The Impact Lab presenting at Digitising Industrial Heritage workshop and REMIX lecture series

industrial heritage experts

intensive days

topic: digitising industrial heritage

Lidia Gryszkiewicz and Giny Laroche from the Impact Lab have been invited as an expert to the ‘Digitising Industrial Heritage’ workshop and the follow up series of REMIX lecture series organized by the by the “Remixing Industrial Pasts” team of University of Luxembourg.

‘The legacy of industrialisation has resulted in “place[s] longing for historical self-assurance” (Achim Saupe). The current focus on industrial heritage has resulted in efforts to preserve and reconstruct this heritage in its original state. This applies not only to the memory of former workplaces, homes and recreation areas in post-industrial places, but also to the biographies of entrepreneurs, industrial workers and their families. The preservation and musealisation of former industrial landscapes raise further questions about the authenticity of such places. Public history, and with it the representation of the industrial past in museums, exhibitions and events, is situated between “original” representation and recreated staging. Furthermore, and this has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, an expanding field of virtual exhibitions, mobile apps, web-based applications and games is giving shape to a new form of digital public history.

The aim of the workshop and the follow up lecture series was to discuss the many aspects of industrial memories and material culture in this new field of digital public history on the basis of selected examples: the digital presentation of industrial sites, the memory of industrial workers and other inhabitants of industrial towns and cities, the collection and presentation of digital sources, and forms of reappraisal of industrial heritage. We will discuss the contribution that digital public history can make to debates on the concept or the mediation of industrial heritage (keywords: participation, sharing authority), the digital resources, methods and forms of mediation these projects use, how are (existing or former) industrial sites brought back to life through digital reconstructions and other topics.’ (CD2H)

1. Lidia Gryszkiewicz presented the paper titled ‘Digitising citizens’ emotions, needs, ideas and regional identities at a post-industrial territory – the case of Esch-Schifflange’. 

Post-industrial sites, especially the large ones with rich history and heritage, continue to evoke strong emotions, memories, mental associations even long after they are filled with the industrial sounds. When urbanists, architects, engineers, sociologists and other experts set out to revitalise an important post-industrial site, it is indispensable for them to take all these intangible reactions into account when working on the new design. Moreover, to ensure the best possible result, they need to be able to seamlessly blend them with the developer’s directions, as well as new public desires concerning the site. In this paper, we demonstrated how a mix of mix of participatory methodologies and digital techniques has worked in tandem for exactly that purpose at one of the most prominent European post-industrial sites.

2. Giny Laroche presented the paper titled ‘Rëm.xx: a post-industrial town and its cultural heritage revisited

Rumelange, a former mining city, has gradually transformed into a dormitory and transit town, largely losing its cultural identity, prosperity and vigour on the way. Combining these challenges with limits to potential spatial expansion and increasing urban density, it was the town’s ambition to reinvent itself. The idea is to build the post-industrial revitalisation process upon the strong values that characterised this former mining hotspot – innovation, proximity, collaboration, community cohesion, welcoming culture, diversity and authenticity. Immersion technologies (augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality) will be used as levers in this transformation.

Participating in this event has been an incredibly inspiring experience. A diverse and experienced community of digitising industrial heritage experts have come together to learn from one another and push the potential of different research methodologies further. For The Impact Lab, it has been an incredible opportunity to get to know other experts from Europe, enrich our own knowledge and working methods, but also share proudly our own expertise. More information on the first presentation can be found in the workshop report published by the University of Luxembourg. Details regarding the second one can be found on the lecture’s page.

Photos copyrights: CD2H, The Impact Lab