Scottish National Heritage partnership

Date – March 1st, 2018
Funding – 74,998

The Scottish Heritage partnership is a nine-month AHRC-funded initiative aiming to address the existing practice and future potential of immersive experiences and technologies in the collections and heritage industry in Scotland. Its key research question revolves around measuring the success of approaches to immersive technologies at major heritage sites in Scotland, both in terms of outcomes against business plan expectations and in terms of visitor response, and the kinds of future development supported by the evidence.

Immersive experiences are means of 'composing' memory (that is, creating the conditions in which the memories which are publicly expressed are those which are formulated within a range of socially acceptable contexts. In the motorized era, trails have fulfilled the same function of embedding preferred memory narratives, while immersive experiences-delivered in part or whole through the medium of technology-strive to present a fusion of memory, place and performance to create a close and lasting relationship of visitor memory to the experience purchased by the visit. Immersive technologies have (although research on this is not yet developed and its development is a key component of the proposed partnership) arguably similar effects to electronic mass media in the composure of memory, but effects which are possibly delivered in stronger and more lasting terms.

Policy report: Immersive experiences

Download the Policy Report document, which presents research findings, evidence and recommendations deriving from the Scottish Heritage Partnership project.

The team

The team is led by Professor Murray Pittock (School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow), who is the Principal Investigator, alongside Professor Lorna Hughes and Professor Maria Economou (School of Humanities, University of Glasgow) who are the Co-Investigators. Furthermore, Dr Agiatis Benardou and Dr Leo Konstantelos work on the project as Research Associates.


The objectives of the project are to:

1. Build on and expand existing partnerships to explore the efficacy of immersive technologies at major heritage sites currently, both in terms of outcomes against business plan expectations and in terms of visitor engagement and response.

2. Build a decision-making tool and gather evidence for policy development.

3. Explore how we can best harness and shape cutting-edge digital technology and develop effective, meaningful content into leading edge inclusive and impactful immersive experiences.

4. Define the roles played by immersive technology in expanding audience demographics (including consideration of advisory age limit of 13 for VR), increasing visitor engagement with and understanding of museums, collections and heritage sites, using questionnaires, observations and focus groups.

5. Outline the kind of social/group experiences facilitated or limited by immersive technology (AR/VR), and study how these affect the visitor experience overall.

6. Examine the consequences of service-wide adoption of immersive technology in Scotland's leading heritage and collections resource provider, Glasgow Life.

7. Evaluate how we can best explore the health and wellbeing impacts of both direct and virtual access to cultural heritage.

8. Adumbrate the ways in which changing technology is supporting and challenging audience expectations and future immersive possibilities.

9. Produce a website, a digital decision-making tool, a policy paper and a risk assessment:

a. An evidence-based market model for use with Scottish Government, VisitScotland, local tourist authorities and nongovernmental agencies
b. A route to developing suitable immersive technologies which can be scaled/developed to meet the criteria identified under (a), in the process benefiting our digital partner, Soluis.
c. A risk assessment of the blockers to successful development and exploitation of the findings of (a) and (b) in the creative and cultural economy.

10. Develop the career of the Early Career Researcher engaged with the project.

11. Support the internal policy-making capacity in this area of both HE and non-HE partners.

11. Support National Trust for Scotland, National Library of Scotland and Glasgow Museums' strategic use of their collections in interpretation and exhibitions development.


The National Trust for Scotland, Glasgow Museums and The National Library of Scotland are key parners in the project and so is our industry partner, Soluis Heritage. External research partners include the Smithsonian, with whom a Memorandum of Understanding linked to shared research in Kelvin Hall was signed on 8 April 2016.


  • Evidence based, market model for immersive technology in heritage: for government tourist authorities, and the commercial sector
  • Data driven visualisation exploring the decision making process and value chain of immersive implementation in heritage organisations
  • Risk assessment of blockers to successful development and exploitation of immersive technologies in the creative and cultural economy
  • Reports, papers, conference papers for widest academic and public dissemination

Dutch Art, Kelvingrove Museum

Dutch art at the Kelvingrove Museum‌‌


Glasgow Subway, recreation at the Riverside Museum‌‌

Hologram by Ken Harris, Switzerland

Hologram by Ken Harris, Switzerland

Navit Reality View - Next to reality

Navit Reality View - next to reality‌‌

Mitragliatrice_su_slitta_WW1_-_RealtĂ _aumentata

Mitragliatrice su slitta WW1 - Realtà aumentata‌‌

Nintendo 3DS Target Shooting demo at E3

Nintendo 3DS Target Shooting demo at E3‌

Burns Cottage Alloway

Burns Cottage Alloway‌

Culloden battlefield

Culloden battlefield‌

Students using an interactive at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Students using an interactive at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow