Shared Digital Experiences Supporting Collaborative Meaning-Making at Heritage Sites

Sara Elizabeth Perry, Maria Roussou, Sophia Mirashrafi, Akrivi Katifori, Sierra McKinney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


A growing body of research testifies to the capacity for archaeological and other cultural heritage sites to generate wonder, attachment, personal transformation and restoration, family bonding and community building amongst their visitors. Using evaluation data from two related European Commission‐funded research projects, CHESS and EMOTIVE, we discuss here our work in developing mobile-based emotionally‐engaging digital stories for visitors to diverse cultural heritage sites. The sites range from world-renowned museums, such as the Acropolis Museum in Athens (Greece), to UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Çatalhöyük Neolithic archeological site (in Turkey). The evaluation studies feature detailed observations of visitors on‐site as well as post‐experience questionnaires and interviews, providing us with rich data on several axes; e.g. in relation to interactive story plot and narration, staging and wayfinding in the physical space, personalisation and social interaction. In this chapter, we specifically focus on shared experience and the impact that digital technology can have in promoting the cultural site as a social space. On the one hand, our findings testify that digital empathic stories can evoke narrative transportation, and even, in some cases, personal attachment and critical (self‐)reflection, which leads us to consider how their enchanting capacities might be pushed even further into the building of broader, collective social conscience. At the same time, the findings reveal the challenges, both conceptual and practical, of designing a shared digital experience in which visitors engage with the site and each other in meaningful ways.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites
EditorsHannah Lewi, Wally Smith, Steve Cooke, Dirk vom Lehn
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbook

Bibliographical note

• The book will be published in the Routledge International Handbook series and will be published as a hardback at first, followed by an e-book, followed by a paperback print within around 18 months of first publication.
• Authors will be able to have open access rights for their own chapter to post on personal websites etc. at time of Hardback book publication, plus posting rights to academic websites after 18 months.

Cite this