MEMEX project first study

The new MEMEX technologies will make it possible to tell the stories of the most endangered communities, thanks to the possibility of building narrative paths with pictures, videos, maps on and around the cultural heritage of the different territories. By telling their stories, the communities not only will be able to have visibility with their stories shared to the public, but also to connect with the territory they live in, discovering historical and artistic insights.

The project involves the development of artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies along different stages: the creation of a software to geo-locate people and objects, the integration of tools to manage the stories structure, and the connection with the information on the territory artistic-cultural heritage. An analysis of the communities’ social needs will complement the technological development from the beginning to the end of the project.

The MEMEX app will be tested by heterogeneous social groups with possible different communication needs: (1) the communities originated by the immigration to Lisbon of the old Portuguese colonies inhabitants will be useful to collect memories, traditions and their contribution to the Portuguese culture; (2) the migrant women living in Barcelona and with whom we will realize activities for the valorization of the cultural heritage of the city; (3) the people in the suburbs in northern Paris at risk of exclusion from local policies, being the unemployment level very high.

The first research study in the scope of the MEMEX project took place in Lisbon, led by ITI researchers Vanessa Cesário, Dan Brackenbury, Valentina Nisi and Nuno Nunes, the company Mapa das Ideias and the ONG Instituto Marquês de Valle Flôr. The migrant participants, 10 young adults, were invited to take part in a one-week photo challenge, between February 5 and 10, for which they were required to photograph places that would convey meaningful value to them. Then, all the participants took part in a co-design workshop on February 13, led by Vanessa Cesário and Mapa das Ideias, in which the participants explored the photographs and together co-created stories around the places along with their shared memories of the sites

This research study aims to answer the following questions: How do the participants tell a story? What is important when telling a story? What is Cultural Heritage for them? How do participants will relate to each other’s stories? The qualitative data of the session – audios, videos and stories co-created – is currently being analyzed in order to build end-user scenarios, inform the requirements that the MEMEX app should have and inform and define the main pilot methodology near the partners and stakeholders. Hence, this first study is of the highest importance for the MEMEX project, and ITI will replicate it in Paris and Barcelona, as the needs of each migrant community are likely to be different.