Living Heritage

I was invited to present a keynote on Friday 5 November at the civilized NSW time of 9.15 AM (but WA time of 6.15AM!) to the Living Heritage conference, Macquarie University, Sydney. Yes it will be delivered virtually.

I’m more than happy to refer to  living digital heritage projects, both success & failure (especially illuminating failures)…


New article (open access)

A Web GIS-Based Integration of 3D Digital Models with Linked Open Data for Cultural Heritage Exploration

by Ikrom Nishanbaev Erik Champion and David A. McMeekin

Nishanbaev, I., Champion, E., & McMeekin, D. A. (2021). A Web GIS-Based Integration of 3D Digital Models with Linked Open Data for Cultural Heritage Exploration. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 10(10), 684.

In recent years, considerable efforts have been made by cultural heritage institutions across the globe to digitise cultural heritage sites, artifacts, historical maps, etc. for digital preservation and online representation. On the other hand, ample research projects and studies have been published that demonstrate the great capabilities of web-geographic information systems (web-GIS) for the dissemination and online representation of cultural heritage data. However, cultural heritage data and the associated metadata produced by many cultural heritage institutions are heterogeneous. To make this heterogeneous data more interoperable and structured, an ever-growing number of cultural heritage institutions are adopting linked data principles. Although the cultural heritage domain has already started implementing linked open data concepts to the cultural heritage data, there are not many research articles that present an easy-to-implement, free, and open-source-based web-GIS architecture that integrates 3D digital cultural heritage models with cloud computing and linked open data. Furthermore, the integration of web-GIS technologies with 3D web-based visualisation and linked open data may offer new dimensions of interaction and exploration of digital cultural heritage. To demonstrate the high potential of integration of these technologies, this study presents a novel cloud architecture that attempts to enhance digital cultural heritage exploration by integrating 3D digital cultural heritage models with linked open data from DBpedia and GeoNames platforms using web-GIS technologies. More specifically, a digital interactive map, 3D digital cultural heritage models, and linked open data from DBpedia and GeoNames platforms were integrated into a cloud-based web-GIS architecture. Thus, the users of the architecture can easily interact with the digital map, visualise 3D digital cultural heritage models, and explore linked open data from GeoNames and DBpedia platforms, which offer additional information and context related to the selected cultural heritage site as well as external web resources. The architecture was validated by applying it to specific case studies of Australian cultural heritage and seeking expert feedback on the system, its benefits, and scope for improvement in the near future.

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“Intangible Cultural Heritage and Digital Games”

I wrote a commissioned article for Tencent Games last week “Intangible Cultural Heritage and Digital Games”-as some ideas struck me while writing it I’d be happy if I can circulate it more widely if Tencent let me (the first stage is internal/company discussion).

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Invited Talk in Austria (virtually)

I’m giving a virtual lecture for DHGraz Wednesday 6 October 2021 (tomorrow): “We’re delighted to welcome @nzerik this Wednesday, who will open our Lunchtime Lecture series with an online talk on “Games as Serious Visualisation Tools For Digital Humanities, Cultural Heritage and Immersive Literacy”
More info:

Not recorded but slides are here

Digital Humanities

My trip to Finland

Thanks to the University of Jyväsklyä for inviting me here to central Finland. This is a summary of my time here and upcoming calendar events:

31/8 arrive, 3 plus hour train to Jyväsklyä.

1/9 ARC Cultural Data Engine meeting (Melbourne).

8/9 ARC Cultural Data Engine meeting (Melbourne).

9/9 Departmental staff meeting.

10/9 Virtual talk, University of Hong Kong.

14/9 Talk and workshop (photo above) at Digi & Game Center centre.

15/9 Invited questioner, ERC trial for grant interview process.

20-22/9 Two day stay at Rovaniemi, Arctic Circle. Museums.

–This week finish book chapter on difficult heritage-done.

28/9 UTS Zoom meeting-mentoring.

29/9 Online talk to students, postgraduate researchers.

30/9 Meet the new Dean.

1/10 Essay for Tencent, Book proposal review done.

4/10 Train to Tampere, Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies. Invited virtual keynote, ISMAR 2021: mrICHE 2021 workshop.

6/10 Invited talk, virtual, Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities, University of Graz.

8/10 train to Helsinki.


Keynote ISMAR MR-Cultural Heritage Workshop

I have been invited to keynote at the 1st IEEE International Workshop on “Mixed Reality Implications on Cultural Heritage Experience (MrICHE)” at the ISMAR2021 conference.

The talk will be delivered online (via organizer/host: Future Computing Research Lab, University of Messina, Sicily, Italy), October 4, 9.40-10.35am (Central Standard Time).

Working title: “Extending Museum Realities: Play, Presence, and Problems.”

Any great examples of challenges, successes and failures, please feel free to update me.

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Keynote and CFP: Living Digital Heritage

Call for papers!

Living Digital Heritage Conference: “Integrating the Past into the Present and Future”

Friday 5 – Sunday 7 November 2021, Sydney/Virtual

Hosted by the Centre for Ancient Cultural Heritage and Environment (CACHE), Macquarie University

If interested please send your abstracts (panel or paper) to by 1 October.

I am happy and honoured to say that I have been invited to keynote, thank you to the organizers and for their tenacity in running this conference.

Announcements archaeology book chapter virtual heritage

Virtual Heritage: How Could It Be Ethical?

Latest book chapter in the works:

Virtual Heritage: How Could It Be Ethical? Invited chapter for The Routledge Handbook of Heritage Ethics, Andreas Pantazatos, Tracy Ireland, John Schofield and Rouran Zhang (eds.), Routledge, 2023.

Ranging from modified adaption of commercial games (game mods) to multi-million dollar 3D visualizations and web-based projects, virtual heritage projects have showcased cutting-edge technology and provided insight into understanding past cultures. While the research field of virtual heritage (virtual reality and related immersive and interactive digital technology applied to cultural heritage) is several decades old, its specific ethical issues have not been extensively addressed.

Six issues will be discussed in this chapter: cultural ownership; the depiction of humans no longer with us; obsessions with photorealism rather than the complex topic of authenticity; environmental costs; accidental social alienation; and the gamification of serious, traumatic, or personal content.

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Normal service to resume

This weekend I leave for the “Athens of Finland”, that’s right, the Aalto city, Jvyäskylä, to be a visiting fellow. The University of Jvyäskylä is a partner in the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies ( I’ll still have news and posts to update this site with but postings may be irregular (again) for awhile.

To the journals and book editors and conference organizers who seem to regularly ask for my time, I’m sorry, I’m cutting back for the next few months and will only take on assignments close to my heart and/or that I have already promised to complete. I have several book projects and some small commissions that should take precedence.

A view from Aalto’s home in Helsinki. Photo taken a decade ago by me.

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update: ‘Rethinking Virtual Places’ Proof Approved

I mentioned in the below post that I was on the home stretch with this book (in the Indiana University Press Spatial Humanities series), final proof was approved by me this week. I also noticed it was over 107,000 words. Thanks to Dean and Professor Marc Aurel Schnabel for the comments on the back.

“An essential contribution to a very current topic.” —Marc Aurel Schnabel, Victoria University of Wellington

If anyone wishes to review or consider ‘Rethinking Virtual Places‘ for courses please contact Indiana University Press or email me.

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Australian Cultural Data Engine-2 year LIEF

Just been given the green light to be officially on the following #ARC #LIEF grant: “Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government” (announced in December but took this long):

“…Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government. The project aims to develop an Australian Cultural Data Engine (ACD-Engine), which will be an open software engineering facility that interacts with leading existing cultural databases in architecture, visual and performing arts, humanities, and heritage to build a bridge to information and social sciences. The ACD-Engine will unify and expand these disparate and previously unconnected systems to allow advanced analysis techniques to be performed. It will deliver innovative and searchable formats that ensure interoperability, improved search, interactive design and interpretation aids that will benefit the policy and planning for national and international alignments between researchers, industry and government.”

This will be my fourth Australian Research Council grant (Chief Investigator)* since 2018. The University of Melbourne leads this grant, it runs for two years.

*Also an expert advisor on 5-year ARC Indigenous Discovery grant.


#cfp Small is Beautiful, Melbourne


Taking inspiration from the ‘small is beautiful’ mantra of the
1970s which provoked counter-cultural economic and scientific expertise in the name of planetary survival, this symposium invites scholars working on computational methods in the arts, humanities and social sciences to discuss their research with ‘small data’.

Big data is often characterised by the volume, speed and aggregation made possible by automated and intensive computational systems, and over the last decade, data scraping methods and ‘large N’ studies have become dominant trends in socio-cultural digital research. Conversely, small data may be characterised by their limited volume or greater diversity of anomalous patterns, case studies, and research collected manually to answer specific questions.

This concept of “small is beautiful” has a distinctive history and place in the humanities and creative arts, producing specific (if not unique) works and critical commentary in archives tied to the authorial or artistic signature. From a social science perspective, small data may be associated with some forms of qualitative methods, marginalia, ephemera, data that ‘glows’ or narrative analysis of ‘small stories’.

Moreover digital platforms with readily accessible technologies are recomposing scale in unprecedented ways. Such approaches giverise to new possibilities for mass circulation of intimate gestures and the affordances of transnational and first person voices that may not identify with colonising structures or professional institutions of art, culture and political organisation.

Hosted by the Australian Cultural Data Engine, the Narrative Network and the Victorian College for the Arts, this interdisciplinary symposium seeks to nurture and advance our understanding of small data that involves human-scale analyses, thinking about aesthetics, and exploring how narratives emerge from data patterns and their anomalies.

Key questions guiding the event are: how do interactions with small data shape and inspire transformations of knowledge in the twenty-first century? Who collects, owns and curates small data? And when and where does small data hold power? What kind of actions, or play, are possible with small data? Which stories can be told with small data?

Proposals are invited for a two-day symposium with panels, presentations and demonstrations at the Digital Studio, University of Melbourne and online.

Topics may include:
• Collecting as little as possible: how small is small?
• Data domestics
• Fragmented or aberrant data
• Data as ritual, data as performance
• Bio-data, body data
• ‘Smart’ data
• Disruptions from data instances
• Small data art and aesthetics
• Small data industries
• Small data and subjectivity
• Miniaturisation of digital means
• Histories of small data curation
• Small data ethics
November 12-13, 2021 at the Digital Studio, Arts West building, University of Melbourne, Australia

FORMAT: The symposium will include a mix of in-person and online formats. Keynote presentations and some panels will be scheduled online for the morning sessions (AEST) with other sessions face to face in Melbourne in the afternoon of November 12 and 13 (COVID restrictions permitting).
We hope to facilitate a sense of shared understanding and conversation over the two days, and for this reason preference will be given to those who are able to attend both days of the event.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION: please send a 250 word-abstract and bio marked “Small Data” to: before September 30, 2021.

The conference fee is $50 full and $25 students and which will cover catered lunches and afternoon tea. There are a small number of bursaries for interested participants without the financial means to attend (conditions apply).

Registration details will be circulated at a later date.


Book Chapter (free)

I forgot to say that I wrote a short chapter for Virtual Heritage: A Guide.

Champion, E. (2021). Preserving Authenticity in Virtual Heritage. In E. Champion (Ed.), Virtual Heritage: A Guide (pp. 129-137). London, UK: Ubiquity Press.

This chapter examines why we wish to preserve heritage objects and practices via virtual heritage, and why the issue of authenticity is so important here but so seldom addressed. If we could give criteria to select and to create useful and even authentic-oriented virtual heritage projects, what would they be? Or are there methods and solutions out there waiting to be discovered?


Final touches to next book

I have just written the index for my next book Rethinking Virtual Places and hopefully the final proof. Started about 4-5 years ago so constantly updating it, hope it is out in November at IUP Spatial Humanities series website.

