Written by Dr Kostas Arvanitis

Since June 2020, the Institute for Cultural Practices at The University of Manchester (UoM) have been working with museums, galleries and other cultural and heritage organisations in Greater Manchester to support their in-pandemic resilience and post-pandemic recovery.

Specifically, at a time when visiting museums and galleries is either restricted or not possible, the UoM has offered technology, resources and staff capacity to produce, free of charge, 3D scans of exhibitions and other public spaces (see here). Those online, public and viewable via an Internet browser, 3D scans have aimed to address different and specific needs of the cultural organisations.

Undergraduate and Master’s student groups and staff in the Institute for Cultural Practices (ICP), Art History and Archaeology collaborated with, and produced 3D guided tours of, the Manchester Art Gallery, Platt Hall and People’s History Museum (see 3D snapshots below). Details about each 3D tour can be found here.

Snapshot of 3D dollhouse view of 'What is Manchester Art Gallery' exhibition

Snapshot of 3D dollhouse view of ‘What is Manchester Art Gallery’ exhibition

Snapshot of 3D dollhouse view of Platt Hall

Snapshot of 3D dollhouse view of Platt Hall

Snapshot of 3D dollhouse view of People's History Museum

Snapshot of 3D dollhouse view of People’s History Museum

The project:

  • Built on, enhanced and developed further an existing and ongoing partnership with local cultural organisations in exploring the use of 3D scanning for collaborative teaching, public engagement and social responsibility projects;
  • Offered cultural organisations and UoM staff and students opportunities to critically reflect on how issues of shared interest (e.g. social justice, decolonisation, environmental sustainability and monetisation of digital cultural content) are presented in public-facing cultural spaces;
  • Developed practice-based learning activities around real-life settings, which brought students in collaborative partnerships with cultural professionals and allowed them to learn by critically reflecting on their own practice and, in the process, gain valuable career-oriented and transferable skills that will prepare them for the workforce.

Project duration: 2020-2021

Project lead: Dr Kostas Arvanitis (Institute for Cultural Practices, Dept. of AHCP, UoM)

Internal partners:

  • Dr Emila Terracciano (Dept. of AHCP, UoM)
  • Dr John Piprani (Archaeology, Dept. of CAHAE, UoM)
  • Dr Hannah Cobb (Archaeology, Dept. of CAHAE, UoM)
  • Dr Kerry Pimblott (Dept. of History, UoM)

External partners: Manchester Art Gallery, Platt Hall, People’s History Museum

Audiences involved: Cultural professionals, audiences and visitors of cultural organisations

Funding source: SALC and Creative Manchester Cultural Engagement Award

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