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5.2 Redefining and refining the digital cultural asset mapping categories using multi- modal methods

The cultural mapping process adopted for this research goes beyond just the priority heritage assets identified in the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy (Renfrewshire Council, 2014a); my research has revealed points of development for digital cultural asset mapping in this respect, from initial definitions used in section 2.4.1 which are based on the cultural categories used by cultural organisations, towards making better use of the discursive data gained in chapter 4.


As outlined in table 3 it is useful to note that different strategic partners will have varying inclusions or exclusions to cultural activity, and some categories may need some interpretation (for example architecture and heritage may come within a broader definition of environment, or a digital category may not offer subcategories which make specific skills visible such as animation). It is therefore essential to define the categories which are used at the commencement of a research project, be clear on what is included in each category, and use the techniques discussed here to showcase each asset and mark it appropriately.


Through using a multi-modal approach to cultural asset mapping one can begin discussion on both the presence of assets within an area, and then the layers of meaning behind each asset and each category of asset, opening a dialogue on the nature of these assets for both the area which is the subject of the research and the wider meaning of each category in research. This is demonstrated in the specific illustrations below, using one example for each category taken from my research outputs to show how hidden cultural heritage stories (introduced in the hidden heritage typology in table one) are revealed.


Table 8-examples of the practical application of understanding cultural assets from the findings in my research


Category

Digital cultural

asset mapping

Cognitive

mapping

Digital

storytelling

Community

Location of community centres

Insight into which community

assets are used

Importance of community clubs for social life

History, heritage and architecture

Distribution of statutorily protected assets

Most “cherished” buildings and assets (through frequency of

appearance)

Hidden heritage: memories of an event happening at an asset

Sport, leisure

and open space

Presence of

parks

How parks are

used

Football match

stories

Film, broadcast and digital

Location of

current cinema screens

Importance of a

particular genre (“geek culture”)

Former cinema memories

Music

Recognised busking stations

Role of participant as

skilled musician

Encounters with famous music

artists

Literature and spoken word

Presence of book clubs

Use of bookshops

Participants

writing poems and stories

Category

Digital cultural

asset mapping

Cognitive

mapping

Digital

storytelling

Visual arts

Presence of artist studios

Demonstration of creative skills through freedom of expression (see map type

analysis)

(not mentioned in my research outputs- opportunities do exist to explore

this)

Theatre and dance

Presence of opportunity to practice dance

genres

Presence of former dance halls

Memories of dance halls

Fashion, design, craft and applied arts

Presence of formal learning opportunities for this category genre

Shops visited in this genre

Documenting the manner in which fashion items were purchased

Events and festivals

Geographical spread of events

Attendance at events

Thoughts on Paisley 2021


My research demonstrates that the categories identified in section 2.4.1 on digital cultural mapping should remain as categories for cultural assets, as I successfully addressed the research objectives in section 1.2 through creating the digital cultural asset map to reveal and document cultural heritage, and then exploring it through creative methods (the multi-modal approach), demonstrating that there is potential to adapt cultural categories for thematic explorations.


The findings from using multi-modal approaches offer additional insights into cultural asset trends, suggesting that if one is aiming to explore a more inclusive exploration of the cultural landscape of an area, widening the scope for cultural discussion beyond creative disciplines (such as film or theatre) and specific cultural occurrences (events and festivals) to embrace a discussion of everyday activities, as this shows the depth of cultural life for each asset across time and its integration with different strands of civic life. The concept of community

heritage must also be embraced within cultural mapping, as without this it risks perpetuation of AHD:

“Although heritage is something that is done at places, these places become places of heritage because of the events of meaning making and remembering that occur at them, and because they lend a sense of occasion and reality to the activities occurring at them” .(Smith, 2011, p.23)

This has implications for my study in that venues which the participants recognised as important within their mapping studies (such as the Blend café) fit the definition of what Smith (2011) sees as constituting heritage, whereas if this café was not in a listed building it would not fit in with a more traditional definition of heritage under AHD, and it may be missed in a scoping exercise.