Conference on digital heritage in Asia organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Deadline is 15 May 2021.
In recent years, many Asian cities have invested in the digitalisation of cultural heritage, by developing virtual museum galleries, digitally enhanced experiences such as augmented reality or virtual reality, as well as participatory digital archiving platforms. In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, new kinds of digital experiences such as live-streamed performances and virtual city tours have become more widely available and gained enhanced popularity. These innovations are widely lauded for their potential to rejuvenate heritage, reach out to young publics, foster participation and interaction. But the implications of digitally enhanced heritage for urban diversity have been little explored. Does the digitalisation of cultural heritage enable broader participation, intercultural exchange, and the preservation urban diversity? Or does it generate new patterns of cultural fragmentation and contribute to the homogenization of culture?
The rise of new technologies have created new opportunities for cultural producers and heritage professionals to involve citizens in the co-construction of heritage and combine a variety of channels to engage with new audiences (Borowiecki and Forbes 2016). The combination of traditional and contemporary media contributes to a dynamic preservation of intangible heritage, adjusting to contemporary uses (Cominelli and Greffe 2012). Cultural heritage institutions have set up platforms of knowledge co-production and experimentations to foster the contribution of diverse communities (Jenkins et al. 2006). But there has also been a recurrent concern that digital technologies and social media accentuate cultural and social fragmentations (Colley 2015). Not only does the uneven access to technology exclude certain populations from digital services, digital spaces can be segmented along cultural lines, in contrast to the serendipitous encounters that happen in diverse urban spaces.
This conference wishes to advance the reflection on the opportunities and challenges that new technologies represent for heritage in diverse Asian cities. Proposals exploring one or more of the following questions are particularly welcome:
How can the digitalization of heritage help expand access to culture to diverse urban populations?
Which logics of cultural exclusion and fragmentation are generated or accentuated as a result of the digitalization of heritage?
What are the conditions to leverage the power of digital technology to enhance urban diversity?
Which risks does the rise of digital media represent for the preservation of diverse intangible heritage?
To what extent does digital heritage allow for more audience interaction and participation?
What is the respective role of public policies, private and civil society actors to foster digital heritage in highly diverse urban contexts?