The MEMories and EXperiences project MEMEX is hoping to welcome new users onto its community heritage platform. By adopting an app-based approach, MEMEX is a great way for underrepresented people and communities to share their heritage, with the help of technology.
By helping people share their narratives, MEMEX promotes social cohesion in a collaborative, heritage-driven way. It provides access and interaction with cultural heritage – both tangible and intangible. In this way, it encourages meetings and interactions between communities that might be at risk of social exclusion.
While the MEMEX app is now still a prototype under development, once finished it should work on your phone as it is specifically designed for non-expert users. For now, only users of the specifically targeted communities in Paris, Lisbon, and Barcelona can create stories, but in future, anyone from any community can create and visualise stories on the app. These can be personal memories that are linked to a physical location. Stories about an important event, for example, can be digitally placed onto the app and linked to the exact place where they happened. Similarly, users can link a story to a place or an object.
By using Augmented Reality (AR) as a basis for the smartphone app, any user can digitally add their memories to whatever they see in their neighbourhood. Anyone with an app can look through AR and add images, videos, audio recordings, or just text to the heritage object that they’re looking at.
Underrepresented communities & people
A vital part of the MEMEX project is the inclusion of people that are underrepresented in the history of their country, region or city. The app allows them to act as curators of their local history and heritage. Especially for those with very limited access and influence to institutionalised narratives, such as museums, MEMEX could prove to be an interesting solution. By linking the stories of underrepresented communities to pre-existent European cultural heritage, the project highlights the diversity of Europe’s history and allows these communities to challenge or contribute to existing narratives.
The communities and people involved will be able to connect their experiences and stories through a so-called “Knowledge Graph”. This network is built upon algorithms and AI that connect other cultural heritage assets and experiences in the area. Therefore, the Knowledge Graph is just a visualisation of the network between all the memory and cultural heritage in an area.
Gateway to inclusivity
Basically, MEMEX provides people with tools to shape and curate the heritage culture of their community. It offers them a platform to generate a personal and communal network of their memories, rather than relying on the traditional forms of heritage such as museums, that have yet to become (more) inclusive.
The communities which MEMEX hopes to help the most are the people who are usually underrepresented or have little opportunity to record their histories. Often these marginalised communities have had their heritage and experiences fragmented. If the barriers to shaping and curating heritage are too big, then it risks being exclusive.
However, through this easy-to-use app, heritage can become diverse and inclusive. By bringing together shared memories the app will allow people to establish the heritage of their community and highlight how everyone is interlinked. Its ease of use means that MEMEX can become a great tool for giving a voice to communities who are underrepresented in traditional heritage spaces, such as museums.
Currently, MEMEX is running pilot projects in three European places:
- Barcelona – Spain (Migrant women and gender perspective)
- Paris – France (District XIX: Digital storytelling with inhabitants of a priority neighbourhood)
- Lisbon – Portugal (Enhanced readings of shared heritage through emancipated eyes)
If you’re interested in the possibility of joining the MEMEX project or want to find out more about how it could be useful to your community, go to memexproject.eu.