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Virtual Heritage: A Guide

Virtual Heritage: A Guide” is published and open access!

Why did we write it? For all those interested in an introduction to virtual heritage, but facing steep purchase costs for academic books, so it is especially suitable for university undergraduate courses. Download what you need, for free.

And given it was written from go to whoa in less than a year and to a tight word limit, I am very grateful to the authors for their time…

Cite: Champion, E. M. (ed.) 2021. Virtual Heritage: A Guide. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: License: CC-BY-NC.

Finland 30 August -10 October to 2021

… thanks to a University of Jyvasklya Fellowship.. incredibly expensive flight booked. Permission to leave Australia for work granted.. more soon…

3D and game editors heritage serious games virtual heritage

Advisory Board setup

A major game company (I’d say a global company, not in Australia) invited me to quote/ setup an international advisory board in relation to intangible heritage and digital games to meet annually or biannually virtually or in reality. It is a bit of a challenge looking forward to estimate the budget in this time of pandemics, lockdowns, and border control issues.

Announcements game

Small VR game grant

Led by Susannah Emery, a game design academic at UniSA, I am part of a small team of academics and game designers (Melonhead games, developed Rooftop Renegade) who will develop a game and teaching resource that explores environmental storytelling.

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Playing With The Past 2nd ed.

Are second editions of specialist academic books worth the rewrite? Springer asked me to consider a second edition of Playing With the Past (, as 10,000 chapters have been downloaded..but it requires some work to update it.

Apparently, 20% can be rewritten but as most of the main chapters were written in 2003-4, updated before publication in 2011, to update to 2021 will be quite some work. There weren’t so many books and papers in the area when I started! On the other hand it is an opportunity to review what I was trying to determine in 2001-2004 during my PhD candidature. And I would love to replace the original cover. Decisions, decisions!

3D and game editors cfp

cfp: Web3D 2021

WEB3D 2021 
8-12 November 2021
Virtual Event

The 26th International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D 2021) is organized by the Web3D Consortium and the Institute of Information Science and Technologies (ISTI-CNR). The conference focuses on the 3D ecosystem on the web platform, addressing research, development, and applicative use.

Due to the uncertainties related to the pandemic, the conference will be run as a fully virtual event.

This year’s theme is

:::::::::::::::::::::::   A Shared 3D Workspace” :::::::::::::::::::::::: 

Working together online has been the staple of this last year. Web3D technologies can create a shared, online workspace, with multiple users able to connect and work together in the same environment.

:::::::::: Conference Tracks

Main Track

The conference seeks to cover the world of 3D on the Web across multiple levels: from low-end layers enabling the use of 3D in browsers to high-level applications. The Main Track is the more technical- and research-oriented part of the conference, focusing on original, innovative content.

Session: Web3D for COVID response

The sudden switch to remote teaching/working/interacting prompted many urgent requests for new tools, systems, and paradigms. And the research community answered.

In this track, we intend to bring to the fore all the work done to virtually shorten the distance across people during the emergency, presenting results, innovative approaches, interaction paradigms, and subsequent evaluations.

:::::::::::::::: Special Track: Digital Fashion in the Web

The future of fashion is presented from Italy, one of the historic centers of fashion. We invite experts in various fields of Fashion who have effectively used Web3D technologies in their research and academic and public educational activities.

In the last years, the Fashion industry has been going through impressive virtualization of its production chain. The Web is a great way to reach the global public: Web3D makes this reaching out interactive. 

This special track is dedicated to the results and new challenges to bring the fashion industry in the 3D Web: import of assets, collaborative tools, virtual fashion shows, clothes simulation are just a few examples.

:::::::::::::::: Special Track: Online Legacies and Cultural Heritage

The Cultural Heritage domain is increasingly using Web3D technologies to share data for teaching, research, and dissemination among peers and the general public. In this special track, we seek to explore how 3D web technologies contribute to knowledge production once data have been processed, shared, and used through online platforms. What is the legacy and impact of virtual content in documenting, interpreting, and showcasing Cultural Heritage?

