Lucy Frears mobile app

The welcome page on Lucy's app.

Unlocking the landscape using located media

Falmouth University

Falmouth University PhD researcher Lucy Frears has been working with a Cornish business to investigate locative narrative experiences using smart phones with GPS. 

Supported by the ESF (European Social Fund) Convergence Programme, Lucy has been working with Treasure Trails to explore ways that this technology can link us to the landscape in a deeper, more meaningful and lasting way.

Lucy has developed two experimental locative mobile phone apps. The first, The Secrets Garden, was made in collaboration with Ian Biscoe, another Falmouth University PhD student. Participants used this app to discover hidden stories in the Walled Garden on the Penryn Campus grounds. 

The second app, Hayle Churks, was used as a research tool but is also available to the public free on iTunes. Memories, music, songs, archive photos and historical information are revealed to the participant while walking around the landscape. This app was part funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and used many local archives especially material from Hayle Oral History Project and Hayle Community Archive. The Hayle Churks app won a Collections Trust Award this summer (2014). 

Lucy said: “It’s been fantastic to have this opportunity to take the time out of my career to experiment and develop work that may have some lasting impact in the region and country. I have started to disseminate my research and I hope that the wider Cornwall community can learn from the experimental app-making process, decisions, the app itself and the mistakes made or short comings and the reasons why - often financial, when planning, making, creating and commissioning their own work.”

Treasure Trails are interested in this research to help build their new locative work portfolio and reputation in this digital area. Steve Ridd, Managing Director, said: “This research will provide us with the empirical data we need to develop more meaningful experiences and provide us with greater market credibility as our products have been developed on the back of academic rigour.”

The heritage sector has valuable and interesting collections. New ideas on ways to use these collections that reach a more diverse audience are beneficial and needed.

It is hoped that this project will not only leave a creative experience for the community and visitors but that it could connect or re-connect them with the post-industrial town of Hayle, its past and present and lead them, to think about the future, possibly encouraging them to get involved with land stewardship and caring for the town and its environment.