The Heritage Jam



In this section you will find a wealth of valuable resources ranging from general links to recommendations for paradata and suggestions for how you might want to approach the jam itself!  Remember to check back on a regular basis as we are continuously uploading elements. If you have a suggestion for a resource please get in touch via the contact page or feedback form.

General Resources

Digital Maker’s Alliance: an informal group of makers who are freely sharing the resources they use to create and remix cultural heritage.  

Visualisation & Visual Tools – A Resource List: links to various tools for “thinking visually”, compiled by Collaborative Software Specialist Tom Smith at York

Data-driven Visualisation Tools – A Resource List: links to various tools for visualising large and small datasets, compiled by Collaborative Software Specialist Tom Smith at York

Creative Commons Licensing: Colleen Morgan outlines copyright best practice

Pixel Prospector: A set of resources geared towards game development tools, assets and methods.

Game Jam Resources: A fantastic set of links compiled by the Global Game Jam team. Many of the links refer to general visual construction practices and methods. 

Epoiesen – A Journal for Creative Engagement in History and Archaeology is a journal directly inspired by the Heritage Jam, and contains a number of examples of creative work to inspire you.

Paradata Resources and Direction

Among the documents used to critically inform heritage visualisation, paradata are details on the processes and methods behind the building and interpretation of our visual objects. The London Charter describes them as“documentation of the evaluative, analytical, deductive, interpretative and creative decisions made in the course of … visualisation” to allow a clear understanding of how the visualisation came into being.

Distinct from metadata (which describe the data themselves, their nature, location, and relation to other data, often employed for indexing purposes), paradata work to provide detailed contextual information about the processes of decision-making and the rationale for and derivation of the work.

In visualisation, paradata provide the space through which we communicate ambiguity and transparency, and account for our practices. In explicitly detailing the creator’s process, paradata enable openness, making visible the “relationship between research sources, implicit knowledge, explicit reasoning, and visualisation-based outcomes.” This offers viewers an insight into the making process, and an opportunity to think critically about how our images are constructed and create meaning about the past.

What kind of paradata documentation do you need to submit for the Jam?

As part of your submission for The Jam, we are asking you to model good practice by producing a paradata document. You can either choose to do this by following the six-point template below, or you can dictate your own structure and format for paradata documentation.

You can submit the document as a word-processed file (see our Google Doc), or experiment with web-based or other modes of presentation. In fact, we encourage you to be creative in your methods of representing construction and decision-making. Possible methods include the use of colour-coding, annotation, screenshots, time-sequence, distributed layers, spread-sheet logging, video-diary, or video-recorded time-lapse.

There is a 1000 word limit for the paradata document – or 5 minutes of video/audio recording; and we ask you to address two levels of detail: the macro and the micro (after McCurdy 2010).

Macro Paradata: the big decisions relating to the nature of the visualisation.

  1. Why has the resource being created and for what audience?

  2. How will the resource be put to use? Is it sustainable and accessible?

  3. Why have you chosen to use the approach/methods applied? (e.g., why is it static or interactive; high or low in detail; photorealistic or schematic; digital or analogue; impressionistic or grounded only in available data; etc.)

Micro Paradata: the small-scale decision-making processes underlying the construction of the visualisation.

  1. What are the basic steps you followed in putting together the resource?

  2. What supporting evidence did you rely upon?

  3. How have you acknowledged uncertainty in the resource? Where might alternative interpretations have been made or where are such interpretations otherwise available for viewing audiences to refer to?


McCurdy, L. (2010). Visualising Architecture: The Experience of Creating Virtual Reconstructions. Unpublished Master’s thesis, University of York, UK.

Advice for Jamming

  • Come prepared! Make sure you have the tools you need to create your project – if you are planning on making a game make sure you have your art tools and engine up to date, or if you are planning on recording a video make sure you have access to the editing and shooting equipment required!

  • KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid! The jam is only a short amount of time, dreaming big is encouraged, but be realistic about how much you can get accomplished! It is better to do one thing well, rather than 20 things poorly, and remember as well that your outcome only has 20 minutes to be judged completely – it needs to be easy to pick up, understand and play!

  • Learn from other people’s mistakes! Be sure to have a look over post-mortems or design documentation from the media form you are using!

  • Jamming is social! Make sure you check up on the forums, twitter and facebook. Some jammers may like to use an IRC chat room for keeping up to date with each other – talk amongst yourselves and other competitors and find the platforms which work for you. Remember, even though THJ is a competition the more important aspect is collaboration. Sharing your work in progress is a great way to keep motivated too, post to the forums, your blog or twitter to get feedback and motivation on the go!

  • Eating and drinking properly: moderation of caffeine and junk food is key whilst hydration and a well rounded diet over the jam is king.

  • Sleeping well: it may be tempting to pull all-nighters to get work done, but remember that fatigue can stomp out productivity. Often cashing in on a few hours of sleep will mean you wake up fresh and ready to tackle the project in the morning.

  • Getting everyone involved! Giving up time to jam often takes away from valuable hours with family and friends – get them involved in ideas, production, assets and testing and be sure to include them after the event as well! THJ strives to be a family friendly event for participants at all levels as well as equally fun for non-competitors to watch, learn and play along the way!

  • Dealing with the theme: creating to a theme can be difficult! Take some time to come to terms with what it might encompass and how you intend to tackle it. Sketch it out on paper, brainstorm away, imagine how it could look, prototype it up in a notebook! Often the first 3-4 ideas you have will be the same that everyone else has, be sure to explore wide and far for the perfect interpretation and implementation plan for the theme!

  • Creating a plan: a quick sketch up of the design specifications (one page) and a time-management sheet (one page) go a long way to ensuring you stay on target, but be sure not to over-plan, with a short time frame the most important thing is to jump in and start creating!

  • Contingency: there will be problems and bugs, mess-ups and crashes. Be sure to plan some contingency time in for these!

The Outcomes of the Jam

Prizes will be awarded for the top three entries in English, and top three in French. However the life of the Jam will continue beyond the event, with follow up articles and reflections published via our social media channels – so be sure to stay tuned!

Further to this, all online spaces will be archived and kept open over the next year, so that participants may continue to build upon their projects, networks or new working relationships.

More details on the Jam will be circulated to registrants, so please sign up via the link on this page. Otherwise, stay tuned for news, events and creative content from behind-the-scenes at The Heritage Jam through our social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter. We also have a Pinterest page, for any visual inspiration surrounding this years theme The Bones of Our Past. 

For more info on the Heritage Jam head over to our FAQ page, or if you are still unsure of somthing, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our administration team at:



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