To answer this question, we invite experts in various fields of Cultural Heritage that have effectively used Web3D technologies in their research and academic and public educational activities. Particular emphasis is placed on mobile objects: from archaeological finds to reference collections, up to closed and open online repositories; from pipelines to process 3D models for the Web to visualization and design methods. We are particularly interested in experiences stemming from (but not limited to) scholarly research, teaching, curatorial and museum practices, scientific dissemination, and public engagement in general.

:::::::::::::::: Submissions :::::::::::::::: 

Technical Papers

We welcome original scientific works presenting 3D web research and applications, in either Full or Short format (9 or 5 pages, respectively). Submissions will undergo a  single-blind peer-review process. Accepted papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library and submitted to major indexing services. Works selected for the Best Paper awards will be invited to submit extended versions to the following journals: Computers & Graphics, Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics, Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage 

Interactive Posters

This year, we would like to push forward the concept of a poster: instead of an A1 sheet of paper, the authors are requested to make the posted available online in an interactive format. Posters are an ideal method to present applicative works, tech demos, ongoing research, applications.


Tutorials are a way to present new tools to students, researchers, and professionals. Short courses, possibly with hands-on examples and interactive materials are encouraged and proposals targeting naïve and entry-level audiences are well welcomed

Industrial Use Cases

Web3D is an ecosystem with a strong Industrial presence. The Industrial Use Cases are a way for companies and practitioners working with Web3D to present their solutions and technologies. An online, interactive version of the submission is encouraged.


Web3D conferences have always been an opportunity to connect with other experts. Researchers, practitioners, standard committees, workgroups may propose to organize a workshop on specific themes of interest for the Web3D community. Workshops may be either presentation sessions moderated by workshop organizers or open discussions on a specific topic of interest.

Hanim 3D Competition

Who can create the best animated-to-music 3D humanoid? We seek for talented animators who want to show their work and win a prize by submitting their creations to the competition. 

3D Logo Competition

We are looking for talented 3D artists and designers to jazz up the 2021 Meeting!

The logo and its author(s) will be presented at the opening ceremony and will have the opportunity to present their logo to the audience in a short talk. 

Submission  deadlines:

Papers:      July 30    
Interactive  Posters: September 3  
Tutorials: July 30     
Industrial Use Cases: July 30    
Workshops: July 30     


Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

● HTML5 3D, WebGL, X3D
● 3D data formats, compression, transmission, and streaming
● Web-based rendering, advanced shading
● 3D content creation, authoring, modeling
● Web-based Geometry Processing
● 3D printing
● 3D API, middleware, toolkits, frameworks
● AI for Web3D
● Human modeling on Web3D
● Semantic Web
● Cloud-based services for large-scale datasets
● Shared virtual spaces, collaborative environments
● Virtual humans, avatars, motion capture
● 3D repositories, marketplaces, asset galleries
● Mobile platforms
● 3D web-based teaching facilities
● Multi-modal 3D interaction paradigms, 3D navigation, gesture, natural interfaces
● Visual analytics
● Diffusion and adoption of 3D Web technologies, comparative studies, historical perspectives, WWW integration
● Novel interactive 3D web applications in all areas and sectors such as entertainment, education, training, cultural heritage, digital twin, medicine, military, smart manufacturing/industry 4.0, information & data visualization, science, geographic information systems (GIS), digital globes, subsurface exploration, and mining, integrated marine data management and visualization, building information modeling (BIM), and architecture.

More information

All the instructions, updates, and the link to the online submission system can be found on the conference webpage:

All questions about submissions should be emailed to

Web3D 2021 Conference Committee

General Chairs: Fabio Ganovelli, Carol Mc Donald

Organizing Chairs: Francesco Banterle, Marco Potenziani

Program Chairs: Marco Callieri, Yvonne Jung

Special Track chairs: Fashion

Yordan Kyosev, Camilla Olson, Emma Scott, Inga  Dabolina 

Special Track chairs : Cultural Heritage

Loes Opgenhaffen, Martina Revello Lami, Nicolò Dell’Unto