Three years ago, we decided that we ~ AIRC, our friends, colleagues and future friends ~ needed a forum to discuss unbranded and neglected heritage sites. We needed an arena to give these sites presence and, quite simply, more than just acknowledgement—we wanted to give them conversation. And like that, we created the Unlisted Conference series, a panel of experts talking about current heritage programs, issues and projects. With rising technology and light-speed communication, Unlisted has become more than just a discussion- it is on-going interaction through various platforms, traditional and not so traditional.
Unlisted 2014 “Conversation for Conservation” brings together a forum of experts in an interactive, face-to-face and digital dialogue on cultural heritage preservation within the context of social and digital media. Our participants (past, present and future) are dynamic contributors in their fields and also very integral to a greater network that spans further than a dig site and a laptop.
Heritage professionals often lag behind in the dialogue that is taking place on these popular, ever-evolving platforms. Or if they do become involved, their use of social media is often not engaging, tending more to be formulaic whether due to lack of expertise or perception that “serious” organizations should not use such “casual” outlets for communication.
The AIRC has devoted a substantial part of its time to enrich multi-platform conversation– multi-platform meaning lecture hall, excavation site, conference room, social media, any where and everywhere. Given our collective expertise in the relevant areas (archaeology, heritage preservation, videography, social media), we chose to run this year’s Unlisted program as a “workshop” rather than conference with papers. Our objective is to foster real dialogue among stakeholders interested in grasping the opportunities provided by social media platforms, and to present concrete examples of what works and what doesn’t online, especially in video and photography. And we have to decided to up the ante, so to speak, by hosting the conversation at Shoot 4 Change (an organization very much involved in social issues captured visually), and as well as via Google + Hangout On Air.
Probably thanks to the Commodore 64, I’ve always had a passion for technology at our fingertips. I see it taking off for all forms of businesses, related advertisers, for journalism and fashion, art and culture. It has renewed an interest in storytelling with an increased attention to curated images, and it has fostered global connections through trending topics–all from our mobile devices. We’ve never had such resources to reach out and connect with people. Academia and cultural heritage NGOs lag behind, but why should they? They also have the opportunity to tap into these relatively free platforms and strike a chord with a global audience; why should developers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to have all of the fun and be the only ones to make a big impact?