Dr Henry Chapman – Mapping Lost Worlds transcript

Title:Dr Henry Chapman – Mapping Lost Worlds
Duration: 1.57 mins
Speaker Names (if given):  S1 Dr Henry Chapman – Mapping Lost Worlds

S1   My current research at the moment is really quite broad.  I work at the interface between the Arts and Humanities, particularly archaeology, but trying to find questions which are very difficult to answer unless you start integrating computing and visualisations.  So really I work in this boundary between trying to understand cultural questions about the past, but those sorts of questions that you can’t address unless you start reconstructing, start modelling and visualising past landscapes, objects and movement of people.

In terms of specifics of the sort of work we do: I’m working with museums and with art galleries and looking at collections.  So for example I’ve been working – digitising three-dimensional digitising of a collection of Egyptological items from Eton College.  Now this is trying to make this sort of material accessible to scholars for analysis; to the general public for interest; to schools for learning, and so on.  So the actual impact – at one level it’s local, it’s Birmingham, it’s to do with museums and collections and the people here  –  but then much more broadly via the internet it hits everybody.  So I think from a global perspective the mechanisms that we’re working on, from taking a physical object through to a three-dimensional item, to something which other people can access at every level, is globally important.

In Birmingham undergraduates have the unique opportunity to be at the cutting edge of this sort of research.  We have the first course in the country of – it’s called ‘Virtual Worlds’ – it actually allows students practical access, these Art students access to science.  They access all the software, the laser scanning, the modelling, they do the suite of activities that we’re involved in as a group and this is the only place they can do it.  So undergraduates are brought into this in a practical sense right from the outset.