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Digi-Mapping: Unpacking meaning of place through Creative Technology

Grandison, Tanis; Flint, Tom; Jamieson, Kirstie; Muir, Laura


Laura Muir


Personal meaning attached to space through digital media gives rise to contested narratives and reveals a polyvocality of place (Farman, 2018). Attributing meaning or ensoulment (Blevis & Stolterman 2007) plays a key role in understanding the complexities of meaning to place, particularly when the ensoulment is from a community rather than an individual. As digital media tools develop and become easier to use, they afford new critical methods to investigate local heritage and discourse through participation.

Employing psychogeography and digital media tools within a participatory design framework this paper presents Digi-Mapping as a method. Digi-mapping uses map making (FIDA, 2009) as a polyvocal tool to unpack meaningful geographies in partnership with primary school children in Edinburgh, UK. The resulting output is a large scale, physical touch interactive map. Participatory at its core, the research in this project is performed by the project participants.

Digital Media tools combined with physical space support new means for participants to express the relationships they have with their local area. Digi-Mapping was conducted in three primary schools in the community of Wester Hailes with the creation of four Digi-Maps. Each Digi-map was created over six two-hour sessions within class. This project introduced participating children to sensory walks, building circuits and creating touch interactive drawings. The process culminated with the collaborative production of an interactive talking map of their local area.

This research was undertaken in partnership with the Creative Placemakers at WHALE Arts, Edinburgh. Employing a lens of creative placemaking, this project presents new methods of examining meaningful geographies of place using digital media tools.


Grandison, T., Flint, T., Jamieson, K., & Muir, L. (2020, August). Digi-Mapping: Unpacking meaning of place through Creative Technology. Paper presented at ACHS 2020 FUTURES – Association of Critical Heritage Studies 5th Biennial Conference, University College London, UK

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name ACHS 2020 FUTURES – Association of Critical Heritage Studies 5th Biennial Conference
Conference Location University College London, UK
Start Date Aug 26, 2020
End Date Aug 30, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2020
Keywords digi-mapping; place; psychogeography; maps; geographies; digital media
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