On this page we showcase some other work we have come across in the UK and abroad with similar aims or outcomes to the Digability Project.
Access to Heritage
THE ACCESS TO HERITAGE PROJECT WAS SET UP BY LIVERPOOL MENCAP IN 2005 TO FIND OUT WHAT COULD BE DONE TO MAKE INTERPRETATION AT HERITAGE VENUES ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES.IN 2008 THREE ARTISTS KATE ALLEN, JAMES LOFTUS, AND MICHAEL LOFTUS WERE COMMISSIONED TO WORK ON THE ACCESS TO HERITAGE PROJECT AT SPEKE HALL LIVERPOOL THIS BLOG DOCUMENTS THE PROJECT.
Check out their blog site to see the innovative ideas they came up with including a ‘ceiling box’.
“Dig Manchester is a cultural and social regeneration archaeological project, which has inspired thousands of people to get involved in archaeology and local heritage within their area.”. They have encouraged groups from a wide background to get involved, especially those from disadvantaged groups.
In summary “The community aspect of the project was fundamental to the running and outcome of the excavation. The diverse range of volunteers benefitted from the interaction on site as different age groups worked together and learnt from each other. The formation of local archaeological groups was one of the most successful outcomes from the excavations.” ( Dig website)
“The project will involve Sheffield’s Indian community and friends of the Indian community in exploring aspects of colonial history that link the physical and cultural heritage of the Peak District and Sheffield to their Indian heritage. It seeks to understand the Empire at home focussing on the cotton industry in the Peak District and the political, social andspiritual ideas of Edward Carpenter, the social activist and writer who lived near the Peak District, experimented with alternative life styles and had close connections with Sheffield. The groups’ discoveries will be shared with the wider community through a variety of mechanisms, especially guided walks and electronic media.” ( taken from the British Raj in the Peak District Website)
This is a really innovative project drawing on local resources and the experiences of the community. Keep a look out on their webpage for details of the work they have been doing.
Dario Scarpati – Italy
We met Dario at TAG. He is working with young people with mental health issues and learning disabilities in Italy. His project involves the learners that take part in planning what they are going to do in the classroom, doing physical fieldwork and then interpreting what they have done. He also works with a similar group in Jordon.
Like the work of Rachel Kiddey and Digability he has seen results in improving cognitive skills, manual skills, relationship and emotional development.
He showed some fabulous examples of models of roman villas where the group had first made each brick before making the villa thus gaining an understanding of process from the clay to the finished building. He completed a similar exercise when the group looked at Aqueducts.
He emphasised that having to take thing slowly and think carefully about his explanations made him a better archaeologist. One of the learners recognised Dario’s sunhat as a symbol of thinking and asked to borrow it when he needed to think. He also stressed the benefits of tasks such as pot washing which gave time for the learners to relax a little and talk to each other, thus developing social and relationship skills.
To follow his work go to his website
or to one of the following links all of which have details of his work ( I have asked Google to Translate)
Vivere – Archaeology and disability.
Measachair – What is important to Dario
Have a look at this webpage
( The text reads) The prehistoric times were long ago and what we are today is the result of a slow process.
Soak up for 10 minutes prehistory with this video, then, try to tighten a stone or a tree branch, or try to make a simple object with your hands and with a memory never forgotten.
The video was devised to help deaf people and those with limited vocabulary try to understand the exhibits at the Etruscan National Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome in 2012 rather than the more traditional detailed panels of text.
Rachael Kiddey has been working with the ‘Homeless’ in York and Bristol to capture the material culture of their lives. Her paper at TAG2012 showed the therapeutic nature of this work for all those involved as well as the evidence she had collected and the ethical implications she had to decide upon when collecting it.
British Archaeology report on project
University of York – about the project
HomelessHeritage – voice of the homeless
The films below show the results of the project.
Recently featured on Time Team Operation Nightingale is a pilot project “established by Sergeant Diarmaid Walshe of the 1st Battalion The Rifles and Richard Osgood, Senior Historic Advisor of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). The project aims to meet a demand amongst wounded soldiers for viable rehabilitation programmes, in this case utilising heritage primarily through learning field archaeology skills. The long-term aim is to develop this as a service over the entire country.” (www.wessexarch.co.uk)
The Defence Archaeology Group website details the projects they are undertaking as well as the work they did with Time Team. The Time Warriors video shows the some of the benefits and successes the project has had in helping to rehabilitate soldiers.
For a Shared Archaeology – Portugal
Desincoop is a Service producers’ cooperative based in Guimarães, north of Portugal. Between 2010 and 2012 using Grundtvig grant from the European Union they developed a project called ‘For a shared Archaeology” Here are links to some of the videos they produced about their project.