In the hands of the user: changing patterns of participation and learning through the digital collections of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland

Award Holder

Dr Sian Bayne, Edinburgh University

Partner Organisation

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)

Doctoral Student

Michela Clari

Within a context of recent and rapid alteration in authorship and participation practices on the internet, the project will investigate how new online media environments are changing the way users engage with, and learn from, the collections of cultural institutions. Basing the study on the online education and outreach activities of RCAHMS, the project will explore the role of users in contributing to the public online presence of cultural institutions, the ways in which users might contribute to the ‘making’ and ‘unmaking’ of public archives, and the ways in which a global public learns and constructs meaning from institutions’ digital collections. The project will also investigate how new online media environments challenge and might change the curatorial and outreach responsibilities of museums, galleries and archives, with a view to making recommendations to inform future policy and practice in RCAHMS.

Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.