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5.2.1 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); cultural mapping is about far more than the officially recognised assets and the work of Graham (2002) urges us to remember that the actual definitions of heritage vary dramatically worldwide, with some cultures emphasising the importance of intangible heritage but others embracing only buildings or natural heritage to reflect their national policy.

As outlined in table 2 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 7-examples of the practical application of understanding cultural assets from the findings in my research


Digital cultural asset mapping

Cognitive mapping

Digital storytelling


portfolio example


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


Hidden heritage: memories of an event happening at an asset


Sport, leisure

and open space

Presence of


How parks are


Football match



Film, broadcast and digital

Location of

current cinema screens

Importance of a

particular genre (“geek culture”)

Former cinema memories



Recognised busking stations

Role of participant as

skilled musician

Encounters with famous music



Literature and spoken word

Presence of book clubs

Use of bookshops

Participants writing poems

and stories


Visual arts

Presence of

artist studios


of creative skills

(not mentioned in

my research



Digital cultural asset mapping

Cognitive mapping

Digital storytelling

Digital portfolio


through freedom of expression (see map type


outputs- opportunities do exist to explore


Theatre and dance

Presence of opportunity to practice dance


Presence of former dance halls

Memories of dance halls


Fashion, design, craft and applied arts

Presence of formal learning opportunities for this category


Shops visited in this genre

Documenting the manner in which fashion items were purchased


Events and



spread of events

Attendance at


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). Through this summary and preceding chapters I have demonstrated 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.