What is the MuseIT project?
Safeguarding cultural heritage in an inclusive way
Our observation - a lack of accessibility for all despite technological advancements
Advancements in digital transformation have enriched the interactive experience of cultural heritage. The adoption of digital technologies has benefited the development of virtual museum tours, preservation of cultural assets, digitised archives enabling broader and engaging means of access to cultural heritage.
Despite critical advances, structural deficiencies remain: lack of accessibility for all, limited opportunities for all members of society to participate in cultural and creative industries on equal basis, and limited interoperable digital repositories for archiving accessible multisensory cultural assets and related archival structures. With one billion people experiencing some form of disability and one-fifth of these experiencing significant disabilities, access or opportunities to engage with cultural assets is not equally available to all.
Our objective and what we will do - co-design, creation and inclusion
The MuseIT project aims to co-design, develop, and co-evaluate a multisensory, user-centred platform for enriched engagement with cultural assets with inclusion and equal opportunity for all as core principles. The MuseIT innovation is rooted in multisensory representations of cultural heritage which extend beyond the visual and auditory senses.
Participatory co-design activities will be integral to enable users with disabilities to be involved in decisions and designs that will affect their lives. Enriched experiences of cultural assets created by MuseIT will not be limited to this group and is likely to enhance the level of participation and enjoyment for all people. Impacts are likely to include the democratization of cultural asset experiences, and tangible growth in creative and cultural industries.
Co-design and development of multisensory representations and rendering of cultural assets
The MuseIT platform will enable creation of alternative expressions and modes of representations (including digitization, translations, interpretations, and/or transmediation for enriched aesthetic experiences) of a set of pre-defined cultural assets (objects, architectural sites, intangible assets) as proofs of concept, through different means, by different actors, and for different audiences.
Multisensory representations afforded by the MuseIT platform will take into account variations in perceptual modalities and functional and cognitive abilities of audiences, while catering for different needs and preferences in order to create equal opportunities for all. Therefore, multi-layered representations including visual, auditory, and haptic cues will be central in the project. As proof-of-concept, layered multisensory representation of three different types of cultural assets will be explored related to :
tangible museum objects,
culturally significant architectural sites
intangible cultural assets.
The scientific and technical innovation proposed in the project is aimed at enriching the accessibility for, and inclusion of all while interacting with cultural heritage assets and historical archives. The proposed innovation will be validated within the project through a stakeholder consultation systematically achieved using participatory approaches and the adoption of co-design principles. Such community interactions will by design involve people living with disabilities. Formal user requirements aggregated from stakeholders will be leveraged to formalise the specification of the MuseIT scientific innovations.
Addressing the three main challenges set for the project, the research activities of MuseIT are categorised into four building blocks:
Multisensory, multi-layered cultural heritage representations.
User centric design and delivery of immersive and accessible experience to cultural heritage for all.
Co-creation platform services, allowing citizens to collaboratively perform and generate musical content from distance.
A knowledge repository capable of preserving the multisensory, representations generated within the project for interoperability and interfacing with external systems.
MuseIT conceptual overview: participatory approach, scientific innovation and target stakeholders :