Digitising Ireland’s Sites of Memory

Chris Hamill

Our built heritage is crucial, not only linking us to the past, but to fundamental questions of who we are, where we come from, and why we give meaning to various events and places. Critically, it is important to recognise that these heritages do not always evoke pleasant or comfortable memories, and indeed are often central to ongoing renegotiation or even conflict in the present.

It is regrettably the case that, in recent Irish history, those with power over these sites frequently seek to side-step potential altercation through dereliction, demolition or aggressive redevelopment. In all of these cases, the results are similar; the wider public is denied access to the physical fabric of these sites and the links they offer to (often painful) memory.

With the recent proliferation of high-fidelity digital recording techniques, there is then an opportunity to create an indelible digital record of these sites, even in cases where the physical remains have been demolished or significantly altered. This project seeks to use 3D data capture and digital reconstruction to establish techniques for situating survivor testimony in oral history work, and for the construction of publicly accessible digital archives to aid engagement with difficult heritages in situations where the original site is no longer accessible.

A digital resource communicating the work of Architecture at Queen's University Belfast