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Geospatial Innovation Seminar
February 15 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Speaker: Duncan Hay (UCL), Survey of London Whitechapel: Writing East London’s Histories Online
Abstract: Since its establishment in 1894, the Survey of London has viewed its purpose to bring authoritative histories of London’s built environment to non-specialist audiences. Each richly-illustrated volume seeks to provide a comprehensive account of what has been built, what has been lost, and to what purpose, in its area of study. Though all of the Survey’s research is available through the British History Online website, this talk introduces a new platform, launched in October 2016: Survey of London Whitechapel. This website represents the organisation’s first foray into using digital technology not only to publish its research, but to involve members of the public in the production of that research itself.
Consisting of an interactive map of Whitechapel through which people living in East London and beyond can contribute their writing—memories, reflections, and research—photographs, audio and video—in addition to being able to explore the Survey of London’s ongoing research about the area. In this way, the different strands of thinking about the past—what, following Raphael Samuel, we might term ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ history—come into dialogue with one another, and produce a richer, more comprehensive picture of Whitechapel, not just as it was in the past, but as it is today.