Focus Area 5: Mediation of Heritage through Innovative Technologies

This focus area of the International Graduate School connects to the strategic goals of UNESCO related to lifelong learning and computer-assisted learning, formulated in 2008 and the UNESCO Programme Memory of the World which protects the documentary heritage of mankind. It is also in line with the respective focus of BTU. In this way, a bridge is built between the cultural sciences focusing on World Heritage, and BTU’s academic programs in the area of information technology (IT). More concretely, theory and praxis of innovative communication strategies for heritage sites shall be examined, on the basis of studies in the educational sciences related to lifelong learning and of applied research related to user management. Existing best practice examples shall be determined, and the reasons for their success shall be analysed from the perspective of the educational and cultural sciences. Research on interactive learning will be revisited which was conducted in the late 1990s in the framework of an EU project also involving the universities of Zaragoza (Computer graphics), Poznan, and Wales. In this context, IT communication strategies will again be examined in view of their usefulness in different social and global environments.

Potential topics could include mediation of heritage through mobile audiovisual user devices such as mobile phones, Ipods, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), or RFID-based (Radio Frequency Identification) visitor management devices. A main question will be whether mediation through new media has a sustained lasting effect on the understanding of heritage, or a trivializing effect. Dissertations in the focus area Mediation of Heritage through Innovative Technologies are – as outlined above – innovative in themselves. In addition, they should be approached as cross-cutting themes, regarding the other focus areas. For instance, the tourism industry has shown interest in the question whether and in which way computer simulations of World Heritage can enhance the actual experience of visitors to a site.

Thematic Focus Areas

  • Theories on visitor management and lifelong learning.
  • Theory and practice of innovative mediation strategies for heritage sites. 
  • Development of typologies of mediation strategies in a heterogeneous environment of sociological/technical preconditions and the needs of heritage sites.
  • Identification and theoretical analysis of best practice.
  • Analyzing IT-supported mediation strategies in the context of social and global disparities (knowledge gap hypothesis and global digital gap).
  • Research on the creation of socio-economic values by IT-supported mediation strategies in heritage sites.
  • Elaboration of innovative concepts for the mediation of heritage sites by way of mobile information technology. 
  • Development and analysis of mediation strategies in the context of educational opportunities in the quaternary sector.