DAT613 – Dissertation Proposal


Can artificial intelligence enhance the practice of digital cultural heritage?

Outline of area of study/context

I’ve always had an interest in technology and in history. When I saw the television advertisement for Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence services that featured Yves Ubelmann’s photogrammetry work in Syria, I was intrigued. I had carried out some basic photogrammetry and worked with Microsoft’s Face API on previous projects so the combination of photogrammetry with AI, particularly in an historical context, was something I wanted to explore further.

There seems now the potential for burgeoning artificial intelligence capabilities to be used in conjunction with established photogrammetry techniques to literally ‘fill in the blanks’ in cultural heritage artefacts that have been lost to us through the passage of time or through destruction.

Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence in other areas of digital culture will be explored, specifically artificially-intelligent agents and virtual worlds,  and museum and curatorial practice.


Secondary information sources will be used to establish and review the current state of the use of artificial intelligence techniques as they are applied to digital cultural heritage. In turn, further qualitative research and review will be undertaken to investigate the extent to which artificial intelligence is being employed in this field, comparisons drawn between practitioners, and the potential for future developments.


The aim of this dissertation is to investigate how artificial intelligence techniques are being applied to digital cultural heritage practices and to establish what enhancement looks like in these fields, be it enhanced image quality in photogrammetry, a more human-like interaction in intelligent agents, or an improved learning outcome for museums and curatorial practices.


Cosido, O. et al. (2014) Hybridization of Convergent Photogrammetry, Computer Vision, and Artificial Intelligence for Digital Documentation of Cultural Heritage – A Case Study: The Magdalena Palace: 2014 International Conference on Cyberworlds. Santander, Spain, 6–8 October. Available at: https://ieeexplore-ieee-org.plymouth.idm.oclc.org/document/6980785?arnumber=6980785 (Accessed: 2 January 2019).

Factum Foundation (2019) Cultural Heritage Conservation. Available at: http://www.factumfoundation.org/ind/174/CULTURAL-HERITAGE-CONSERVATION (Accessed: 2 January 2019).

Historic England (2017) Photogrammetric Applications for Cultural Heritage. Guidance for Good Practice. Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/photogrammetric-applications-for-cultural-heritage/heag066-photogrammetric-applications-cultural-heritage (Accessed: 2 January 2019).

Iconem (2017) Cultural heritage: Changing values and changing technologies. Available at: http://iconem.tumblr.com/post/168497167099/cultural-heritage-changing-values-and-changing-technologies (Accessed: 2 January 2019).

Microsoft (2018) ‘Heritage activists’ preserve global landmarks ruined in war, threatened by time. Available at: https://news.microsoft.com/transform/heritage-activists-preserve-global-landmarks-ruined-in-war-threatened-by-time (Accessed: 2 January 2019).

Unity (2017) Photogrammetry Workflow. Available at: https://unity3d.com/files/solutions/photogrammetry/Unity-Photogrammetry-Workflow_2017-07_v2.pdf (Accessed: 2 January 2019).

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