A Participatory Approach for Digital Documentation of Egyptian Bedouins' Intangible Cultural Heritage

Danilo Giglitto, Shaimaa Lazem, Anne Preston

pp. 31 - 49, download






The Bedouins of Egypt hold a unique intangible cultural heritage (ICH), with distinct cultural values and social practices that are rapidly changing as a consequence of having settled after having been nomadic for centuries. We presentour attempt to develop a bottom-up approach to document Bedouin ICH. Grounded in participatory design practices, the project purpose was two-fold: engaging Egyptian Engineering undergraduates with culturally-distant technology users and introducing digital self-documentation of ICH to the Bedouin community. We report the design of a didactic model that deployed the students as research partners to co-design four prototypes of ICH documentation mobile applications with the community. The prototypes reflected an advanced understanding for the values to the Bedouins brought by digital documentation practices. Drawing from our experience, three recommendationswere elicited for similar ICH projects. Namely, focusing on the community benefits; promoting motivation ownership, and authenticity; and pursuing a shared identity between designers and community members. These guidelines hold a strong value as they have been tested against local challenges that could have been detrimental to the project.



Keywords:  Students-Led Design, Cultural Heritage, Mobile Technology, Prototype, Community Engagement, Education, Training


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