Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Digitizing Architectural Heritage: What Role History?

Digital cultural heritage is an emerging field that offers exciting possibilities and genuine challenges for architectural history. Creative virtual environments that provide interactive interpretations of place, film and sound enriched archives, histories augmented by crowd-sourced data, and downloadable self-guided tour apps for mobile devices, all have potential to engage new audiences, engender alternative meanings and enhance current management practices. The 2003 UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage acknowledged the capacity of digital technologies to provide a vehicle for recording and preserving the world’s heritage, and broadening access to historic resources. Much activity has since focused on the provision of accurate data for the documentation and management of heritage, and the facilitation of artifact and site presentation for tourism and education. Yet digital technologies have a range of under-explored capacities that can contribute to debates about our relationship with the historical past, the contemporary present, and the imminent future. At the same time, they can drive questions about authenticity and integrity, authorship and intellectual property, and the democratization of heritage and historiography. 

This session explores the theoretical and methodological position of digital technologies in the architectural history, and seeks to supplement the more practical applications considered to date. Papers might address the implications of digital technologies for architectural history; how digital technologies should be theorized in professional discourse; the relationship between scanned data and historical research; investigations of contemporary public commentary as a means to augment conventional professional histories; methodological studies of the benefits and limitations of digital technologies; or inquiries into the value of archiving three-dimensional data while allowing the physical environment to decay naturally. The session would also encourage debate about the de-listing of places and practices of historic significance, and the role that new technologies might play in a grave-to-cradle approach. 

Session Chairs: Kelly Greenop, The University of Queensland, and Chris Landorf, The University of Queensland

Session presented at: Society of Architectural Historians 2018 Annual International Conference April 18–22 in Saint Paul, Minnesota 

Abstract submission and information on SAH2018