East Enders go to Dover

All of us at Dover

Hello, allow me to introduce myself, I’m Kassie Headon, the new Technical Coordinator here at Rix Research & Media. On a sunny Tuesday in November, myself and a team of staff from Rix, along with participants from the Tower Project in East London, went to Dover to try out the ‘Channel Heritage Trail’ developed especially for the occasion by MA student,  Sarah Mees. Sarah is from Dover, and created the history trail about her hometown on a Rix Wiki. Sarah worked with the Tower project before our trip to get tips on how to make her trail more accessible. 

This is part of the ‘Sense of Place’ strand of our Rix Research work on the ‘Living Archive for the Social History of People with Learning Disabilities’ project, which is funded by AHRC. We are working with the Tower Project team who were co- researchers on the previous ‘Sensory Objects’ project (also funded by AHRC) and who are bringing their experience of exploring ways in which a focus on visitor’s sensory experiences can extend the relevance and accessibility of heritage sites. This inclusive research work is further developing these themes and exploring ways that multimedia can label and guide visitors at these locations – both in museums and outdoor public spaces – so bringing them more to life for people with learning disabilities and providing ways to engage their interest.

Using an iPad to test the Heritage Trail on a Rix Wiki
Looking at the Heritage Trail on a Computer

When we got to Dover, our first stop on the trail was the statue of Jamie Clark (the Olympic Torch bearer for Dover in 2012). When we got there Jamie himself appeared along with his Olympic Torch! Thanks to Jamie we had a chance to hear about his experiences and hold the torch ourselves.

Jamie stood next to his statue holding the Olympic Torch on the Dover Seaside

Using the Wiki to guide us, we went on to experience some of the highlights of the trail. This included some of the many statues along the sea front like the Channel Swimmer Matthew Webb, the Channel Dash memorial, and the statue of the Merchant Navyman. In this spirit, some people then formed their own ‘statue’ on the plinth recently vacated by the ‘Waiting Miner’.

Feeling the Merchant Navyman’s shoes
We found an empty space so we made a pose!

After lunch, at a former ship yard premises on Dover seafront featured on the trail, we left for our train back to London.

We all enjoyed the day and came away having learned something about Dover, and, found a new way we could use Rix Wikis. The Tower team will be further developing this exploratory and inclusive work with our OU and Rix research teams and contributing material with a location heritage and sensory focus to the prototype Archive in the New Year.

The Channel Heritage Trail wiki is currently only available to invited visitors. Contact Sarah Mees by email at u1541747@uel.ac.uk for more information. 

We also made the local news!

We made the news!