Everyone is an Archaeologist: Public Engagement in Cultural Heritage through Digital Media and Communication
Jay Mok University of Oxford
Who would have imagined: humble citizens within the global communities, rather than just the IT-experts, could now play an active role in manoeuvring myriads of online and digital platforms, such as social media, search engines, websites, digital database and archives? Rising level of digital literacy amongst the public is seen alongside the greater access to computer gadgets and various forms of digital software, sites, instruments, or toolkits. This is a phenomenon happening globally, including Hong Kong, a cosmopolitan metropolis.
Meanwhile, global inquisitiveness for cultural heritage, particularly in its identification, investigation, and preservation, are growing amongst different local, regional, national, and international communities.
In terms of the benefit of adopting digital technologies on cultural heritage, current research orients greatly on cases of digital technologies used by professional or privileged groups, such as archaeologists and historians, but rarely on how general citizens could potentially aid the identification, research and presentation of cultural heritage with the help of online archive, digital software, digital communication and media platforms of all sorts.
Therefore, through this presentation, it is my duty to inform Hong Kong and global citizens, that ‘you are an archaeologist, a historian, a researcher.’ Everyone has the potential to take initiative in unveiling more about their cultural history and heritage. I propose, with a multi-disciplinary perspective, a bottom-up model of community-led preservation of cultural heritage by evaluating the potentials of community archaeology through digital communication and online media platforms. This will include the standpoint argument of how public should not be viewed as passive consumer by memory institutions, and that there are, owing to the rapid development and popularization of digital technologies, resources currently available online and digitally for the public to take initiation in knowledge-acquisition over cultural heritage. Cases will be cited globally in this presentation with the intention to accentuate the Forum’s larger topic ‘global citizenship’.