Summer Course: Digital Documentation and Representation of Cultural Heritage

Anthropology 136e

Digital (New Media) Documentation and Representation of Cultural Heritage: Field School-San Francisco Presidio
Instructors: Professor Ruth Tringham, (Anthropology) and Dr. Michael Ashley, (Architect of Media Vault Program and Manager of New Program Development, Office of the Chief Information Officer) 
CCN: 12115
Location: San Francisco Presidio
Maximum number of students: 25

The idea of this field-school has developed as a result of both the design charrette held in August 2007 by the archaeologists of the Presidio Trust to plan their research and public programs of the El Presidio (Spanish and Mexican) fort and the Presidio Trusts new plan for the Main Post including the Anza Esplanade. In addition the UCB Dept of Anthropology is currently administering and sponsoring a large private grant (Shaw Foundation), which includes funding for the new Coordinator of Public Programs for the El Presidio (Levantar) project at the SF Presidio. Finally, during the last two years Dr. Ashley and Professor Ruth Tringham have successfully taught summer session classes at the SF Presidio (Anthropology 136i and Anthropology 136e), establishing a small multimedia center as part of the Presidio Archaeology Lab and thus making contributions to their digital resources. The Presidio archaeologists are very keen for us to continue this educational program.

The course will be on “New Media and Cultural Heritage” and will focus on the real world challenge of creating interpretive walks and other installations for the public that involve wireless technology, digital geomapping, storytelling etc, globally and, specifically, at the El Presidio fort and the de Anza trail (the Levantar Project), which is the current focus of research of the Archaeology Group at the SF Presidio. The course will involve the design, field trial, and documentation of these different formats of representation of cultural heritage places. The aim is to seek alternatives to permanent markers of information about places, leveraging different forms of digital media. The course will take advantage of the many specialists in these technologies in the Bay Area with whom we have contact and who have offered to contribute their help to the course (CyArk, Cultural Heritage Imaging and others). It will also build on our own research in the Remediated Places project at Catalhöyük and the SF Presidio.

Students will participate in all parts of the process of creating these installations, from initial research, through design, development and production. Coursework will include:

  • Critical assessment of New Media technologies that are used or potentially useful for the documentation and representation of cultural heritage places, including interpretive walks.
  • The development of content for such interpretive walks at El Presidio.
  • Each student will be expected to complete a collaborative team project led by one of the instructional team comprising the production of an interpretive walk and its full and detailed digital documentation.
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