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Hidden Cities mobile app available now

23 November 2020
Hidden Cities: Hidden Deventer app

As of 17 November, the mobile app "Hidden Deventer" is available on Google Play and Apple Store. The app is the first result of the European research project (HERA JPR) PURE: PUblic REnaissance: Urban Cultures of Public Space between Early Modern Europe and the Present, a collaboration between five European universities: University of Groningen, University of Exeter, FBK Trento, University of Valencia and Erlangen-Nürnberg.

How did it feel to be in Valencia during the artisan uprising of 1519-21? What was it like to negotiate life as a German immigrant in Trento in 1520? Where might you hunt for news in Hamburg in 1686 if you wanted to make sense of the political crisis gripping the city? The Hidden Cities apps offer immersive and unconventional tours designed around the everyday, and extraordinary, experiences of early modern men and women. Users will get a fresh perspective on well-known sites, and discover places off the beaten track.

Deventer. Katharina: ‘City of Books’ (1495)
Trento. Ursula: ‘Innkeepers, Princes and Migrants’ (1520)
Valencia. Josep: ‘Revolutionary Road’ (1524)
Exeter: Thomas: ‘Politics, Profit and Prayer’ (1588)
Hamburg. Johann: ‘City of News’ (1686)

The mobile app

Visit between seven and nine sites in each city, navigating with a geolocated period map that toggles to a modern street map. As the guide characters link each site to stories of early modern city life, they invite users to explore the material culture of public space – from book stalls, street shrines, and spiritual sanctuaries, to taverns and places of execution.

At every site users can listen to "Discover More" audio from the historians behind Hidden Cities. Find out about objects, such as drinking tankards, armour or cheap pamphlets, that were once associated with that place. Many of these objects can be visited in city museums, our partner institutions.

"The Hidden Cities apps harness the everyday consumer technology of smartphone devices to deliver innovative public history experiences that invite users to delve into the deep histories of public space and its uses in the European cities we inhabit today. Delivered in partnership between universities and city museums, the stories connect public spaces with the material culture of those spaces in an engaging yet playful way. A supporting website provides rich additional information and encourages users to explore comparisons across the cities", says project lead Prof. Fabrizio Nevola (University of Exeter).

Future updates

More character-led walks for the five cities are being developed and new cities will be added to the Hidden Cities family of apps . In the neear future, the app's platform will be available as an educational tool, allowing students to tackle issues and themes in urban history by creating their own walks in the cities of the past.

The app, which is based on the model of Hidden Florence (2019), is a result of a three-year collaborative research project “Public Renaissance: Urban Cultures of Public Space between Early Modern Europe and the Present”s (2019-22), funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). They are written by historians based at the universities of Exeter, Groningen; Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italian-German Historical Institute; Universidad Católica de Valencia; Universitat de València; and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. The apps are produced by Calvium.

For additional information, contact Prof. Fabrizio Nevola, University of Exeter (project lead) and Dr. David Rosenthal, University of Exeter (app supervising editor), or Prof. dr. Sabrina Corbellini, University of Groningen.

Last modified:23 November 2020 5.31 p.m.
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