Memories were on special offer recently at the Beltane Summer Synergy Session. Creating more interactive opportunities with history has been a key theme of the local digital and social media projects that have formed and interlinked as a partnership around the social history of Wester Hailes. The Code Books, the Totem Pole, From There To Here’s blog and facebook page have all benefited from being interconnected through the partnership Our Place In Time. The new Digital Sentinel will similarly gain from originating from this local partnership’s framework and experience as it develops.
Through Ladders To The Clouds, local organisations and residents worked with the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt University to develop an interactive approach utilising in particular QR codes as a way of linking the past to the present through images that could be reached by scanning the QR codes. The images are photos depicting life in Wester Hailes over the years, but they also represent memories and stories. Some of the QR codes link to particular sites such as the From There To Here facebook page where people can add their own thoughts and memories about what they are seeing. Over the last couple of years this has built up a complex and rich picture of Wester Hailes past and present that often challenges the negative portrayals and on-going stigma associated with the area.
The university partners were asked to share information about this approach this week at an event organised by the Beltane Public Engagement Network and they invited Our Place In Time to join them at the event and be part of the presentation. With the theme of the session being a market place showcasing best practice, the group decided to offer an actual stall laden with memories to demonstrate how it all worked. Visitors to the stall were asked to pick an apple and scan a code that linked them to an image taken from the Sentinel community newspaper archive. So what was an apple became for example a bus! Other codes on the stall replicated the sites that are on the Totem Pole.
The stall generated a lot of interest from other projects wanting to know more about using social and digital media to generate engagement with the information they wanted to promote. The event also gave the group a great opportunity to network with a diverse range of organisations and projects from across the city and to learn from other examples of good practice.