Representing Re-Formation: Using mobile AR to take a sixteenth-century priory to the schoolyard

Lightning Talk
Ross Parry, University of Leicester, UK

Led by the University Leicester, the ‘Representing Re-Formation’ project has been using space science to unravel a mid-Tudor art history mystery. At the centre of the investigation has been the analysis of a series of great Renaissance tombs of the Howard Dukes of Norfolk at Framlingham and Thetford (in the east of England), built in the sixteenth-century in phases either side of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the monasteries.
Imagining how these tombs once were intended to look (before mid-Tudor politics re-formed them), has involved three-dimensional scanning, virtual disassembly and reconstruction, as well as three-dimensional printing of the tombs and their accompanying finds and fragments. An exhibition (‘Thetford’s Lost Tudor Sculptures’) based on the project’s findings ran from 2013-2014 at The Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life, a mobile app was launched and education resources for Schools published.
This Lightning Talk will discuss these design challenges and, specifically, the crucial role that digital media has played within the public-facing outputs from this heritage project. A particular focus will be given to the project’s use of mobile Augmented Reality. An AR experience, principally targeting school groups, was designed to convey the scale, spatiality and visuality of these important Tudor tombs within the context of the Priory site. As the app allows for a situated, immersive interpretive interpretation either on-site at the Priory, or off-site in the schoolyard, it provides a vivid example of the value heritage-based AR can retain even when decoupled from its original reference site. Moreover, it reminds us of the role that ‘embodiment’ plays in the AR and mobile experience.

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