Marleen DE KRAMER | Christopher MORSE | Sam MERSCH
(Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg, Belval, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg)

Keywords: Intangible Cultural Heritage, Luxembourg, Gamification, Place Names

Much as people learn to read a book, they must learn to read a landscape — its individual elements, its hidden connections, its historical context. Our project aims to make historic cultural landscapes — notably their structure, land use, relation of town and countryside, and key buildings — accessible to the public, while also showing the many types of data that can help inform our knowledge.
Gamification is a powerful tool for garnering interest in a subject previously perceived as boring. Our project harnesses this effect, presenting the results of our preceding landscape study in an interactive educational environment that rewards the user for engaging with the content.
In our app, users will be able to look out over the landscape surrounding Larochette, Luxembourg from atop a virtual reconstruction of its castle. Correctly answering questions about the meanings of the names of fields and other landscape elements slowly populates it with depictions of the historic landscape, revealing its intangible heritage in a visual, easily understandable way.
To our primary target user group of children and adolescents, the interface will be intuitive, and progress will be easy to measure; learning how place names connect to history is implicit, but not presented as the major goal. The app is designed to elicit positive experiences, notably inspiring interest (as described by Silvia, P., 2008), as a way to immerse young learners within a small piece of Luxembourg’s past and preserve and disseminate its intangible heritage (continuing the work of i-Treasures, Alivizatou-Barakou et. al., 2017) in particular, a key goal of UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage. The app therefore is a collaborative case study in digital history and the experience of it, one that is grounded within user experience design and informed by the historical and architectural expertise of the collaborators.

Relevance for the conference: We visualise a landscape reconstruction, focusing on making its intangible heritage in the form of microtoponyms visible to an average user.
Relevance for the session: We describe an app that overlays the historic cultural landscape over views of the present day.
Innovation: The app serves to pique the interest of children in a traditionally very dry subject, linguistics.
• Silvia, P. J. (2008). Interest—The Curious Emotion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(1), 57–60.
• Alivizatou-Barakou et. al. (2017). Intangible Cultural Heritage and New Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities for Cultural Preservation and Development. Mixed Reality and Gamification for Cultural Heritage, 129-158.