Dr Nicole Smith
- Lecturer in Museum Education (School of Education)
Lecturer in Museum Education
I am a digital humanities expert, specialising in the connections between people and place via the process of heritage and interrogating the potential of creative practice and digital technologies to this end.
I have a background working in the cultural heritage sector, as a curator and as a specialist in digital technology implementation for museums, libraries, archives and art galleries.
I work with locally focused arts and culture organisations, often adopting a participatory action research approach, and am interested in supporting the implementation of co-designed interventions for engaging with archaeology and heritage and in challenging recognition of impact in the arts and humanities.
I have several years’ experience in field archaeology focusing particularly on the relationship between archaeological research, creative practice, and public consumption of the past within the context of the Anthropocene. I have been involved in exhibition design, staging, and evaluation for cultural heritage since 2004.
Researcher unique identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7756-5347
Zoom Office: https://uofglasgow.zoom.us/my/drnicolesmith
See Research Interests below for more information.
My most recent work focuses on the development of participatory methodologies for community archaeology. I am currently working on an English Heritage funded project investigating community heritage recording of death landscapes, with a focus on place-making and storytelling. As part of this work, I am co-designing tools for use by community groups to record, analyse, and interpret archaeological material culture.
I am also working on a high impact project with the National Trust and Durham University to roll-out guidelines for embedding archaeological practice into interpretation and programming at outdoor heritage sites across England and Wales.
I'm currently developing an evaluation toolkit for the Dear Green Bothy project here at the University of Glasgow, examining how we can tell stories about the impact of arts programming on engaging with arts and humanities research and its potential impact on the climate debate.
I am working on the Digital Narratives in Archaeology Research (DiNAR) project, developing co-design approaches to university-museum partnership working, part of the Digital Cultural Heritage ArtsLab. We have made and evaluated two exhibits; an AR storytelling experience at York Castle Museum, and an interactive VR experience at Yorkshire Museum as part of the British Museum and York Museums Trust exhibition, Viking: Rediscover the Legend. I am working with partners from several cultural heritage organisations and higher education institutions, including Scottish GLAMS, to design and implement impact activities that use experimental, practice-led approaches from this research.
I am currently part of an AHRC network (led by Central St. Martin's) investigating the potential of creative practice for co-designed digitisation of museum held objects with Indigenous communities.
I am Evaluation Lead for the College of Arts Dear Green Bothy programme - https://deargreenbothy.gla.ac.uk/about/
Researcher unique identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7756-5347
I am a member of the UKRI Early Career Researcher Network and am a Peer Review College member for the UKRI AHRC.
2021-pres.: PI (alongside Prof Sarah Cook) - Evaluating the Dear Green Bothy
2017-pres.: Co-I - Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS)
Partnering with Archaeology Data Service, Historic England, Caring for God’s Acre, ChurchCare Church of England, Churches Conservation Trust, Council for British Archaeology, ALGAO UK (HER Committee), DCLabs University of York (Co-I Historic England £74,300; Co-I Heritage Protection Commissions Programme Historic England £1,500). Aims: Development of pilot national database and associated training materials for burial space recording. Co-design project with six case study community group graveyard and cemetery survey projects. Outputs: National database and training programme, publication strategy begins 2018.
2017-pres.: Co-I – Inhabit: Data, Immersion and Archaeological Practice
Design project, Digital Creativity Labs, University of York, POSTGLACIAL project (Star Carr), Goldsmiths University (Co-I awarded Creativity Research Priming, University of York, February 2018 £5,140). Aim: Investigating the potential of emerging forms of immersive technology and media to facilitate new interactions between archaeologists and spatial data. Outputs: Workshop in June 2018, three proof-of-concept VR experiences. Planned paper CHI 2019.
2017-pres.: Named postdoc - Within the Walls of York Gaol (DiNar sub-project)
Partnership project, Department of Archaeology and Digital Creativity Labs, University of York with York Castle Museum, York Museums Trust (Named postdoc awarded AHRC Immersive Experiences £59,000). Aim: Development of methodology for cultural heritage sector to commission digital interpretation. Outputs: Case study - Virtual reality use in re-development work for York Castle Museum.
