I promised to write about the other projects that were created in the twenty eight hours (including sleeping) that we created Happy Gods. Of course we weren’t working solidly on Happy Gods for all that time. Though the Heritage Jam team kept us supplied with water, sugary snacks, and lunch, we all had to take a break or two to eat some proper food and to sleep, and I even took time out to contribute a little to one of the other projects.
That was Jo Pugh‘s coded bookshelf. We had our briefing from Natalie in the Yorkshire Museum’s reading room (it features in the short film of her above), surrounded by old books caged in secure bookshelves. More than one person initially thought that doing something with those would be but, but it was Jo who did something. We weren’t allowed at the books themselves, so he took a number of photos of ranges of books on the shelves, and then sourced their contents from the museum’s own limited digitization project and other sources. (He wasn’t very complimentary about Google’s own efforts in this regard, but did even find some workable versions of the contents there.) He then set about presenting some of those contents on visitor’s phones, through QR codes that pointed to a choice of text or recorded excepts, and for those who hate the faff of QR (like me), short web addresses to type in. I helped by reading a couple of those excepts for him.
Jo was the only in-person Jammer not to work in a team, which is fine of course, but I really enjoyed being thrown in with a bunch of talented people and having to get creative with them. And next year, I told Jo (somewhat arrogantly on reflection), he should do the same. It was fun working with him for the short time I did, and I’d definitely be in a team with him.
Luke Botham and Mathew Fisher used a technology I’d seen before – manipulating virtual 3D objects by pointing a web-cam at a black and white icon. But they drew their 3D objects from the ADS Armana Archive, and they also had an idea I hadn’t seen before – to make the icons wearble, so that visitors might virtually wear some of the finds!
And so to Stephen Elliot, Laura Valeria, and others used a piece of software that Stephen’s company is developing. This is essentially a content management system that creates mobile applications using GPS outdoors and BLE beacons indoors to provide location-based interpretation. The team wove what looked to be a set of intriguing stories connecting the museum collection with outdoors locations.
All were excellent projects, and the teams (and Jo) had worked really hard to pull it them all together in the limited time. Everyone deserved to win, and in fact the competition was so close that the judges couldn’t choose between the three other projects, and they ended up sharing the Highly Commended spot.
So how come we won? Well, I think it was a close run thing, and I’ve been waiting to see if the judges comments explain more on the Heritage Jam website. None of the in-person entries have been put up on the site at the time of writing, but a blog post does explain a little of the judge’s thinking:
The judges were blown away by the scope and quality of the work and commended the team for the innovative way they had blended game mechanics across a stunning art-style to create a new and exciting way to engage with the collections.