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Colloquium: Undesirable Stories / Frightful Places: Revisiting a Concentration Camp through Immersion

Event Details:

  • Date:          Thursday, 14 December 2023
  • Time:         Starts: 16:00
  • Venue:       Fresnel Auditorium, Athalassa Campus, The Cyprus Institute.
                       This is a hybrid event, so you are also welcome to join us online on The Cyprus Institute YouTube channel and our Facebook event page.
  • Speaker:    Dr. Agiatis Benardou, Director, European Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH)



front panelSince the 1970s, there has been a growing public focus on commemorating and preserving 'difficult heritage,' a term introduced by Sharon Macdonald over fifteen years ago. This trend has gained momentum in the context of the European historical shift towards memory, giving rise to a new modus operandi which emphasizes the delineation of place through historical narratives. This involves remediating historical content through exhibitions, memorial plaques, and other forms of urban commemoration.

Despite the opportunities presented by this approach, there has been a noticeable absence of substantial evidence to assess current strategies and provide guidance for future developments, particularly in challenging heritage sites in which immersion has been employed.

This presentation will delve into the advantages and challenges associated with designing, developing, and evaluating the first Virtual Reality production in Greece focused on Block 15, a building used as an isolation and torture space within the Concentration Camp of Haidari, Attica, Greece, during the years 1943 and 1944.

The project, titled "Block 15," leverages archival and historical resources to create an immersive Virtual Reality production highlighting the tangible and intangible heritage of the site. Addressing a range of challenges, including the overarching methodology, the perspective and narrative structure of digital storytelling, the creation of historically accurate assets, and the incorporation of user experience survey findings, this initiative seeks to identify and repurpose resources for a meaningful exploration of the site's history and to revisit the advantages of immersive technologies as mediators of difficult heritage.


About the Speaker

Agiatis BenardouAgiatis Benardou is Director of DARIAH-EU. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) and a Senior Researcher at the Digital Curation Unit, ATHENA Research Centre.

She has held posts as Research Associate at the Departments of Information Science and Critical Studies, University of Glasgow. Agiatis has served as Teaching Fellow in Digital Curation at the Department of Media and Culture, Panteion University, Greece, and she is co-ordinating the MSc core course on Applications of Digital Methods in the Humanities at the Department of Informatics, AUEB.
She has carried out extensive research in the context of various Greek, EU and International Digital Humanities initiatives.

Agiatis holds a PhD in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology from King’s College London.



This event contributes to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

 Sustainable Development Goal 9  sdg17



The event will be in English and the event is open to the public.

This is a hybrid event, so you are welcome to join us online on The Cyprus Institute YouTube channel and our Facebook event page.
Images and/or recordings of our open public events may be used by The Cyprus Institute for dissemination purposes including print and digital media such as websites, press-releases, social media, and live streaming.



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Additional Info

  • Date: Thursday, 14 December 2023
  • Time: Starts: 16:00
  • Speaker: Dr. Agiatis Benardou, Director, European Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH)

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