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Scottish History Showcased at New Digital Heritage Festival

Ross Kelly

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DigiFest Special Effects

The Engine Shed will host a programme highlighting the use of ground-breaking technology to preserve and explore Scotland’s colourful history.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has unveiled a programme for Scotland’s first digital heritage festival, scheduled to take place in October.

The festival will be held at The Engine Shed, Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre in Stirling, and will showcase Scotland as a world-leading innovator in the heritage sector as well as highlighting the use of technology to preserve and explore the nation’s vibrant history.

Aimed at schools, professionals, families and young people, it will feature a range of free events and activities, allowing visitors to explore the latest technologies in areas such as 3D modelling and printing, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), gaming, animation, robotics and coding.

Showcasing Innovation

DigiFest will offer visitors a range of activities, including demos of the critically acclaimed action-adventure game, Assassin’s Creed, as well as the chance to learn about the technologies used by the game’s historical researcher. It will also feature races with the educational robot, Sphero SPRK, a toy that teaches children to code.

Masterclasses on the history of animation, from Stop Motion to the latest CGI, will be available to visitors with leading animation and visual effects company, Tippett Studio, hosting.

DigiFest Scottish History Heritage

In addition to the broad range of workshops and activities, DigiFest will see the creation of a ‘Digital Village’ outside the Engine Shed. The village will include an immersive reality walk-in dome, pioneered by digital content producer Soluis, and will facilitate highly immersive VR experiences; enveloping the users’ full field of vision and utilising surround sound.

The Engine Shed, which includes a large-scale interactive map, allows visitors to explore more than 2,000 years of Scotland’s history through the power of augmented reality and aims to engage a new generation of history lovers.

Dorothy Hoskins, technical outreach and education manager at the Engine Shed, said: “We’re very excited to be launching our first ever DigiFest, which aims to encourage the people of Scotland and beyond to embrace this opportunity to explore the historic environment in new and innovative ways, and look forward to welcoming some of the top pioneers in the fields of technology and heritage to share their knowledge and insight.”

DigiDoc Festival

The festival will also incorporate a two-day international conference, DigiDoc, as well as the DigiDoc Research and Innovation Day.

These events will showcase groundbreaking technology, featuring a speaker line-up of industry figures from organisations such as Google, the Smithsonian Institution and games developer, Ubisoft.

Hoskins added: “While advances in technology are allowing us to conserve, monitor and care for our historic sites and buildings with ever-increasing efficiency and effectiveness, these same innovations are also making Scotland’s heritage more accessible than ever.”

“New online platforms and developments in digital technologies are enabling people to inspect historic sites and artefacts from anywhere in the world,” she said. “While a combination of digital documentation and animation allows for accurate recreation of historic environments which can be explored through gaming.

“Virtual reality can further bring such environments to life, creating immersive and illuminating experiences that transport the user into the past.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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