WS6 Storytelling from the earth

Giuliano De Felice

Communicating archaeology is a complex operation that should never be separated from the processes of research, because sites and museums are ‘distant’ places, traces of something that is difficult to narrate without the support of researchers. The very distance that makes the relationship between user and heritage magical and unrepeatable, is also the main reason for this difficulty: it is not easy to tell an interesting story using only clues and traces.

Nowadays the possibilities offered by computer technologies invite us to imagine new forms of interaction, but we need to develop a communication strategy, including the choice of appropriate languages to narrate the space “between clues and imagination”, in which the archaeologist operates, and where his/her methods find their true and deepest meaning.

In other words the new space opening up is the synergy between technology, culture and creativity that tends to innovate contents and modes of delivery of cultural resources within a new cultural model, which gathers together the most innovative languages and the enormous expressive potential of the knowledge domain. This space is waiting to be filled by a pact between the various actors who today operate in a disconnected and autonomous way: trainers, researchers and professionals.

I therefore propose a workshop session in which we can discuss about the possibile characteristics of an innovative model, starting from some starting consideration: an innovative approach has to be both attractive and deeply tied to the scientific domain.

The starting points for a discussion could be:

  • the use of digital storytelling techniques to create attractive narratives and more profound interactions, through a real reworking of scientific knowledge;
  • the use of specific languages, deeply rooted into the knowledge domain, but fully intelligible to all audiences;
  • the use of the most up to date technologies;
  • the active involvement of different kinds of stakeholders (users, contributors, prosumers and so on) in the creation of new services and products.

This approach could be the right solution to improve the overall quality of communication products in the heritage sector, helping to integrate different perspectives already in the design phase, and to get a result that would be both scientifically correct and attractive, avoiding what has been called the disneyfication of cultural heritage, but also the ‘coldness’ of a simple application of technologies.

The goal of the workshop will be to define patterns of communication aimed at the innovation of languages, not neglecting, but rather enhancing, the prerogatives of the knowledge domain, obtaining in this way accurate content, which is interesting and innovative at the same time. This result could represent a contribution to define a new paradigm of communication that would take into account the immense (and largely unused) narrative potential of research methodologies and that would define a new role for archaeologists: not only guarantors of the scientific accuracy of the content, but rather the hub of the whole process of research–interpretation–dissemination, as the only element that can make cultural heritage fascinating and attractive.

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