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3.2.3 Digital Cultural Asset Mapping Engagement

My consultation activity (as described in section resulted in a spike of viewings of the digital cultural asset map (938) but did not produce many responses to input on the map, no new assets were able to be added. Figure 5, below, shows the viewings of the map:

Figure 5- Viewings of digital cultural asset map


Source: Screenshot from own research data (Esri, 2017)

In total the map has had 1485 views from January 1 2017 to January 1 2018. In the case of my research, caution must be exercised in order not to assume that this is fully representative of the level of community interest, people may well have been interested in the mapping (as demonstrated in my digital storytelling and cognitive mapping sessions) but may not have seen the press release, or feel it is in a form which is too official or uninviting for them to respond. Discounting the process would be erroneous however, it was a valuable exercise as a researcher to develop linkages with media partners. The more consultative aspects of the digital cultural asset mapping process highlight the importance of participatory evaluation and the value of methods which are audience appropriate (Dobbs and Moore, 2002).

The mapping process revealed the extent of research required to assess the presence of cultural assets, structured online research together with research on the ground should thus be

an essential part of cultural asset mapping, as without these dual methods an initial map for consultation may miss out smaller events and activities which are essential to a community but not as well publicised online.

Press releases issued by a governing body may be missed except by those already with an interest in the specialist area and thus may fall more within the scope of informing rather than consulting (PAS, 2014). If not well worded and explained, press releases alone may not be taken up by local press, and without parallel publicity and appropriate targeting of intended users may not gain additional information and would continue to be a top down, researcher derived map. The process of practice-based digital cultural asset mapping research was predominantly a consultative and researcher-led process as opposed to a wholly community- led initiative. As no map existed at the outset of the research, and cultural mapping was a new process within the area, it was necessary to produce a test map to work from and develop, leading up to the input of community defined assets. Whilst the map was designed to inform part of the local authority bid for Paisley 2021, the audiences for the mapping are not just official as anyone can access the map. In the case of this research, the production of a Paisley digital cultural asset map sits within levels 3-4 of the Arnstein (1969) ladder, and in the PAS (2014) model this is placed within the consultation approach. As a method of revealing hidden cultural heritage it did not succeed, but although the approach was less participatory than I originally planned, it was necessary to act as a responsible researcher and clearly state the aim of the mapping; it goes beyond informing as there were opportunities for community input into the map, but falls short of partnership as there was no expectation of the community managing the map or taking control of the assets themselves on completion of the research, as explained in the principles behind the PAS SP=EED toolkit:

“There will never be a single formula for achieving effective engagement.. The level and type of engagement should be designed on a case-by- case basis ideally in collaboration with those who will be consulted. In some cases, the provision of basic information may suffice; in others, members of the public will play a key role in the design process of

new proposals” (PAS, 2014, p.3)