The Living Digital Heritage conference was a CACHE initiative conducted as a means to bring together arts, science and technology disciplines in a conference with a common, unifying goal of virtual heritage and with a variety of viewpoints and interest areas which could be covered. In this it was successful, and we brought together academics, practitioners, developers, students and ECRs from various universities around Australia and countries around the world (including the USA, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand, SE Asia).
This conference covered a range of digital methods and their application to heritage-related pursuits, but particularly in the domain of Virtual Heritage. As mentioned, it brought together practitioners, researchers, educators and developers with a shared passion for the deployment and usage, but moreover an interest in increasing the uptake and continued exploitation of digital technologies for the benefit of world heritage. It aimed to enable the sharing of positive experiences from which all could learn and attempt to integrate in their own work, but also of areas of perceived risk and negative experiences which detract from the aims of heritage work. The theme worked well, and presentations even covered areas where Virtual Heritage work benefitted present day victims of trauma arising out of historical circumstances – an area which demonstrated the diversity of applications possible.
The conference was well-attended and attracted 257 attendees and 59 presenters. Presentations included paper presentations, a panel session as well as a virtual exhibition session. There was a popular evening social event which included two presentations from the Centre for Architecture, Urbanism, and Global Heritage (CAUGH) at Nottingham Trent University, UK followed by networking sessions. The keynote, Erik Champion, is well regarded in the Virtual Heritage domain and attracted a lot of interest.
A post-conference meeting was held on the evening of the last day with the aim of discussing future collaboration and the interest in running a future repeat conference. This was well-attended (approximately 60 attendees). Very useful feedback was provided by the attendees and there was unanimous interest in running a follow-on conference in two years’ time with possibly smaller events/workshops in between. There was also strong interest in the establishment of a community of practice/association as an enduring aspect.
We had expected the conference to be successful, but the high level enthusiasm it generated and the desire for follow-on engagement were quite unexpected and it was a credit to all those involved in its inception and execution.
Conference Theme and Sessions
The theme of the LDH 2021 conference was “Integrating the Past into the Present and Future”. The sessions and abstract themes were as follows:
- Archiving and Wider Data Issues
- Capture and Visualisation
- Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
- Legacy Data
- Ancient Worlds, Archaeogaming and Role Play