2016-pres.: Named postdoc - Digital Narratives for Heritage (DiNar)
Networking project, developing projects with multiple partners (Co-I Culture and Communication Pump Priming Fund £2,477; Named postdoc Centre for Digital Heritage York Priming Fund £5,000). Aim: Examining potential of virtual and augmented narratives for cultural heritage. Outputs: Proof of concept projects with multiple partners, including York Museums Trust (Named postdoc AHRC Immersive Experiences £59,000); BBC, English Heritage, Cadw, Historic Environment Scotland (PI on AHRC Research Networking application in preparation), Uppsala University, digital SME Disir (ongoing collaboration), impact project with WEAVER Project (AHRC AH/N00356X/1), publications in preparation.
2016-pres.: Co-I – VikingVR (DiNar sub-project)
Partnership project, DCLabs University of York with Yorkshire Museum, York Museums Trust (Co-I EPRSC Impact Accelerator York £23,030). Aim: Proof-of-concept project for virtual reality to present archaeological data to public audience. Outputs: Case study - Development of virtual reality room and engagement programme within British Museum and York Museums Trust ‘Viking: Rediscover the Legend’ travelling exhibition (May 2017-November 2019), several publications in preparation.
2016-pres.: Co-I - Identifying and Communicating the ‘wows’ of archaeology outdoors
Aims: Identifying and communicating the ‘wows’ of archaeology outdoors for implementation of new methodology for interpretation at outdoor sites. Outputs: Durham University REF impact case study project, exhibition, evaluation programme, guidelines, white paper. Partners: National Trust, Council for British Archaeology (PI Durham University Research Impact Fund £7,500).
2012-pres.: Co-Director - Basing House Project
Partnering with Hampshire Cultural Trust and University of Southampton. Aim: Research project at Basing House and in village of Old Basing and environs, focus on Civil War legacy. Community archaeology and student training survey and excavation (Co-Director for four field seasons, Fieldwork Fund University of Southampton £13,500). Outputs: Several publications, several exhibitions, artists-in-residence schemes. Currently planning season five in 2018. 2007-pres.: Co-Director - Re-reading the British Memorial Project Several community group partners across UK (PI Southampton Digital Humanities award £500, funding from individual community projects, predominately HLF). Aim: Community archaeology project. Co-design research to develop a methodology for low-cost digital technology use for graveyard and cemetery recording. Outputs: Several publications, conference papers, invited seminars.
2013-pres.: Co-I – Computational Photography for Rock and Cave Art
Aim: Research to develop methods and methodology for cave and rock art recording, dissemination, and interpretation. Outputs: Several sub-projects, including Geodesic RTI Dome with BioArch University of York, Electronics and Computer Science University of Southampton (Co-I Creativity Pump Priming, University of York); Runic Network with Historic Environment Scotland, Uppsala University, University of Aarhus (Co-I Centre for Digital Heritage Priming Fund); Rock Art and Cave Art Research Network with Durham University, Altamira Museum, El Castillo Cave, Foz Côa, Creswell Crags Museum (Named researcher British Academy Small Research Fund); Computational Photography for First Nations Petroglyph Recording with Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia (Co-I World Universities Network). Publication in preparation.
I have recently returned from maternity leave. Adding Covid19 on top of that, there are several publications in preparation and in press:
Smith, N., in prep. Co-design of digital community archives: A case study of burial grounds in England and Wales, Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage
Pillatt, T., N. Smith, J. Richards, K. Green, G. Beale, in press. Discovering England’s Burial Spaces: A Historic England community archaeology project. H. Mytum, Mortality, special edition: Innovation and implementation: Critical reflections on new approaches to historic mortuary data collection, analysis and dissemination
Beale, G., N. Smith, J. Hook, G. Schofield, in prep. Digital creativity and the regional museum: Experimental collaboration at the convergence of immersive media and exhibition design, intended venue: Journal for Computer Applications in Archaeology
Smith, N., R. Skeates, M. Newman, in prep. How can archaeology be meaningfully represented through interpretation at outdoor heritage sites? intended venue: International Journal of Heritage Studies
Smith, N., G. Beale, R. Opitz, in press. The Inhabited Frame: Examining the archaeological image in the era of interactive media. A. Jones, P. Reilly, I. Dawson, L. Minkin (eds.), Diffracting Digital Images, Routledge
