of meaning to place, particularly when the ensoulment is at a community level rather than an individual act. As digital media tools develop and become easier to use, they afford new critical methods to investigate local heritage and discourse through participation (Farman, 2018). This paper argues that attributing meaning, or ensoulment (Blevis & Stolterman, 2007) plays a key role in understanding the complexities of community heritage and its relation to place. The artefacts created by participants were large scale tactile interactive maps that combined conductive drawings that triggered stories recorded by participants about where they live. The project’s successes and failures are reflected upon through a 4P’s Framework: Participatory, Performative, Playful and Polyvocal. We argue that this framework can support heritage scholars and communities unfamiliar with digital media tools. Moreover, we suggest that the 4P’s Framework complements the goals of critical heritage and creative placemaking.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    24 February 2021

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Grandison, T., Flint, T., & Jamieson, K. (2021, February). Digi-Mapping: Unpacking Meaning of Place Through Creative Technology. Paper presented at Cultural Heritage and Social Impact: Digital Technologies for Inclusion and Participation, Online


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