Rock Art on Mobile Phones (RAMP)

Rock Art on Mobile Phones (RAMP) was an innovative user-centred mobile app, which aimed to enhance visitors’ experiences at rock art sites in Northumberland by re-purposing information and images from the Beckensall and ERA archives (2011-present). The app was designed for self-paced exploration of three outdoors heritage landscapes in rural Northumberland, in the areas of Rothbury, Wooler and Dod Law.

The app was designed through a participatory design methodology involving members of the public, walkers and heritage enthusiasts in a series of co-experience workshops. It was one of the very first heritage apps to use QR codes and the BYOD paradigm in the UK and to be delivered though a web-app design, suitable for both conventional mobile phones and smart phones.

RAMP applied a series of innovations:

  • The interpretive content was formed as a dialogue to address both the ambiguity of the archaeological record and the need for polyvocal heritage interpretation.
  • The app content encompassed both the specific rock art panels on the sites as well as well as the expanded views.
  • Multi-scale text and images were used to aid visitors’ orientation in a seasonally changing landscape with variable GPS coverage.
  • QR codes and tailored media were used to address the variability of connectivity on the site.     

Research publications:

Galani, A., Kidd, J. (2019) ‘Evaluating digital cultural heritage ‘in the wild’: the case for reflexivity‘. ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), 12(1), 5.

Galani, A., Mazel, A., Maxwell, D., Sharpe, K. (2013) ‘Situating Cultural Technologies Outdoors: Empathy in the Design of Mobile Interpretation of Rock Art in Rural Britain’. In: Ch’ng, E., Gaffney, V., Chapman, H. (eds) Visual Heritage in the Digital Age. London: Springer, 2013, pp.183-204.

Mazel, A, Galani, A, Maxwell, D., Sharpe, K. (2012) ”I want to be provoked’: public involvement in the development of the Northumberland Rock Art on Mobile Phones project’. World Archaeology, 44(4), 592-611.

RAMP was generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It was delivered by a research team in Newcastle University: Dr Aron Mazel, Dr Areti Galani, Dr Debbie Maxwell and Dr Kate Sharpe.