Curating the City

Curator's Note

Explore Cleveland Historical (download for iOS or Android). Imagine discovering the city serendipitously, thru geo-location, street-visible QR codes, or thematic tours. Imagine joining K16 students & community partners in formal and informal learning, thru developing digital stories. Or, imagine extending to other interpretive contexts, like our partners in Baltimore, New Orleans, & Spokane.

Pew Internet argues that mobile represents a paradigmatic shift.  Nearly 50% of Americans have smartphonesEricsson claims that 80% of people will access the Interent w/mobile devices by 2015. Surely, mobile will transform schools, museumslibraries, universities, communities, and culture. But, we rarely ask how interpretive or teaching practices should change in light of mobile, fetishizing the technology. The Center for Public History + Digital Humanities explores remaking public humanities interpretive practice in light of the mobile revolution, building on our a decade of work exploring memory, landscape,  thru public & digital projects.

The city has been our laboratory because place matters. Recovering place re-makes civic society; it creates sustainable economies, environments, and communities. In erasing boundaries between landscape & interpretation, mobile provides new ways of imagining place; it allows us to create dynamic performative public art--a dance between memory, space, and artifact. Its ubiquity creates the possibility for a pervasive interpretive environment, hearkening toward the Internet of Things.

As digital blurs the lines between theory, technologies, & praxis, curation has emerged as a bridge. We Curate the City in collaboration with the community, rebuilding a sense of place and community. We embed a model of interpretive public humanities in the tools we build and use, which also extends these practices to other places. Our Mobile Historical Project has yielded a tool, Curatescape, and mobile theme for Omeka.

We ask more questions than we answer. Join us in posing questions and suggesting directions.

  1. How can mobile storytelling reinscribe the particularity of a place, but also transcend it?
  2. How can mobile become part of a network of meaning w/in a physical storytelling environment?
  3. How can "tours" provide meaning making in a dynamic, non-linear technological and spatial context?
  4. What technological features might enhance our efforts? How can we more deeply "augment" reality?
  5. How do we balance the interpretive frames of public humanities w/academic scholarship or artistic dislocation?


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