Poster Presentation: Digitally Constructive? Creating Cultural Heritage Webpages for Zanzibar

Laura Basell (Contributor), Dylan McGlynn (Presenter), Abdallah Ali Khamis (Contributor)

Activity: Other activity typesOther

Description

Authors: McGlynn, D., Ali, A., Basell, L.S.

Abstract: This poster focusses on the process of building a website to showcase Zanzibar’s diverse and internationally important cultural heritage. The research is ongoing and is being conducted as an alternative format undergraduate dissertation by McGlynn, in close collaboration with the Department of Antiquities in Zanzibar. Initially conceived as a means of supplementing extant web information on the recently constructed Zanzibar Heritage Foundation (ZAHEFO) web page, the aim was to increase accessibility and awareness of cultural heritage, in the face of rapid infrastructural development and as a means of promoting tourism. Web page construction and discussions regarding content were initiated remotely, but were followed up by site visits, face to face collaboration and archaeological site visits.

By capitalising on social media and digital platforms, and applying novel data capture methodologies, it has become possible to disseminate cultural heritage to audiences across the globe, and for cultural heritage to be viewed from new perspectives. On Zanzibar tourism plays an important economic role, so web page construction was considered as a great opportunity to promote remote engagement with heritage. It is anticipated that web page content might draw in new audiences to sites both virtually and on the ground, potentially with direct benefits through tourist income generation. This poster explores the website building process and the questions this activity has raised relating to:
•accessibility of equipment, software, and ongoing website maintenance costs,
•potential logistical and archaeological site management problems
•political sensitivities relating to site choice / prioritisation
•authorship and long-term information maintenance.
While the poster focuses on Zanzibar, the research is relevant more broadly, particularly in African and other contexts where there are fewer financial resources to support heritage-focussed endeavours.
Period24 Nov 2018
Event titleAfrican Archaeology Research Day 2018
Event typeConference
LocationCambridge, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational