In my last blog post, I had indicated that I would use this month’s post to continue with my exploration into copyright and ownership in relation to digital heritage; however, I will continue that series in the new year. Instead, today I would like to introduce my fellowship project that I will be working on next semester the (very tentatively titled) Stratford-upon-Avon Affects Map.

This project will serve as a pilot for my larger digital dissertation project involving mapping affect, performance, and cultural heritage in Stratford-upon-Avon. At this phase, the focus of the project will be on data regarding emotions, feelings, and affects as described in guidebooks for the town. As Julia Thomas states in her monograph Shakespeare’s Shrine, “the guidebook constructs a community of ‘pilgrims,’ of visitors linked across time and circumstances in their tours of the same buildings, witnessing of the same scenes, and experiencing of the same emotions” (125). This deep map will not only provide information on theatres and cultural heritage sites as affective spaces, but how the different places that act as sites of performance in a town such as Stratford-upon-Avon can operate as a collective space of memory.

By the end of the fellowship, this project will consist of a website containing an interactive, multimedia map. The map will primarily focus on properties and monuments related to Shakespeare, and each point will include information regarding the expected affect to be produced based on how it is described in guidebooks for the city. There will be an “About” page that provides contextual information about Stratford-upon-Avon, spatial practice, and affect theory and a description of how it connects to my dissertation project. Additionally, there will be a page titled “Future of the Project” outlining next steps. This website will be accessible to the general public. Users will be able to click specific points on the map that are tied to important buildings, monuments, and other cultural heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon. This will pull up information regarding how visitors are instructed to interact with and react to the sites based on guidebooks. 

While the primary audience of my project will most likely be other Shakespeare scholars, I am hopeful that this project will speak to a wider global audience. Many people have feelings–whether good or bad–about Shakespeare, and I aim for this project to begin to dissect how Stratford-upon-Avon has been a kind of pilgrimage site used to reinforce bardolatry since the Victorian period. At this stage of the project, it seems unrealistic to expect any sort of audience contribution, but eventually I am interested in coding Stratford-upon-Avon’s various monuments through visitors’ affective responses to these sites.

I’m tentatively planning to build the project in Leaflet, since that is what we used for the last rapid development project of the semester. However, I’m sure the technical side of things will continue to evolve as I attempt to put my idea into practice. I’m looking forward to updating the CHI community on how the project develops over the coming months.

Work Cited

Thomas, Julia. Shakespeare’s Shrine: The Bard’s Birthplace and the Invention of Stratford-upon-Avon. Penn, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.