Enacting and Safeguarding Digital Intangible Heritage with Emerging Technologies and Speculative Design

Muqeem Khan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This doctoral study aimed to not only summarise the literature on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), but also to speculate on how emerging technologies can facilitate the enactment, sustainability and transformation of ICH for future generations. Cultural heritage, both physical and intangible, and emerging interactive technologies, are now considered to be established academic domains, with dedicated journals, conferences and educational programs—along with more recent and still-emerging associated sub-domains such as Digital Intangible Heritage (DIH). Research shows that these fields have enjoyed growing recognition and accompanying institutionalisation over the past decade.
Nevertheless, despite the rapid growth of ICH and DIH, especially in recent years, it is difficult to ensure its sustainable preservation, especially in terms of DIH-related content. Hence, in the form of a literature review and speculative/critical design approach, along with the presentation of six of my published juried papers and two case studies, this study conducted an in-depth analysis of these emerging areas, resulting in some proposed arguments and frameworks, as well as two proposed installations/applications and a portal.

The key argument that arose from the study was that the intangible forms of heritage embodiments—with their interesting objective and subjective representations—will be beneficial for ICH-related sustainable documentation, transmission and transformation for future generations. Moreover, this study explored the innovative usage of emerging technologies to exemplify the idea that fictitious, subjective and playful enactment of the intangible cultural elements of a community will be an effective means of preserving and perpetuating the culture for future generations.

Two installations/applications were proposed in this study to safeguard ICH-related content for future generations: the Virtual Immersion with Pulsation (VIP) heritage installation and the “Mimicry Understanding and Safeguarding Environment” (MUSE) application. In addition, the crowdsourced “FolkAir” portal was proposed to preserve ICH in the digital realm and make it accessible to future generations.

Finally, the study also proposed an intervention and framework for DIH content selection and creation, as well as a new theoretical domain—Digital Emerging Communication (DEC)—which is compiled from various creative disciplines to assist content creators who would like to use emerging technologies to communicate, express and represent the past.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Gates-Stuart, Eleanor, Principal Supervisor
  • Lymn, Jessie, Co-Supervisor
  • Bowker, Sam, Advisor
Award date22 Mar 2022
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


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