Last year I was very fortunate to be invited to The National Archives (TNA) in Kew to feature in their Archives Inspire video (above), filmed by the wonderful Magneto Films.
It was a privilege to be filmed alongside the other cast who are all brilliant professionals and it was lovely to revisit TNA after spending a year as one of their Transforming Archives Trainee‘s. The Magneto team were very professional, especially as it was my 1st attempt at being in front of a rather large camera!
Archives Inspire is a four year campaign looking at new ways audiences can experience and use archives- have a look at TNA’s Chief Executive Jeff James’ blog post and the Archives Inspire pages on TNA’s website for more.
Digital is an interesting challenge for the archives sector, where records being produced are increasingly in the digital format (think from large organisation’s records to personal photographs). Over the past decade Archivists have been thinking about how to preserve digital media for accountability, evidential, cultural and research purposes. At present, digital is now becoming central to the archival profession as we hope to preserve these records and facilitate access.
I am particularly interested in the creative uses of archives, especially heritage engagement using 3D models, websites, online exhibitions and videogames. I was very honoured to be able to showcase some of my 3D work in TNA’s Archives Inspire video- you can see my North Bar (Beverley) model in the video showcased using the software Blender 3D. Very grateful that something I’ve been doing for over 5 years is being featured in such an important video.
Cornwall is my 2nd home from home and in between archive visits and surfing last summer I visited the Chapel of St Michael, at Roche Rock, located near Bodmin and St Austell. Alongside Tintagel and St Michael’s Mount, the chapel is now on my list of top favourite locations.
The romantic ruin of St Michael’s Chapel is perched on top of the rock and there have been many speculations as to why the chapel was built in its high-up location, including a lookout point, a place of worship for pilgrims travelling south and a hermitage.
The medieval chapel, constucted of granite, was licensed in 1409 and appears built into the schorl rock formation consisting of a 3-tiered structure with the flooring removed. It is a listed building, see Historic England’s listing.
Model created in Blender (personal project) using polygon modelling and my own photographs as reference.
After months of browsing other artist’s portfolios with admiration I have finally created my own ArtStation account as a platform to showcase my heritage visualisations. Since ArtStation now facilitates the embedding of 3D models from SketchFab I decided to give it a try: https://www.artstation.com/artist/archivisth 🙂
Beverley Gate has a fascinating story and is one of high historical significance. On the 23rd April 1642, the gate was the location where Hull’s Governor, John Hotham, and his son (also named John Hotham) refused Charles I entry into the city- as a result being one of the catalystic moments of the English Civil War (and the subsequent executions of the Hotham father and son). It is a well-known story and gives the site national importance.
Using Blender, my latest visualisation of Beverley Gate will be based on both artist impressions, archival and secondary source material, held at the Hull History Centre, Hull Museums and the East Riding Archives. I’m aiming to digitally model the gate as it was in 1642- this means it will be a complete architectural structure and not the romanticised version which you can see in George Arnald’s lovely painting “Charles I Demanding Entrance at the Beverley Gate, Hull“, c1819- though I’d love to model this version too!
So far I have modelled the main gate structure, drawbridge and surrounding landscape. The next step will be texturing, finishing touches and hopefully being able to upload the model onto my Sketchfab account- more posts to follow!
My survey is about the use of computer games for exploring historical architecture. My current project is the visualisation of St Mary’s Abbey in York (UK) before the Dissolution of the Monasteries and I hope to eventually make an application that allows the user to “walk around” the grounds to get a sense of what St Mary’s was like pre-1539. I also hope to add interactive elements and a narrative.
Your answers to my survey are valuable to aiding the development of the game side of my project and I appreciate answers from people who have varied opinions on gaming.
If you have a spare 10 minutes (maybe to procrastinate?) please fill out my survey for my dissertation. It’s about gaming technologies for architectural heritage education, particularly in the experience of “place”. It will help me in designing my York St Mary’s Abbey game.
I would be grateful if you could fill it out, no gaming or heritage experience necessary, thanks in advance!
(above, St Mary’s Abbey ruins, York. Photo author’s own)
My MSc dissertation for my Digital Heritage degree is due in just over a year, a huge benefit to me as a part-time PG student, which means I have plenty of time (hopefully!) to actually model what I plan to discuss in the main paper.
Through my dissertation, I hope to explore the benefits and limitations of using gaming technologies for educating and experiencing the pre-dissolution architecture of St Mary’s Abbey in the Museum Gardens, York (see my above photo). Gaming and architecture are my specialist topics so why not bring them together for my dissertation!
I chose St Mary’s Abbey as it’s one of my personal favourite locations in York, it’s very picturesque as it’s now in ruins, yet it’s history is overshadowed by other monumental heritage sites in York, such as the Minster. It was one of the richest Benedictine abbeys in England at it’s height in the 13th and 14th centuries, and was thought to be entirely constructed in the 13th century gothic style. To be able to create an application to allow other people to interact with and visualise the reconstructed ruins is a much needed-app for the heritage of York as a lot of museums are turning to digital methods of public engagement.
To coincide with the discussion in the paper, I am creating a 3D model of the Gothic (not Romanesque) St Mary’s Abbey pre-1539 to demonstrate some of the benefits and limitations in the creation stage, and if I finish it, to pilot it out with some users as part of a heritage gaming application. Ideally I would like it to be interactive, and perhaps to contain a narrative that leads to an end-game goal. I will create the abbey in Blender 3D then import the model into Unity gaming software.
I have just worked for three hours in Blender 3d software and this is what I have at the moment, still in the extreme basic polygon meshing and manipulating stage but it’s all to scale and based on a reference image of an architectural plan of the abbey (plan source Mee, F and Wilson, B (2009) “St Mary’s Abbey and the King’s Manor, York: The Pictorial Evidence”). I still have to mesh the other buildings in the abbey complex, but here’s a couple of screenshots of my progress so far:
I intend to post a lot more developments on this dissertation project, so watch this space!