Earlier this week, the Knight News Challenge named Curatescape as a Semi-Finalist in its “News Challenge to explore role of libraries in the digital age.” Open to anyone, the challenge argued that “the library has been a vital part of our communities for centuries—as keepers of public knowledge, spaces for human connection, educators for the next generations of learners. While habits are changing, those needs have not. We want to discover projects that help carry the values of libraries into the future.”
Based on our experiences in working with libraries, they are essentially to our ability to work with students and communities to build digital stories that transform place. Heck some of the Curatescape partners are libraries, such as the Napa County Public Library and the library at the University of Nevada, Reno. All of us work closely with libraries–in Cleveland the Cleveland Memory Project has been vital, as have countless smaller archival and libraries. The same is true here in Tempe, with Salt River Stories. (Erin Bell, everyone’s favorite Omeka programmer, is a training information scientist.)
Head on over the the Knight Foundation, Library Challenge page, and review the Curatescape: Transforming Place through Digital Storytelling proposal. Curatescape leverages libraries in all their dimensions (resources, spaces, professional expertise) for the purpose community- and student-based digital storytelling that transforms the places in which we live into living museums. We believe that libraries and archives are at the heart of the places in which we live. Through our work in reimagining place in collaboration with libraries, we contribute to the continued evolution of libraries and their role in sustaining the cultural, memory, and history of our neighborhoods, landscapes, and regions.
We’ve appreciated our partners leadership in the Curatescape project–indeed Curatescape is a concept, a technology, and a network. Our partners embody our shared commitment to reimagining place and landscape. So we invite readers to head over to Knight, check out the various challenges, and (if you like) “applaud” our agile little project and its network of brilliant community-based curators. If you have time, offer a comment on the collaborations that you’re building, or are interested in building in your own community. Tell us how your work is transforming your students & communities, including re-engaging them in the work of libraries, archives, and museums. Tell us about how you’re involved in transforming how your community understands and engages place. Or, just write whatever comes to your mind.
Curatescape has grown remarkably in the past eighteen months, from a handful of projects, to nearly 40 endeavors. Collectively, our apps have been downloaded to approximately 50,000 devices. We estimate that about 600,000 unique visitors make their way to partner websites in any given year.