The inaugural (2021) History and Philosophy of Geography Engagement Award goes to Harriet Walters who is completing a PhD in English literature at the University of Birmingham for her project ” Mapping Winterbourne: Digital Tours of the historic garden”.
The still ongoing design project, a collaboration between Walters, Winterbourne House and Gardens Museum, and the University of Birminghams’s Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFI) is to an create interactive, virtual Garden History tour of Winterbourne Gardens, with the aim of making historic garden-making practices and changing garden spaces digitally accessible to visitors to the site. Using navigable 3D photography, the virtual “tour” is intended to provide a user-friendly, complementary guide to the history of the garden’s making; offering visitors the opportunity to compare the way the garden space has changed from 1902 onwards.
The jury was impressed by the project’s potential to highlight the relevance of geographical knowledge in an interdisciplinary setting. Moreover, it is a good example of how rigorous research can be joined up with digital technologies and societal partners. The potential for this project to further grow is significant and the HPGRG will be curiously watching this come to future fruition. Harriet’s project provides a model which might assist the design of others’ research projects as well as methods of communicating existing scholarship.