Introducing Our Way Tech's Pop-up Past project

Being properly connected with a place isn’t just about having a stake in its present and future, but engaging with its past as well. Pop-up Past is a project by four student entrepreneurs that aims to give that sense of connection using modern technology to young people across Plymouth.

Our Way Tech (@OurWayTech) is made of four students from Plymstock School – Reece, Ben, Tom, and Dan – who worked with Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) to set up their student led social enterprise. They are setting up a virtual reality experience using Google Cardboard to guide people through Plymouth’s history using images from Plymouth’s archives. In this way the project will get young people thinking about the past, present and future of a place and make local heritage look cool in the process.

The project is going to set up and establish a pipeline of future participants so it can stay running when the founders go on to University or other destinations – some of the project founders are due to take their A-levels this year. The team have been supported all through the development of their enterprise by their school as part of its ‘Our Way’ initiative.

Currently Pop-up Past is using images from The Box, but in the future will use open data such as sets covering ancient trees and listed buildings, and other heritage data sets as they become available. In the process the team will be creating open data sets and logging them on Plymouth’s open data portal. This doesn’t just mean factual data about what happened when and where, but also data about how young people feel about places and things, as well as their ideas and aspirations for the future.

The funding that the project won from DATA Play 2 will enable it to test different technology and to work with developers to create a digital map that collects and shares memories and historical data.

The digital map and the data that they will be collecting would be a fantastic resource for the city and could be used to promote events such as the Mayflower 400 or the closure and re-opening of The Box.

Interactive events combining digital technology and historical data could be co-designed and delivered by Our Way Tech and tech-partners over the next few years, a long term campaign that will encourage more young people to connect with their local heritage.

In the future the team are looking to branch the enterprise out into potential side projects, such as launching of merchandise that has been co-designed by other young people.

31 March 2016

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