Today was the first session we had our session in Het Utrechts Archief (HUA; the Utrecht Archives). We were welcomed heartily by Nettie Stoppelenburg, Annelot Vijn and Rick Companje, who introduced us to the Archive as an institution and as a community of practice.
Next up we delved into the history of the Neude, which has had several transformations over the centuries: from swamp to cattle market; tournament grounds to the place of a convent; from battleground to the site of the scaffold. Indeed, quite the eventful place, as Nettie narrated vividly.
We were then joined by Ioanna Lykourentzou, who introduced us to the art and science of storytelling for mobile applications. In small rotating groups we developed four historical short stories on the Neude, with a focus on engagement.
After gathering raw data during our visit to the Neude, we now needed to make sense of it, cross-disciplinary. To do this we organised a work-in-progress session, during which we shared what we found and how we could interpret and integrate the available data. We considered our first impressions, which area belongs to the Neude as a place, which function it serves and what a walking tour across this place could look like.
In the second part of this session we were joined by Irene Geurts and Heleen van Ravenswaaij to discuss co-design as a concept, how this principle was embedded in this course, and what our mutual expectations were as students and teachers.
During this first session we started with a very fundamental notion: observation. After all, the location we are trying to understand (the Neude) can be visited and described – as it has often been throughout history.
We were joined by Mary Bouquet, anthropologist and museologist, and Gery Nijenhuis, social geographer, to explore two different lenses to look at our world and capture it. Afterwards we immediately put this knowledge to use during a practical assignment in which we attempted to map the Neude. We walked across the square, trying to find salient features, capture them using smartphones and talked to locals. Gathering this information allowed us to start thinking about what defines this place.
The first iteration of the Living Pasts course is about to start, with 6 students from various disciplines: Art History/Museum Studies and Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science, Pharmacy, as well as 3 U-Talent students.
This blog aims to document our journey. We will always place a short summary of each session on the blog. Each student will also pick a session to cover in-depth, with a more reflective component. At the end of the course, we hope to present to your the final design products.