(University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK)

Keywords: culture, heritage, digital technology, mapping

New technologies have the potential to widen the audience for heritage and cultural activities, as well as contributing to policy goals relating to growth throughout Europe.  This evolution of communication and presentation methods provides ways to explore and capture tangible and intangible heritage, forming an interactive, discursive archive.
The discipline of cultural asset mapping has the potential to inform policy; this research investigates the development of a digital cultural asset map as a method of revealing a picture of the breadth and spread of cultural activity in Renfrewshire, Scotland using creative techniques to work with groups that traditionally find participation difficult, helping to give them a greater voice within the context of activity around the bid for UK City of Culture status.
There are four types of hidden cultural heritage, unseen unknown undervalued and untold; creative approaches to working with communities can reveal these hidden assets. In this PhD a combination of participatory geographical information systems (GIS), cognitive mapping and digital storytelling approaches are utilised in order to reveal and celebrate hidden stories of community creativity and heritage, referencing the title of the adopted local heritage asset strategy ‘Paisley the Untold Story’.
The work will result in knowledge exchange events between the University of the West of Scotland, Renfrewshire Council and the Creative Renfrewshire Network and the results of the research will feed into the DCMS bid for UK City of Culture 2021; contributing to this national competition and to the cultural mapping, participatory arts and community heritage engagement fields.

Relevance conference / Relevance session:
ArcGIS Story Maps are an emerging form of computerised mapping; my PhD examines the creative potential of this tool to explore the location, distribution and meaning of cultural assets.

My research is situated within a live project context (bidding for UK City of Culture); it a unique and time limited opportunity for a researcher with the potential to stimulate debate around culture


  1. Arnstein, S. R. (1969) A Ladder Of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners. Vol.35 (4), pp.216–224
  2. Lee, D. and Gilmore, A. (2012) Mapping cultural assets and evaluating significance: theory, methodology and practice. Cultural Trends. Vol.21 (February 2015), pp.3–28.