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Use of Digital Technology in Humanistic Science - Project REVIVAL


23 Dec 2021



Project “REVIVAL - Revitalization and Reuse of the Lost Heritage in the Adriatic Landscape”  funded through cross-border cooperation programme INTERREG V-A Italy - Croatia 2014-2020, gathered eight partners from seven cities in Italy and Croatia - Municipality of Campobasso (IT), Municipality of Cesenatico (IT), Municipality of Pesaro (IT), Municipality of Rijeka (CRO), Municipality of Zadar (CRO), Public Institution RERA for coordination and development of the Split and Dalmatia County (CRO), University of Zadar (CRO).

The University of Zadar, as only scientific project partner, prepared a Guidelines establishing a set of criteria for future digital Documentation center of project REVIVAL to enable the Project Partners to single out and select the buildings, areas, dismissed factories, barracks, military fortifications etc. and hence the related cataloguing cards to upload descriptions and images of the selected items (historical and architectonical value; state of conservation; location etc.). Following the Guideline, each Project Partners singled out and selected in its own territory which buildings, neglected urban areas, industrial complexes, barracks, fortifications etc. and then will upload their descriptions and images in the cataloguing cards concerned, contributing to the construction of the digital Documentation Center envisaged (The digital Documentation Center is available at web site ). Twentieth Century was the target period of the “Lost Cultural Heritage” of REVIVAL, typology of the buildings that entering in the definition of “Lost Cultural Heritage” could be different from site to site. Lost/Totally Lost Cultural Heritage could be: A site where use to be a building or destroyed architectural complex; Existing complex or building without recollection within local Community of its uses in the past, or History of the site and architecture (e.g. camps, prisons, factories etc.); Personal memories (of relocated citizens during the Wars) preserved in personal stories and memories, photos, articles, songs, local legends etc.; Totally or partially abounded buildings or architectural complex; converted buildings, like former schools, jail, sacral buildings etc.; Partially preserved or upgraded buildings, without any (or very low) recollection on its former use within local Community or in general knowledge. The Guideline also set out the criteria to select myths, folk legends, fairy tales, stories, curiosities related to the selected places, to be mapped and valorized. The digital Documentation Center concerned, including description of physical objects and related stories, will lay down the basis for the valorization of the lost/abandoned heritage linked to the various aspects of the history of ‘900, a great part of which are appropriate (after small improvements) to host temporary artistic events and have a good cultural-tourist potential. The result was Identification and digital cataloguing of the selected buildings and spaces for each Project Partners. Methodology used in gathering data for future Digital center related to previous project ATRIUM PLUS (Architecture of the Totalitarian Regimes of the XX Century in Urban Management PLUS) which also included University of Zadar as partner. The change that project REVIVAL will introduce is to put at the center of attention of regional and local communities and potential investors the lost heritage concerned and try to find for it creative and sustainable solutions. Each Project partner get e questioners to fulfill with all necessary information about selected site or building, those information’s were ground for building the digital Documentation center. During project lifetime, the digital Documentation Center is sustained, by the organizational and financially point of view, by the PPs’ activities and budget. After the project end (December 31st 2021), it will again be managed by the University of Zadar, which will use it also for didactic/scientific purposes, whilst the property will remain in the hands of all the entire partnership that will use it as support for the Cultural Route on the lost heritage of ‘900. The digital Documentation Centre of the lost/abandoned heritage of ‘900, based on a Guideline and a formalized cataloguing card, will represent a model applicable and replicable by any other organization/region/country outside of the current partnership, dealing with similar issues and opportunities. During the process of setting up Digital Center, University of Zadar decide to use digital Storytelling using 360° photos as a base for a virtual interactive Storytelling production. For this part it was necessary to detect SME (Subject Matter Expert) for each of the seven different geographical location. Some partners had difficulties in realization of those tusks, due the lockdown caused by the pandemic of Covid 19. In 360° photo as a base, we use hot spots in order to make the whole 360° photos journey interactive and engaging it as innovative learning part of Digital Center. Hot spots included different materials, videos, photos, maps, sounds etc. As visitor move around one can press different spots to hear or watch different materials and learn more about history of the building, architectural and urbanistic value, former use of it, to listen to the memories of those who use the buildings or sites in the past etc. Stories are not only chronicles of what happened, but – so much more. They also talk about the meanings that experiences they talk about meaning they have for the people. Through story telling the past is continually reconstructed and connected to the present. Recognized as innovative way of eLearning REVIVAL storytelling for City of Rijeka got an Adobe eLearning Design Award for Reviving History through 360° Technology, for the eWyse Agency that developed our eLearning courses, as 2nd Runner up in the World. In this way, they enabled citizens all over the world to "walk" through forgotten sights from the project area of ​​Italy and Croatia.

In all the Italian and Croatian cities and towns involved in REVIVAL, there are many dismissed areas, buildings (e.g. summer camps, schools, barracks, military fortifications) and industrial complexes lying in a state of neglect and decay. Many of these realities have an architectonical and historical meaning, representing remarkable examples of industrial archaeology, rationalist and modernist architecture or various military fortifications and bunkers as well as abandoned schools built during the Austrian-Hungarian period, along the Croatian coasts or on islands. This is an almost totally lost heritage, that today must be re-discovered, revitalized and reused for multiple reasons: memory building and keeping; making the cities and towns more compact and hence more sustainable, instead of pursuing an endless territorial/urban development based on the urban sprawl; fill in the urban/territorial/social voids, caused by the presence of abandoned areas and buildings, situated often in central areas; create spaces to host temporary cultural/artistic events and hence new poles and community hubs for the attraction of creative people as well as of tourists and social life. As we speak about hundreds of outstanding testimonials located in Italy and Croatia, tackling in a smart and sustainable way, as REVIVAL will do, these challenges will allow to transform the lost cultural heritage in a leverage for a sustainable and more balanced territorial development (as required by the priority 3.1 of the ItalyCroatia cross-border programme), in which a relevant abandoned man-made heritage will play a central role. REVIVAL will tackle the issues above through a result-oriented approach consisting of: Realization of small works to clean and make accessible (with sufficient safety standards for users and visitors) the buildings/fortifications of public property and in an acceptable status; Organization of artistic and creative events hosted in the dismissed buildings/areas concerned (made accessible through the small works mentioned above), to attract creative people and tourists as well as to raise the awareness and attention of local communities, policy-makers and potential investors on the lost heritage concerned; Promote a new tourism offer, joined by a common joint cross border brand and linked to a Cultural Route of the lost heritage of ‘900 in the Adriatic to attract cultural tourists; Search for potential private investors for wider future projects of reuse. As the starting point is clear, the change that REVIVAL will introduce is to put at the center of attention of regional and local communities and potential investors the lost heritage concerned and try to find for it creative and sustainable solutions.