VEKAM Local Memory Certificate Program Closing Session

March 23, 2022

Gil Pasternak is Professor of Photographic Cultures and Heritage in the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) at De Montfort University in the United Kingdom. Investigating intersections of photography with politics and cultural heritage practices, his research focuses on uses of national and community photographic digital heritage. His most recent publications include The Handbook of Photography Studies (Routledge, 2020) and the special issue “Photographic Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts” (Photography & Culture, 2021). In 2018-2021, Pasternak served as Project Leader of the European Commission funded research project Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts (DigiCONFLICT), and he is currently Project Leader of Picturing Untold Migration Experiences, a participatory research project funded by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) that explores the potential employment of community-based photographic digital heritage in school education on local history.

Prof. Dr. Gil Pasternak
Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC), De Montfort University (UK)

Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi was born in Istanbul in 1985. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the department of Industrial Design at Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Türkiye, 2008) and her Master’s degree from the department of Visual Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy, 2012). Her studies on sounds of Istanbul started during her Master’s education. She designed an unconventional guide system including a website, a smart phone application and a sonic souvenir which aims to guide through urban sounds. It was her challenge to design visual interfaces for auditory urban experiences.

Having discovered the richness of cultural sounds in Istanbul, she decided to conduct further research under a PhD program in the department of Design, Technology, Society at Koç University (Istanbul, Türkiye, 2012-2017). Since “The Soundscape of Istanbul” project is located at the intersection of soundscape studies, intangible cultural heritage, museum studies, sensory studies, interaction design, experience design, exhibition design and participatory design, it suits this multidisciplinary program very well. She worked with Assoc. Prof. Nina Ergin from Archeology and History of Art Department. With this project, she aimed to explore the culture and everyday life of the city from a sonic perspective, to collect the urban sonic values and to archive them as intangible cultural heritage elements in Koç University Suna Kıraç Library Digital Collections.

This very sound collection, being first of its kind in Türkiye, was also shared with Europeana Sounds which makes efforts towards protecting Europe’s sound heritage. She also designed exhibitions in order to raise public awareness of the significance of the sounds of Istanbul.

Finally, using her background and education, she initiated the “Soundsslike” project to expand this sound collection by public contribution. Soundsslike project is a crowdsourced sound map which encourages people to record and upload their own sound recordings for protecting urban sounds as a collective work. She makes efforts for this project to become a global action towards collecting cultural sounds and creating a comprehensive archive of how world sounds like.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi
Işık University

Nil Tuzcu is an award-winning creative technologist and multimedia designer working at the intersection of information design, data-driven storytelling, and digital humanities. In her multidisciplinary practice, she translates data into engaging visual narratives to make complex political, economic, and geographical data accessible to the public. Originally trained as an architect at Cornell University, she attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was trained in information technologies and urban policy. Her projects were nominated for the Information is Beautiful Awards three times and won the best data visualization award by the Digital Humanities Awards. She is the creator of the Istanbul Urban Database, a comprehensive multimedia archive of Istanbul, which has been recognized by leading institutional organizations and media outlets. This project helps preserve the collective memory and the urban heritage of Istanbul as an open-access medium. She has spoken at numerous events and institutions, including the European Union, Harvard University, Koc University, Northeastern University, Salt Art Institute, !F International Film Festival, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Duke University. She currently leads the information and experience design work at the Growth Lab, Harvard Kennedy School.

Nil Tuzcu
Information Design Lead, Harvard University

Dr. Davis received her PhD in 2017 from Koç University. Her dissertation project, ‘Sensorial Urbanism and Smellscapes: Documenting and Exhibiting Istanbul’s Cultural Heritage,’ explores the intangible heritage and history of place and people through a sensory, embodied experience. She curated the exhibition ‘Scent and the City’ at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Spring 2016. She has worked with several cultural institutions, including the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, the Allard Pierson Museum, the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries, and Cornucopia Magazine. Her research project at ANAMED examines sensory history through digital tools by exploring historical spice and aromatic trade routes with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She is using GIS to visualize and analyze the changing, but perhaps not declining, patterns of the spice trade in the Ottoman Empire. In addition to contributing to a more in-depth interpretation of the complicated spice trade in the 16th century, this project also helps generate a more complete understanding of sensory history and the smellscapes of this historic neighborhood of Eminönü.

Dr. Lauren Nicole Davis
Information Design Lead, Harvard University
Click for registration

April 5, 2022

2.00-5.30 pm. (GMT+3) İstanbul


Local Memory Studies Certification Program Closing Remarks

Prof. Dr. Filiz Yenişehirlioğlu, Koç University VEKAM


Keynote Speech

Miras Veritabanını Etkinleştirmek: Postdijital Çağda Dijital Geçmişler / Activating the Heritage Database: Digital Pasts in the Postdigital Present


Prof. Dr. Gil Pasternak, Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC), De Montfort University (UK).


Break 3.10-3.30 pm

Examples of Innovative  Projects in the Field of Local Memory Studies

3.30-5.30 pm


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tülin Selvi Ünlü, Çukurova University

  • The Soundscape of Istanbul

Asst. Prof. Dr. Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi, Işık University

  • Urban Heritage in Digital Realm: Data and Stories 

Nil Tuzcu, Information Design Lead, Harvard University

  • Scent and the City

Dr. Lauren Nicole Davis


*The event will be held on the Zoom platform. The program is open to the public.

**English-Turkish simultaneous translation will be provided.