Smith, N., in press., Generating new directions for archaeology interpretation through place-making activities: An analysis of visitor-elicited photographs from two National Trust properties, Internet Archaeology
Current Research Projects
2021-pres. [Evaluation Lead] The Dear Green Bothy, College of Arts, University of Glasgow
2019-pres. [Named network participant] Concepts Have Teeth, And Teeth That Bite Through Time: digital imaging and Blackfoot material culture in UK museums, AHRC Network - Partners: Blackfoot Knowledge Holders, Central St Martins, National Museums Scotland; University Museums - University of Aberdeen; University of Lethbridge Art Gallery; University of Southampton; Winchester School of Art; University of Glasgow (PI Louisa Minkin, Central St. Martins)
2017-pres. [Named researcher] DiNAR: Within the Walls of York Gaol, AHRC Immersive Experiences (£75,000) – Partners: University of Glasgow, York Museums Trust
2017-pres. [PI] Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS), Historic England (£74,300) – Partners: Archaeology Data Service, Historic England, ChurchCare, Caring for God’s Acre, community groups
2016-pres. [PI] Identifying and Communicating the ‘wows’ of archaeology outdoors, Durham University Research Impact Fund (£7,500) – Partners: National Trust, Council for British Archaeology
Completed Research Projects
2019 [PI with Paul Gooding] Digital archives, collections & creativity research cluster, ArtsLab, University of Glasgow (£975)
2019 [Co-I with Michael Given] Framing heritage through play: Gameful design for place-making in urban environments, SGSAH AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellow (6-month fellowship) – Partners: Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh World Heritage
2018 [Co-I] Inhabit: Data, Immersion and Archaeological Practice, Creativity Research Priming, University of York, February 2018 (£5,140) – Partners: Digital Creativity Labs, POSTGLACIAL project (Star Carr), Goldsmiths
2016 [Co-I] Digital Narratives for Archaeological Data (DiNar), Culture and Communication Pump Priming Fund (£2,477) – Partners: York Museums Trust
2016 [Named researcher] Realising the Impact of VR for Heritage and Culture, EPRSC Impact Accelerator York (£23,030) – Partners: Yorkshire Museum, York Museums Trust
2016 [Co-I] Mixed reality and game dynamics for the interpretation of cultural heritage, Centre for Digital Heritage Priming Fund (£5,000) – Partners: Uppsala University
2016 [Co-I] Geodesic RTI Dome, Creativity Pump Priming, University of York (£5,000) – Partners: BioArch University of York, Electronics and Computer Science University of Southampton
2015-2017 [Co-I] Runic Network, Centre for Digital Heritage Priming Fund (£4,000) – Partners: Historic Environment Scotland (Maeshowe), Uppsala University, Moesgaard Museum, University of Aarhus
2014 [Named researcher] Rock Art and Cave Art Research Network, British Academy Small Research Fund [PI Alistair Pike, University of Southampton] (£10,000) – Partners: Durham University, Altamira Museum, El Castillo Cave, Foz Côa, Creswell Crags Museum
2014 [PI] Stories from Bones: Facilitating Public Interactions with Digitised Osteo-archaeology Datasets, Public Engagement Development Fund Award, Research and Development & Graduate Centre (£7,000) – Partners: Hampshire Cultural Trust, Bioengineering Research Group
2013-2014 [Co-I] 'Rock Art Land- and Sea-scapes': Computational Photography for First Nations Petroglyph Recording, World Universities Network (£10,000) – Partners: Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia
2012-2017 [PI] Basing House Research Project, University of Southampton (£4,500, £5,000, £4,000)
2012-2017 [PI] Re-reading the British Memorial Project, Southampton Digital Humanities award, University of Southampton (£500)
I am interested in supervising topics in the following:
- Community archives
- Anthropocene - Material culture and memory practices
- Participatory action research and practice research
- Working with communities – cultural heritage
- Visitor studies and evaluation
- Online collections management and public use / Digitisation of GLAM collections
- Creative practice and heritage
- Exhibitions design - co-design practices
- Cultural heritage and crowdsourcing
- Social media for cultural heritage
- Human computer interaction – in particular, design methods
- VR/AR for outdoor heritage sites
- Computational photography (inc. RTI, multi spectral imaging, etc.)
- Sensory experiences of heritage
- Digital narratives (non-linear storytelling)
- Heritage policy making and consultation/collaboration/co-design
I teach on MSc Museum Education, MSc Museum Education (Online), and International Masters (IntM) in Education, Museums and Heritage.