Part of the original CHERISH bid, the Digital Living History Laboratory sets out “to explain and interpret the [Hafod Copperworks] site as it returns to life and becomes a vibrant place for people to visit, live in and work in. The City and County of Swansea has worked closely with the University to identify these challenges and is committed to delivering a transformational regeneration of the site through its collaborations with the University.”
A 2017 CHERISH funded sandpit brought about the creation of Telescopr which will be part of the finished enterprise park and visitor centre, as will the 3D model and soundscape. Further funding (?) bought an existing data set created by Nick Rissill of Terradact based on extensive surveying work he completed in 2015. This existing data will inform the AR for the model.
The buildings will open in late 2019 but how will this space be used? An exciting, interactive, novel item like the model will engage the visitors and encourage return visits as the site expands and develops. This can be the start of further toolkits and templates for methods of engagement. Real world digitool informing the regeneration of a heritage site.
COAH are about innovating for heritage but cannot necessarily drive the digital element. The project is “an interface between blue skies thinking about digital interpretation and the practical needs of visitors and local communities”. This is where the founding partnership with CHERISH can reframe their research questions. Create a digital asset that is not just another AR/VR museum exhibit. Engaging with the VR as well as its subject.
“The local area is characterised by unusually high levels of digital exclusion. Thus the project is focused on engaging with traditionally ‘hard-to-reach’ groups” The next stages of development of the 3D model as a central part of the visitor centre and enterprise park to attract footfall and the hope to monetize the site and ensure the longterm success of the project and an ongoing Copperworks legacy whilst creating a shared asset in a resource constrained community.
While resource constraint is obvious in the “developing” world, a key outcome of the Centre’s work will be to pivot findings from one “world” to the “next”, addressing specifically resource-limited contexts in the UK. For this work, we will build-upon the Cu@Swansea project, focused on a ten year development plan designed to regenerate the 12½ acre site of the once derelict Hafod-Morfa Copperworks in the Lower Swansea Valley. This site, containing 12 listed buildings or structures, was once home to the largest copperworks in Europe, and lay at the centre of a world-wide network of commercial connections. At the core of our heritage-led vision for the site – which will lead to the establishment of a World Heritage Site in 2020 - is the creation of a Digital Living
History Laboratory to explain and interpret the site as it returns to life and become a vibrant place for people to visit, live in, and work in. This laboratory will act as an interface between blue skies thinking about digital interpretation and the practical needs of visitors and local communities. There has been extensive community consultation during the development phase of the project, which has been funded by Welsh Government and European Union grants totalling £1.2 million. Particular challenges are posed by the size, scale, and complexity of a once-derelict and polluted site located in a deprived area; the layered nature of the site’s archaeology which reflects its disjointed industrial and post-industrial life-cycle, and the fact that the local area is characterised by unusually high levels of digital exclusion. Thus the project is focused on engaging with traditionally ‘hard-to-reach’ groups. The City and County of Swansea has worked closely with the University to identify these challenges and is committed to delivering a transformational regeneration of the site through its collaborations with the University.