Project 8: Outreach
The A7 Project in the news
One of the aims was to conduct a public outreach programme associated with the Project. This part of the project was intended to tell the story of the submarine and the work done by the Project to a mix of audiences including the general public, those with an interest in RN submarines and maritime archaeologists. A series of events and press releases were used for this:
- An extensive report on the project was published by Archaeopress as part of the BAR British Series, see Project Report. This report was aimed at more academic audiences or those with an interest in RN submarine history
- The 3D virtual reality model created for the project has been an excellent way of showing the public how the submarine looks today and what the conditions are like on the site
- The A7 Project was the subject of a paper titled ‘The A7 Project - An investigation of HM Submarine A7’ at the 2015 Society for Historical Archaeology conference in Seattle, USA, in January 2015
- The work of the project has been shown to a wider public audience through a number of newspaper articles and in the sport diving and shipwreck press
- Daily updates about the fieldwork on the project were posted on social media sites Facebook and Twitter where the posts were widely viewed and shared resulting in an audience of thousands following our progress
- The SHIPS Project has given many presentations to local history societies, groups and schools about the work of the A7 Project
- The SHIPS Project was the keynote speech at the 2014 BSAC Diving Conference in Birmingham where the presentation included a section about the A7 Project
- Papers on the A7 Project and the results of the ultrasonic hull thickness experiments will be submitted to the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and related journals. The results of this work showed how improvements could be made in the current methods when recording the thickness of very corroded hull plates
Speaking about the A7 Project at the BSAC Diving Conference
Devonport Naval Heritage Centre display
The project team are now developing a public display about the A7 at the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre in Plymouth, including panels with photographs and interpretive text telling the story of this boat and providing access to the virtual reality model.
Some of the academic objectives of the project have been met by commissioning postgraduate students to undertake the work. The students were tasked with specific research questions which they answered within their dissertations and the results incorporated in the project. This is a mechanism that the SHIPS Project has already used very successfully and is facilitated by the fact that Mr Peter Holt and Mr Michael Williams are an Associate Lecturer and Visiting Research Fellow respectively at Plymouth University and both members of the Marine Institute’s Marine & Coastal Policy Research Unit. Professor Stone, although based at the University of Birmingham, is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth and is also currently active in the tasking of students to develop maritime heritage projects exploiting interactive 3D and Virtual Reality technologies.
This project helped develop the capacity to undertake maritime archaeological projects in the UK by providing practical fieldwork opportunities to students in this field. The need to stimulate and support the development of maritime archaeologists was identified in the English Heritage marine management policy document Taking to the Water. This project has enhanced the skills of a number of avocational divers, students and professionals and it has already encouraged partnership and the exchange of expertise.
The project developed diving and recording methods that could be used in 40m depth, in low light, with low visibility, with a short time on site per day and under the effects of mild narcosis. The methods were developed in parallel with the work-up dives undertaken to get the team used to working in the conditions found on site.