My Interim Assessment has been conducted and I have been declared fit to continue with my studies beyond the first year. So, a round up:
My initial proposal was more ambiguously aiming at identifying the role of digital representation and, more specifically, new media simulation, in the interpretation of heritage. My leanings in the past have been historical or archaeological, but I began considering ‘natural’ heritage in more detail. This followed a family holiday in France in 2012 where we visited several eco museums, such as the Daviaud and the Kulmino.
After discussions with my supervisor, I began to consider exploring woodland heritage; something that is interesting to me in particular having grown up in the Forest of Dean. Throughout the course of attempting to identify appropriate forest locations for research, I eventually refined my choices to Grass Wood in Grassington and Towneley Park in Burnley.
However, after discussing my aims with the interim assessment panel I began to re-assess my aims. The truth was that Grassington offered probably limited variety demographically. While there is bound to be a variety of heritage interpretations within the community found within Grassington, there was the real possibility that these interpretations would broadly fit within the Authorised Heritage Discourse and so limit conclusions concerning the effects of simulated or digital heritage representations. As I drove home, I thought about the cultural and social variety within the Burnley community. I thought about Towneley Park and the range of people who visit and enjoy the facilities and landscape. I became excited at the possibility of hearing the different stories that people will have about this place.
I was reticent to drop Grass Wood as a research focus, but I asked myself why woodland heritage was so crucial for my research. I concluded that despite my personal love of forests, the broader research aim to explore the interpretation of natural landscapes was the important aspect. Since I hope that my research will help to develop a methodological framework for approaching heritage interpretation, woodland heritage is perhaps too specific at this stage. If my research is useful and successful then I hope that further research into woodland heritage and digital representation will be a real possibility.
For now my focus is much clearer – In what ways does new media simulation change the heritage interpretation of Towneley Park?