Plymouth Hoe. Image credit: Jay Stone

Plymouth Hoe. Image credit: Jay Stone

University of Plymouth, through The Bridge and The Arts Institute, have been appointed to support with the development of a clear, innovative and achievable digital heritage engagement approach for Plymouth Sound National Marine Park. 
Working with a consortium of partners the project will deliver research into best practice and the ‘art of the possible’ along with a series of demonstrator projects to inform a digital prototype for community members to engage with and feed back on – designed to inform the final proposals for the Digital Park framework.
The Digital Park mission is to develop a: 
‘Pioneering a new digital engagement approach, enabling more and a greater diversity of people to engage with the UK’s first National Marine Park. Blending digital and real life experiences to maximise NMP benefits to people, planet and place.’ 
This will be achieved by developing a digital Park that will: 
  • Help people understand what they cannot see (‘Park in the Sea’). 
  • Champion new methods of engagement driven by innovation and cutting edge technology.
  • Unlock an array of underwater treasures.
  • Develop a digital heritage innovation platform. 
  • Give the park an international platform. 
  • Enhance a world class natural environment. 
  • Be a national exemplar in enabling a positive response to climate change. 
  • Get the entire city in, on, under or next to the water. 
  • Increase access and widen participation amongst our target groups. 
  • Connect with and have a relationship with existing digital infrastructure of the City.  
  • Must be sustainable in the long term. 
The Digital Park vision is to enable the NMP to better engage residents, visitors, businesses and global audiences to increase their awareness, understanding and care for Plymouth Sound’s natural, built and cultural heritage, However, the priority is engaging more and a more diverse group of people with heritage. To achieve this, the Digital Park will develop, trial, link and leverage digital platforms, immersive experiences, gamification and applications; all designed to share and collect information and enhance digital democracy and ocean citizenship.  

The Digital Park will create and promote a wide range of exciting, immersive and inspiring (online and offline) experiences of being by, in, on and under the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park to make the sea accessible to all by developing an innovative blended real life and digital engagement programme,, that supports the ‘aware, care, do’ behavioural change journey and delivers the ambition to be an international and national trail blazer and transformation lead through this work. 

Plymouth Sound National Marine Park

Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean City. Largest city on the South Coast of England with 360,000 residents and 14th largest in the UK. Situated in the most beautiful location imaginable, and surrounded by the ocean to the south, and lovely countryside to the west, east and north, this is a city that has always been defined by its physical position. It boasts one of the three largest deep-water harbours in the world, alongside Sydney and San Francisco. Plymouth’s history is rich, and driven by the access it provides to the sea. And therefore to the rest of the world. 21st century Plymouth is an exciting place to be with a growing ‘blue-tech’ marine sector and a globally significant marine research community.  Pioneering in autonomous marine technology and manufacturing it is also a ‘Freeport’ and home to one of the largest naval bases in Europe. The sea continues to define the place.
The Plymouth Sound National Marine Park (NMP) aims to reconnect Plymothians to the sea, rekindling a golden thread between citizens and their ocean heritage, including the marine environment, culture and history. It will nurture our natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations, whilst aiming to develop a sense of marine citizenship and support sustainable heritage management. The UK’s first NMP will create opportunities for residents, businesses and visitors to reconnect with and explore the ocean in exciting ways and to enjoy a city where landscape, nature and community heritage in all its forms can be enhanced, understood and valued for the benefit of people, place and planet.
Based on three key elements, namely: physical infrastructure; social infrastructure (engagement programmes) and digital infrastructure, our project vision is to create a new relationship between the city and the ocean. Our community-led engagement will connect, involve and activate
Through this project we will:
1.     Establish the UKs first national marine park.
2.     Protect and enhance our world-class natural environment and heritage landscape.
3.     Be a national exemplar and thought leader in enabling a positive response to climate change for government, Plymouth and the Heritage Fund.
4.     Level up access to heritage to ensure all citizens and lottery players can enjoy the benefits.
5.     Provide new employment opportunities and career pathways in sustainable future ocean jobs.
6.     Act as a city wide and regional stimulus for economic ‘green’ recovery post COVID.
7.     Position Plymouth as a UK top ten day visitor destination.
8.     Create a new generation of engaged volunteers, communities and heritage champions.
9.     Get the entire City in, on under and next to the water through five gateways and a network community hubs.
10. Deliver an innovation pilot for digital heritage engagement that will give the Park an international platform.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The project is support by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Using money raised by the National Lottery, they Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund  
Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.