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LoGaCulture brings together European academic leaders in digital locative experiences to explore how a new generation of innovative locative games might benefit European society through its cultural heritage sites.

Locative Games have existed for two decades and are in the process of entering the mainstream. Typically, they are applications or websites accessed on a location-aware smartphone with content and interactions triggered by locations. Thus, the experience is one of mixed reality, combining both digital and real place elements.

Locative cultural heritage games take the form of digital tours, narrative games, locative literature, or interactive puzzles at cultural heritage sites and enable visitors to see places ‘with new eyes’, revealing hidden aspects and creating new types of interaction. This has resulted in a great deal of experimentation. Unfortunately, this means the design knowledge for locative games is spread thinly through a vast body of literature. In addition, the experimental nature of these systems means there is less focus on sustainable deployments, with many having a limited lifespan, highlighting a lack of understanding about how they could be deployed for the longer term in real cultural heritage locations supported by existing heritage staff and structures.

LoGaCulture will change this by exploring integrated design, ethical frameworks, and novel technologies in sustainable deployments at some of Europe’s outstanding cultural sites: The Avebury Stone Circle and Landscape (UK), the Natural History Museum of Funchal (Island of Madeira, Portugal), the Battle of the Boyne and The Hill of Tara (Ireland), and the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt/M. (Germany). The project consortium includes the world academic leaders in locative experiences and some of Europe’s most significant cultural heritage institutions to ensure that these proposals cover a range of positive impacts, utilising games as a new and exciting way that citizens can benefit from Europe’s unique and valuable cultural heritage. COVID-19 is also having a transformative effect on cultural heritage visitors. As Europeans readjust to the slow end of the pandemic, some rediscover their previous visiting patterns, but new behaviours are also emerging around hybrid events and visiting. There is a need to re-evaluate the role of digital technologies in drawing the public back to their cultural heritage and providing them with hybrid modes of participation and visiting that fit the new realities of the 21st century.