The 2015 Heritage Jam – which was kindly supported by the Department of Archaeology at the University of York - ran as both an online and in-person event, the former taking place from the 24th of August till the 24th of September whilst the in-person event ran from the 25th till the 26th of September. The event, whose purpose is to encourage participants to investigate, innovate and challenge heritage visualisation practices, was a roaring success once again, with seven and twelve individual entries. The diversity, quality and artistic merit in the entries exceeded all expectations and our brilliant judges – Carolyn Lloyd Brown, Sara Perry and Kate Pettitt – had an incredibly hard time deciding on the winners for the event.

Following two days of intense creation our in-person jammers finally downed their tools at 4pm on the 26th to present their creations. All four of the teams had done incredibly well and had produced four outstanding entries which demonstrated incredible technical aptitude, artistic merit and innovation but a winner had to be chosen, so after significant discussion it was decided that the in-person winner was to be the fabulous “Happy Gods” game created by Edwige Lelièvre, Sam Devlin, Juan Hiriart and Matthew Tyler-Jones. The game draws from the Yorkshire Museum’s Roman collection to explore the dynamic relationship between daily life, religion and the realm of the gods in Roman York. The player is challenged to appease the gods through offerings, but to decide what to offer they need to consult with the ivory bangle lady who will point the player to clues held within the Yorkshire Museum collections. Alongside the game the team pulled together a website so players could easily engage with the game from home. The judges were blown away by the scope and quality of the work and commended the team for the innovative way they had blended game mechanics across a stunning art-style to create a new and exciting way to engage with the collections.

It was impossible to decide a second-place between the remainder of the in-person entries and subsequently it was decided that all the teams would share the “highly commended” award. Team “Discovering Eboracum” created a fabulous app which leveraged GPS and iBeacon signals to layer multiple narratives between physical locations in York and artefacts found in the Yorkshire Museum. Our judging team commended the team on the incredible way which the team had blended and located stories and objects into the landscape, creating a tangible link between the Museum floor and the wider York geography. The team of Luke Botham and Mathew Fisher created an Augmented Reality app which drew data from the ADS Armana Archive, and using targets located in the real-world, augmented the 3D artefacts into that space. In the presentation Botham and Fisher commented that the targets could be placed onto the shirts of museum workers and armour augmented onto them, creating a “living experience” in a museum context. The judges complimented fantastic use of ADS data and encouraged the team to continue development in the future. The final highly commended project for the in-person jam was Jo Pugh’s QR code bookshelf, which linked the delicate and untouchable books held at the Yorkshire Museum to pages where the text could be found and a Soundcloud file of part of the book being read – thereby making the collection accessible and interactive even though the artefacts themselves remained too delicate for handling.

The online individual competition was won by Anthony Masinton for his spectacular entry “Cryptoporticus” – a game which explored the personal, evolving and often cryptic experience of exploring and coming to know museums and collections. The judges were left speechless by the emotive and clear rendering of such a complex topic. The highly commended entry in the online individual jam was awarded to Stuart Eve for his impressive implementation of “The Dead Man’s Nose” in the Moesgaard Musem and grounds. The outcome used geo-located smells to augment the olfactory past over the presented past. The judges were astounded by the technical capability demonstrated in the outcome as well as the innovative implementation of an often overlooked sense in heritage representation and engagement.

The online team competition was taken out by Hannah Sackett and Howard Williams for their work on the “Völund Stones: Weland the Smith” comic. The graphic interpretation and comic-book form facilitated novel layers of heritage interpretation and presentation, qualities which our judges felt embodied the spirit and goals of the Heritage Jam. The highly commended entry from this category was awarded to Matthew Tyler-Jones and Catriona Cooper’s extraordinary Twine game “Among the Ruins”, which our judges complimented for the way it carefully wove multilinear narratives in with reconstructed auralization techniques and visual elements for the house and gardens at Clandon.

Finally our judges were given the opportunity to each award a “judges choice” prize to the entry which captured their interest. The first of these awards was given to “Team Dialogue with a Fish” for their work on the short film “Dialogue with a Fish” which brilliantly remediated archaeological artefacts, using the video media form to great effect. Second of the prizes was awarded to Shawn Graham’s “Listening to Watling Street” – an ingenious intervention which took visual markers and generated music from them, allowing you to experience the spatial and temporal considerations of the Roman world in an entirely new way. The final of the “judges choice” prizes was awarded to Katherine Cook’s “Epi.Curio” which sought to capture the taste of the past by reimagining objects through recipes which are collated through the Epi.Curio site.

The Heritage Jam team would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, the Yorkshire Museum and it’s fabulous curator of archaeology Natalie McCaul, the ADS, our judges and additional partners who made the event not only possible but a thoroughly enjoyable, impactful and exciting experience. We look forward to updating the website over the next few days with the judge’s comments and the online jam entries and staying in touch regarding developments for the 2016 Heritage Jam. If you have any feedback that you would like to give please fill our feedback form or email us. 

AuthorIan Kirkpatrick