Digital engagement with medieval collections: designing and evaluating the Tears of Our Lady prototype for the Burrell Collection

Verschuren, Lynn (2023) Digital engagement with medieval collections: designing and evaluating the Tears of Our Lady prototype for the Burrell Collection. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Medieval Christian artefacts were inherently interactive, engaging both the body and the mind. The prevalent practice of museums, however, to present medieval artefacts as decontextualised works of art engenders an often-irreconcilable distance between viewer and viewed not just physically, through glass vitrines, ropes, and demarcated pathways, but above all, intellectually and emotionally. By bringing together the latest research into the materiality of late medieval art and devotion (c.1250-1550), museology, and digital cultural heritage studies, this thesis investigates how digital technologies may be used to bridge that distance, and foster, instead, enhanced public engagement with medieval devotional artefacts beyond the formal, aesthetic qualities that normative curatorial practices tend to stress. In so doing, this interdisciplinary research investigates the following three research questions:

• How are digital technologies currently used in the interpretation of late medieval Christian collections in public display settings?
• How can the original reception and use of late medieval Christian objects inform their digital interpretation today?
• What is the impact of digital interpretation of late medieval Christian objects on visitors’ experience and engagement?

To answer these questions, this thesis adopted qualitative research methods with a practice-based approach. Carried out as an Applied Research Collaborative Studentship (ARCS, 2017-22) in collaboration with The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, this practice-based project saw the design, development, and evaluation of the Tears of Our Lady prototype, a digital interpretation devised specially for this project. Based on a digitally augmented replica of The Lamentation of Jesus Christ (ID Number 1.24), a fifteenth-century alabaster relief panel from the Burrell, the Tears of Our Lady prototype was used to explore how the interactive (intellectual, somatic, emotive, and imaginative) engagements medieval devotional objects would have engendered in the past may be used to support digital engagement with them in the present.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and the College of Arts Graduate School.
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities
Supervisor's Name: Economou, Prof. Maria, Strickland, Prof. Debra, Ruthven, Prof. Ian and Scott, David
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83601
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 May 2023 07:47
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 07:47
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83601

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