3D heritage visualisation and the negotiation of authenticity: the ACCORD project



Jones S, Jeffrey S, Maxwell M, Hale A & Jones C (2018) 3D heritage visualisation and the negotiation of authenticity: the ACCORD project. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 24 (4), pp. 333-353.

This article examines the question of authenticity in relation to 3D visualisation of historic objects and monuments. Much of the literature locates their authenticity in the accuracy of the data and/or the realism of the resulting models. Yet critics argue that 3D visualisations undermine the experience of authenticity, disrupting people’s access to the materiality, biography and aura of their historic counterparts. The ACCORD project takes questions of authenticity and 3D visualisation into a new arena – that of community heritage practice – and uses rapid ethnographic methods to examine whether and how such visualisations acquire authenticity. The results demonstrate that subtle forms of migration and borrowing occur between the original and the digital, creating new forms of authenticity associated with the digital object. Likewise, the creation of digital models mediates the authenticity and status of their original counterparts through the networks of relations in which they are embedded. The current pre-occupation with the binary question of whether 3D digital models are authentic or not obscures the wider work that such objects do in respect to the cultural politics of ownership, attachment, place-making and regeneration. The article both advances theoretical debates and has important implications for heritage visualisation practice.

Authenticity; 3D modelling; digital heritage visualisation; co-production; community

International Journal of Heritage Studies: Volume 24, Issue 4

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online17/10/2017
Date accepted by journal25/08/2017
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Sian Jones

Professor Sian Jones

Professor of Heritage, History