Pervasive Monuments

DSC_0161The Pervasive Monuments project is an exploration of the practices, practicalities and opportunities of memorialisation in a digital age. This interdisciplinary project is bringing together expertise from interaction design, social science, education and computer science to explore how digital technologies are currently, and might be in the future, used as part of the significant human practices of remembering and commemorating others, and their experiences.

The project is exploring two radically different contexts to begin to develop understanding of the intersections between technology and memory. Our first project site, is Slovenia, which has a history marked by the events of Stalinist purges post-World War II. With our project partners, Halfman Design, and with content curated by the National and University Library of Slovenia (NUK) and the Study Centre for National Reconciliation (SCNR) we are exploring the design of a service which augments the experience of visiting an existing memorial site by giving visitors the opportunity to interact with narratives and stories of those affected by the events at that specific site. The service is based on mobile and cloud-based technologies and aims to deliver contextually relevant information to visitors, in a meaningful and respectful way. The design hopes to further explore the challenges behind provision of self-sustaining, community-driven services in rural locations.

The second element of our project focuses on Rwanda and the memorialisation of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Working with our project partners the Aegis Trust we have visited with, and begun to explore, the complex work of the Kigali Memorial Centre (KMC) in Rwanda. In particular we are focusing on exploring the practices of their Documentation Centre and its efforts to build an on-line digital archive of video-based survivor testimonies, the diverse work of the KMC’s educational staff and the work of the KMC’s social enterprise unit and the associated social programme. Within this context we are examining the challenges and opportunities for digital technologies to support the types of work in which such cultural institutions are engaged.