Mapping Bristol's cinematic past and Ghosts in the Garden feature in REACT Heritage Sandbox showcase

Issue date: 24 September 2012

REACT Heritage Sandbox showcase - Ghosts in the Garden

Mapping Bristol's cinematic past and Ghosts in the Garden feature in REACT Heritage Sandbox showcase

28 September 2012 Watershed Bristol 13:00

See images here

Two of the six REACT Heritage Sandbox projects that will be showcased at the Watershed on 28 September have involved collaborations between industry partners and researchers at UWE Bristol.

The REACT Heritage Sandbox is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project that started in 2011 bringing academics and creative industry partners together to look at fresh and innovative ways of promoting heritage using new digital technologies creatively to augment visitor or user experience.

The two UWE Bristol collaborative projects are 'Ghosts in the Garden', an audio adventure in Bath's Sydney Gardens and 'City Strata', a mobile platform that celebrates cinema going culture past and present in the bomb blitzed area around Castle Park.

'Ghosts in the Garden' retrieves the voices of long forgotten men and women who worked or walked in Bath's fanciest Georgian pleasure garden two hundred years ago. As visitors tour the sites of former garden attractions – its giant labyrinth, its castle ruins or its Cosmorama - they relive illuminated Gala evenings, encounter pickpockets, foil firework saboteurs and even help rescue damsels in distress. Smart phones hidden inside specially constructed 'time sensitive listening devices' use GPS to trigger sophisticated branching narratives which bring an imaginative past dramatically back to life.

UWE Bristol academic, Dr Steve Poole, said, “It's been a real challenge to adapt historical research to creative game play and helping to build a heritage experience that is neither a simple audio tour or a work of dramatic fiction but that contains elements of each.”

Creative Partner, Rosie Fairchild from Splash and Ripple says, “We are ditching the passive audio guide and museum app and replacing it with a powerfully interactive audio adventure using excellent archival historical research.”

'City Strata' is a new mobile platform for developing heritage apps which the team have prototyped by exploring Bristol's historic cinemas: the 'Cinemapping' app maps Bristol's cinemas so that you can experience cinema history in the places where it actually happened, featuring the Grade II listed Whiteladies Picture House; and there's also a full blown immersive tour of the heart of Bristol's old commercial and leisure district that was destroyed in the Blitz called 'The Lost Cinemas of Castle Park', including The Empire Theatre - where Cary Grant had his first job as a lime lighter - which will be published as a stand-alone app later in the Autumn.

'City Strata' is collaboration between Digital Cultures Research Centre, UWE Bristol's Dr Charlotte Crofts, Peter Insole, Archaeological Officer at Bristol City Council and creative technology company Calvium.

Dr Charlotte Crofts says, “Building on my experience of designing cinema-related heritage experiences (Charlotte designed an app for the Curzon Cinema, Clevedon earlier in the year), the work with Calvium has enabled us to build and develop a scalable platform that can be used to make other heritage and cultural location based experiences.”

For full details of these projects see the REACT Heritage Sandbox press pack

or visit


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