Co-creation: Helpful or hinderance?

Hello again world,

Well this week i have focused my attention to the reading by Burgess, Kalebe and McWilliam to discuss ‘Mediatisation and Institutions of Public Memory: Digital Storytelling…’  This one really got me thinking about the positive side of digitisation and the advantages this gives to historians.  We have been dealing with some very skeptical views in the past few weeks about it and i found it refreshing to hear some positive views.

The first thing that stood out was the point made about how communities have come to expect some for of ‘interaction’ with content available.  I absolutely agree.  Even i expect it.  On a kind of side tangent, i have a giant wasp phobia and have been plagued by a wasp nest on my fence at home.  I jumped straight onto Google and expected to find a detailed explanation of why they chose my fence, how i can get rid of them, how long their life cycle is, how big the nest could grow to…you get the point right?  I wanted to know everything in that moment, from the history of their species, to a detailed diagram of their anatomy.  Or maybe just a diagram that illustrates my feelings, like this:


Back to the point, this is how many members of our modern world feel about everything.  We want details, interactive media, we want multiple sources and we want it to look pretty.  This is the effect digitisation of information has on the world.  People expect it.  So, if we are to preserve history and keep it active, we must jump on board.

Secondly, i love the idea of the ‘co-creative’ process of digital storytelling. The example they gave about the “Apology” speech from Australian government to the people of Australia was really good.  It was great hearing perspectives from different people, both positive and negative.  So this inspired me to have a browse around the internet to find something similar, and i found this awesome website (see link below)

This is a website for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and it is great!  They have used the ‘co-creative’ method to create a well rounded picture of the effects the holocaust had on a variety of people, including workers, teachers, policemen, teenagers, and neighbours.  What stands out most for me is how much more powerful and meaningful the online exhibition becomes when it attempts to incorporate multiple perspectives and gives the community a voice.  I believe it even becomes more accessible – meaning, people of all ages can find something that they can relate to and is more engaging.  As an aspiring teacher of history, this kind of thing would go really well with school aged children getting interested and involved in history.

It does warn at the end of the reading how this process of co-creation has not established any protocols about how to ‘adequately represent and account for the multiple voices…who contribute’.  However, i believe we would be foolish, as historians, not to utilise this method of co-creation to develop more meaningful and fair representation of history for the future.

2 thoughts on “Co-creation: Helpful or hinderance?

  1. I am unsure that I agree that we should make things interactive and fun when it comes to history simply because that is what people expect in other parts of their life – is nothing sacred?! Surely some parts of history should be respected rather than played with?

    • Fair comment. I guess it depends on who your intended audience is. If you are a public historian whose aim is to produce history reflective of the community, then i believe it should be interactive. However, if your audience is for the educated historians of the world, and your aim is to dispute or present a new point of a past event, then perhaps interactive, fun methods are not suitable. I guess I’m looking at it from a more public historian perspective rather than the latter.

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