Six grants awarded to explore groundbreaking ideas for new heritage experiences

Issue date: 21 March 2012

Projects to bring Georgian pleasure gardens to life and explore cemeteries of the future

Six projects have been commissioned out of the South West to unlock histories, hauntings and happenings in all kinds of UK heritage attractions, unraveling rich experiences through the use of cutting edge technologies. The commissions come under the banner of Heritage Sandbox, the first run of funding announced by REACT, one of four UK Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

REACT is pleased to announce six collaborative awards, after bringing together over 200 creative companies and leading arts and humanities researchers to share ideas for collaboration, identifying heritage as the first theme. The successful collaborative projects representing creative industries and inspiring academic research will make an investment totaling over £300,000 to the UK's cultural economy.

Each project aims to deliver new ways to experience heritage attractions, through new kinds of social interaction enabled by pervasive media and immersive digital technologies to bring audiences closer to past lives and collective histories.

Projects range from augmented reality mirrors on board Bristol's famous SS Great Britain to a multi-sensory stroll through the exotic Georgian pleasure gardens of Bath. They explore contemporary attitudes to death and human remains in Cemeteries and Museums, giving the dead a technological voice and bring history back to life through interactive located archives using real memories and historical characters (see full description of the projects below).

Heritage Sandbox is part of REACT, led by UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England), one of four UK knowledge exchange hubs, supporting innovative products and transformational services by bringing together companies and academics through game-changing collaborations using the sandbox model. Heritage is the first theme, with seven iterations to be commissioned in the next three years.

REACT Executive Producer Clare Reddington said, “REACT is about supporting unusual partnerships and brilliant ideas. The six Heritage Sandbox projects are great examples of the new ways of thinking that can be achieved by bringing together arts and humanities research with creative companies. We are very excited about working with these collaborations over the next three months and bringing their projects to life”

REACT Director Jon Dovey said, “Over the next four years REACT will transform the way Universities and companies work together to create wealth and value for the UK Creative economy for years to come. The partnerships in these projects will become the heart of new networks of value creation. These projects take fascinating Arts & Humanities research and explore how to engage new audiences.”

To find out more about the programme and its 2012 commissions, please visit:

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