“There is always much talk within the academy of interdisciplinary research and teaching. Achieving this, however, is tricky, as staying within the comfort of one’s own discipline is often much easier. The opportunity, therefore, to launch a collaboration between History and Computer Science was one that I welcomed wholeheartedly… Overall, this was a fantastic collaboration that I was pleased to be a part of.” Dr. Tim Grady, Reader in History and Archaeology, University of Chester.
Digital technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR) and serious games have great potential for enhancing both academic research and public engagement with heritage sites and historical stories. Effective realisation of this potential requires collaboration across organisational and disciplinary boundaries, which can be challenging, but also offers many positive side-effects, beyond the research outputs themselves. I will describe work on digital heritage which has so far involved collaboration at various levels across three faculties. Outputs have ranged from a joint module for Level 5 experiential learning, to academic conference papers and publications, and work is currently in progress on projects with potential to generate useful impact for the forthcoming REF.
As well as describing examples of collaborative work, I will look at reasons why staying within one’s discipline sometimes is easier, at least in the short term, as well as examining ways of overcoming or mitigating these problems. These include the Design Sprint methodology, which was originally developed for software development, and may also have potential in other fields where collaborative work is a requirement.