City Strata is a mobile platform for creating an interactive and locative map of Bristol, so that gradually over time there would accrue a multi-layered map of the city's cultural heritage. The project is a knowledge exchange collaboration between DCRC researcher Charlotte Crofts, Bristol City Council and Calvium, creators of the AppFurnace app development system. It has been enabled by Heritage Sandbox funds, awarded by the AHRC regional knowledge exchange hub REACT, which is led by UWE, Bristol.
The platform will be piloted through the development of the 'Cinemap' layer which will explore all aspects of Bristol’s film culture, mapping the city’s cinemas through the ages. The aim is to create a cinematic walk during which you are asked to reflect on and remember your cinema going experience, seeing yourself as a character in a film, with Bristol as the film set, as you navigate the city looking for cinema sites – at which point you will be given access to stories about cinemas and the opportunity to upload your own cinema memories.
The pilot will focus on the Castle Park, Broadmead and their immediate environs, which is steeped in cinema history. There is a wealth of archive material and oral histories upon which City Strata will draw. For example: the the murder of Odeon manager Robert Parrington-Jackson in May 1946, shot during a screening of The Light that Failed (1940) at the precise moment that gunshots rang out within the film; Cary Grant remembering visiting the Clare Street Picture House as a child; tall tales about the Tatler and the King's Hall two 'fleapits', on Old Market. Many of these cinemas already have basic records in the 'Monuments' layer of Know Your Place. City Strata will accordingly develop and improve the existing records to include rich media content and engaging stories, and incorporate contemporary cinemas.
City Strata has two key audiences: creative producers who will use the platform to develop new layers (for example: the Bristol Live Independent Music Archive (BLIMA) and the Literary History of Bristol); and end users of the cinema layer experience, which is aimed at tourists (visitors to MShed), cinema buffs (for example: idmb.com users) and local school children.
Project image courtesy of Calvium, see their Escape from the Tower.