I have been in York giving a paper as part of the History of Art’s dept workshop ‘What is to be done with the Crystal Palace?’. It was a great event – a day of papers focused on the Sydenham Palace with some brilliant material looking at the presentation of ethnography in the Palace, the organisation of the pageants held there etc. I talked about the project – all the usual stuff but with a stress on how it might help us reasses the Palace itself and what new directions of research the virtual environment could offer. It was really useful to gather feedback – definitely ideas about using the model to test circulation patterns seemed to garner the most interest. But what was most interesting was to hear the questions being asked by other researchers and the approaches they were taking to answer them. The stress on different perspectives (looking at different media, including diaries, to see a ‘bottom-up’ picture of the Palace rather then the ‘top-down’ view from the guidebooks – or to interrogate those guidebooks in new ways – was a real spur that we must carry on this aspect of our bot characters and invest more in making the class differences between them more nuanced. At the moment we basically¬†leap from Dick van Dyke chimney sweep type to upper class aristocracy with a brief interlude of middle class-ness.


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