Remixing Transmedia for Cultural Heritage Sites: The Rhetoric, Creative Practice, and Evaluation of Digital Narratives

  • Basaraba, Nicole (Principal Investigator)

Project: Thesis

Project Details


In the digital age, cultural heritage tourists need to invest a lot of time and cognitive effort into hunting and gathering cross-media content about a destination and then connecting it into a cohesive sense of a place. This thesis uses the guideposts of narrative and the affordances digital media to inform the creation of narrative experiences that provide people with the agency to make meaningful content choices tailored to their interests. In the context of tourism, the aim was to develop a choose-your-own-adventure virtual tour that met the needs of an audience that is primarily interested in cultural heritage activities. This thesis? transdisciplinary approach applied theories and practices from communication and media studies, literary studies, computer science, and digital humanities to the investigation of interactive digital narratives (IDN)?a term used by scholars across disciplines to describe emerging genres of digital storytelling. The research question this thesis addresses is: how can a transdisciplinary approach expand IDN theory into a framework that can be applied to create and evaluate multimodal, participatory narratives in non-fiction genres? A theoretical framework for creating persuasive digital narratives was developed and demonstrated in practice through a case study on the 11 UNESCO World Heritage Australian Convict Sites. A mixed-methods approach of gathering qualitative and quantitative data was used for a comparative analysis to determine which narrative themes and content modalities were of most interest to visitors of these sites. A prototype interactive web documentary (iDoc) was created based on a multimodal discourse analysis of content produced by the tourism industry, subject-matter experts, and users (i.e., members of the public). A combination of content collected from the three corpora was remixed into a new narrative system, which was based on the developed theoretical framework and tested by experts and users. The survey results showed that video and image modalities were preferred, the alternative paths provided through the narrative structure were selected more often than the linear option, and the rhetorical communication goal of persuading future participation was achieved. Future IDNs could help preserve local history, uncover lost cultural stories and customs, allow people to explore their own and other cultures, serve as a method of informal education, and encourage public participation in cultural formation and dialogues.
Effective start/end date1/09/1614/12/20


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