New Media as Cultural Heritage

The Critical Ethnography and Digital Heritage Initiative (CEDHI) is dedicated to designing innovative methods for safeguarding cultural heritage resources using digital technologies. With dedicated laboratory space with the School of Communication at SFU’s Burnaby campus, the CEDHI will respond to the urgent need for new strategies to document, preserve and control access to cultural heritage resources in art worlds and Indigenous communities. This university-based facility will be unique in Western Canada, with its emphasis on innovations in ethnographic research methodologies that integrate contemporary approaches to sound recording, visual imaging, and 3-D image modelling. Digital information management will remain a key issue in the 21st century. This research will develop protocols and content management systems so community-based groups, private sector entrepreneurs, and public sector organizations can undertake economically sustainable and culturally meaningful initiatives in the digital era.

Visit the CEDHI website by clicking the image below:

Critical Ethnography and Digital Heritage Initiative (CEDHI) - designing innovative methods for safeguarding cultural heritage resources using digital technologies.

Critical Ethnography and Digital Heritage Initiative (CEDHI) – designing innovative methods for safeguarding cultural heritage resources using digital technologies.

Listening with Technology

This research program investigates strategies for the preservation of documentation about environmental sound focusing on a case study of the World Soundscape Project (WSP). Research activities include analysis of the existing WSP collection, digitization of archival materials, interviews with past and current members of the WSP team, and the creation of the third series of field recordings of the Vancouver soundscape.

Complementary case study research examining the existing archive of the World Soundscape Project (WSP) offers insight into the affordances and limitations involved in transforming media archives from one format to another specifically relating to a collection of audio material that spans four decades.

Studio Stories

Nine artists working in Vancouver’s East Side talk about advantages and disadvantages, problems and opportunities of owning and renting work space in Vancouver. Research and video production for this project was conducted by Dr. Jan Marontate and Laurynas Navidauskas through the Visual Studies Lab in the School of Communication as Simon Fraser.

Below, Peter Pierobon, woodworker, furniture maker, and sculptor, discusses his work space on East Hastings Street:

To view more Studio Stories interviews with Elizabeth Barnes, Shannon Harvey, Douglas Kennedy, Maureen Sugrue, Richard Tetreau, Jessie Turner, Ban Wei, and Jane Wolsak, visit the Visual Studies Lab YouTube Channel by clicking on the icon:

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Ideas in Residence/Creative Dislocation


Ideas in Residence

A sample of artist Gair Dunlop’s imaging of the Annapolis Valley

Digital media offer new possibilities for rethinking the “techno-cultural” dimensions of the natural world.  Ideas in Residence/Creative Dislocations:  sense of place and digital connections in the rural landscape was an initiative devoted to investigating how digital technologies are being used (and can be used) to explore human engagement with the natural environment.   The initial idea was to focus on the interface of human and natural, symbolic and material practices in the Bay of Fundy ecosystem.  The focus was adjusted to include research that concerns research in other geographic areas too.

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The goal of the project and the research process was to arrive at new insights into the dynamic relationships between cultural practices and the natural environment, in particular in connection with new ways of engaging with the world offered by digital imaging techniques. Identity and lived experience in rural communities are framed in a strong sense of attachment to the natural environment. Acadia University is a leader in the use of computers but very much engaged by the rural setting culturally and scientifically.  During the summer and fall of 2003, in the context of this project an interdisciplinary group of researchers worked together to investigate specific ways digital visual and audio imaging can be used and are being used to enhance the contemporary lived experience and to gain further knowledge of the natural world.


Visual Studies Lab

The Visual Studies Lab in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University is home to research projects that investigate media and cultural expressions with a focus on the work of creative practitioners across a wide range of fields.

Headed by Dr. Jan Marontate, the VSL contributes to innovative scholarly research related to artistic practice, archival preservation, ‘time-based’ and ephemeral media, conservation protocols, and collaborative research methodologies.

Current and former members of the Visual Studies Lab include: Alysha Bains, Nathan Clarkson, Maggie Chao, Matt Hayes, Laurynas Navidauskas, and Megan Robertson.


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