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Smartphone app to share memories of Lincoln’s past

A team of researchers at the University of Lincoln and Lincoln Cathedral are designing a smartphone app that will let people share memories and events associated with city heritage sites.

The Crowd-Curated History project will allow visitors or residents to add their stories and knowledge about places, exhibits or objects in the city.

The project was inspired by the number of people who tell interesting tales about places in Lincoln, and how it played a role in their lives, such as weddings, art inspiration or graduations.

These stories are sometimes told to tour guides, who may then pass interesting ones on to visitors, but they are not formally recorded so can be lost if a guide leaves.

The app will use Augmented Reality (AR) to capture and share the community stories. It will allow visitors to attach text, speech and images as virtual tags to exhibits, items or areas of interest, and then other users can then play them back.

To begin, visitors to the cathedral will be gathered by the researchers and encouraged to share any stories they may have about the relevance of the cathedral to their lives.

The software will then be developed and reviewed in December.

Project lead, Dr Andrew Elliott from the Lincoln School of Media, said: “Our project is designed to capture local history from those who are frequently shut out of the process.

“Traditionally we learn history through three methods; education, public history such as visiting historical sites and museums, and cultural pursuits such as watching films and reading novels.

“The problem is that these are typically led by someone who decides what that history means, and then feeds it back to you.

“We will explore a model in which visitors become the co-creators and curators of the local historical narrative.”

The Cathedral’s head of fundraising, Anne Irving, added: “This project makes a valuable contribution to the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project, for which we hope to secure Heritage Lottery Funding in May this year.

“We are delighted to be to working with the University of Lincoln on this innovative and exciting initiative.”

If you would like to take part in the project email Dr Andrew Elliott on aelliott@lincoln.co.uk.