Monday 3 June, 4.15pm


LPAC Auditorium

Communities Panel

‘Collider Conversation: What role does technology play in making cultural heritage accessible to audiences and is the digital revolution helping communities to redefine themselves authentically?’

Chair: Uzma Johal (Threshold Studios)


Bo Olawoye (Threshold Studios)

Paul Long (Metro-Boulot-Dodo)

Dr Clare Watson (University of Lincoln)


Cultural Heritage – making the past, present using digital technology. A public conversation to explore what role technology plays in widening opportunities for audiences and communities to access and extend diversity within cultural heritage of place. Discussing opportunities and challenges around routes to engagement, accessing and developing digital archives and creating new experiences for audiences. Collider Conversation connects panel and audiences to share thoughts, experiences, challenges and explore solutions collectively. Our guest speakers will be using their experiences to navigate the discussion, highlighting key challenges and opportunities, and facilitate real-life insight into digital impact on cultural heritage. Alongside the conversation we invite attendees to explore: Metro Boulot Dodo’s Empire Soldiers: a VR experience blending performance and technology to tell the compelling stories of the forgotten Caribbean and South Asian soldiers of World War 1. Hear the captivating stories of the battlefield as you are joined by a returning soldier and share the emotional experience of the return home. As the journey continues to the present day, focus turns to the resulting changes of the last 100 years, and the impact of migration on the world today. Threshold Studios, This is Us – the past, present and future of Sincil Bank: an exhibition created by Sincil Bank residents via a year long creative engagement programme that tells the story of Sincil Bank and it’s people through the history of industry and migration using documentary photography, oral history and film making. Funded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund and in partnership with Media Archive Central England.

Uzma Johal MBE

Co-Founder & Director

Threshold Studios

Uzma’s extensive career in arts and media began in 1994 after graduating from King Alfred’s College, Winchester where she studied Drama, Theatre and TV Production. Inspired by the power of live and recorded media in giving voice to communities, she sought out experiences in both broadcast and community settings. After relocating from London, Uzma, along with like-minded creatives, set up Don’t Look Now, a voluntary artist-led organisation committed to developing local media artists and supporting local communities in Northamptonshire. Its rapid success evolved into the establishment of Threshold Studios, a social enterprise whose mission is ‘Creative Media for Social Change.’ As Co-Founder and Co-Director of Threshold Studios, Uzma has been producing new media art since 1998, and is Festival Director of Frequency International Festival of Digital Culture, a biennial celebration of digital arts and culture established in 2011. Uzma has also undertaken significant strategic development work in arts and education sectors across the East Midlands, delivering digital strategies and facilitating organisations to embrace technology into their futures, as well as brokering partnerships with the Higher Education sector to unlock opportunities for meaningful, sector specific internships and collaborative production in new and emerging technologies. She served on Arts Council England’s Regional and then Area Councils for eight years championing and advocating for diversity and equality in the arts, especially for new and emerging talent, as well as the opportunities technology affords the sector in connecting with a wide spectrum of audiences and communities. Uzma was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List for services to the Digital Economy in the East Midlands, recognising her significant contributions in championing diversity and equality of voices in the arts and media sector, fostering talent and devising routes into industry for those who are currently under-represented.

Bo Olawoye

Creative Engagement Manager

Threshold Studios

Bo Olawoye is the Creative Engagement Manager for Threshold Studios. She has developed and managed participant-led learning programmes for contemporary arts venues in Nottingham and beyond for 20 years. Her approach to engagement is “creative collaboration”, empowering people to use the arts as a tool to explore issues that affect everyone.

Paul Long

Creative Director


Paul Long is Creative Director and founder member of MBD and has led the company for 21 years. Paul has extensive experience of creating powerful artistic concepts and emotive writing, and has been creative lead on all of MBD’s Virtual Reality projects. MBD has been creating immersive storytelling experiences for over 20 years. After starting out as an immersive theatre company in 1997, MBD has always embraced new technology and seamlessly blends engaging narrative, art and tech to create innovative user experiences. The company now specialises in digital heritage storytelling, including recent development in VR and AR. Notable work includes Empire Soldiers VR, a virtual reality installation piece telling the story of the Caribbean soldiers in WW1. In 2018 Empire Soldiers VR won the VR Expo Immersive Theatre award and was selected for the Lumen Prize longlist.

Clare Watson

Dr Clare Watson


Media Archive for Central England

Clare oversees the staff team and all operations at MACE. She also provides strategic leadership and manages stakeholder relationships as well as being responsible for fundraising and project delivery. She taught film archiving at post-graduate level and has delivered training programmes to new entrants and professionals. Most recently, she managed the London’s Screen Archives.

22nd March 2023

Heritage Dot brings together practitioners and researchers, to identify key challenges and opportunities, showcase innovation, and explore collaboration in the digital heritage sector.

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