A collaborative team from Robert Gordon University (RGU) are creating a Digital Tapestry which will allow the public to explore the university’s Art & Heritage Collections extensive museum of historical and contemporary art from their own home.
The Digital Tapestry project is a collaboration between RGU’s Library Service, which the Art & Heritage Collections are part of, and the Mobile Art School which is a community outreach project aimed at engaging and connecting schools across Aberdeen and beyond.
It is part of an innovative approach to engagement created in response to running community outreach projects and a desire to engage with older people in care homes and young people in primary schools – two communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Using new technology to generate digital and tangible materials, the team will build a range of Digital Toolkits that will allow the audience to explore RGU’s Art & Heritage Collection online – this blended approach will be transferable and has no geographical limit.
The project is funded by the COVID-19 Museum Development Fund awarded by Museums Galleries Scotland which aims to build resilience and address challenges brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Margaret Buchan, Director of Library Services at RGU, said: “The Art & Heritage Collections are an extensive body of works drawn from the University’s history of teaching and a physical link with the community. Bringing this impressive museum online will greatly enhance our ability to connect with a more diverse community and lay sustainable foundations for a post-pandemic recovery. We are immensely proud to receive this generous grant from Museums Galleries Scotland and delighted that the Art & Heritage Collections will receive new engagement, enabled by our talented and skilled team of RGU colleagues.
“Coronavirus has highlighted the need for outreach programmes to be more adaptable in order to ensure sustainability during these difficult times and onwards to the future.
“Care homes have been, and still are, restricting external visitors or trips outside of the home, and while this is of course a hugely important protective measure, it has exacerbated feelings of loneliness and isolation. School children have experienced ongoing changes to their routine by moving between home-schooling and classroom learning and this disruption has hindered their opportunity to connect to other people.
“The sustainable Digital Tapestry project will, for the first time, allow RGU’s Art &Heritage Collections to deliver cultural heritage in the form of inter-generational engagement providing positive impacts on community and individual wellbeing. The resulting shared experience will serve diverse sections of the public and initially will target the young and the elderly who have suffered severely at the hand of Covid restrictions.”
Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said: “We are delighted to support the Digital Tapestry project at Robert Gordon University through the Recovery and Resilience Fund. The team have been innovative in their approach to engagement with plans to create digital and physical ways for audiences to explore the University’s collection from home. Through the recognition by the team of the barriers to visiting museums and the understanding of the isolating effect that Coronavirus has had for some people they have created a project that is responsive to the needs of their community.”