Arenberg Mines - Chevalet

ANR MémoMines

Converting memory traces into digital mediations : the case of mining memory

The Nord-Pas-de-Calais mining basin was mined for nearly 300 years, between 1720 and December 21, 1990, when the last gaillette was raised. In Lorraine, in Creutzwald (Moselle), the last mine closed on April 23, 2004. In Germany, the last coal mine, based in the Ruhr, closed in December 2018.

While the 1990s were marked by a lack of interest or even a desire to erase the traces of the past, the 2000s were characterized by a gradual awareness of safeguarding industrial heritage that led in 2012 to the UNESCO World Heritage listing of .

The MémoMines project is led by Sylvie Merviel-Leleu.

Endangered cultural heritage

The general problematic of the MémoMines project concerns the conservation of facts or events constituting cultural heritages often close to disappearance (endangered cultural heritage): it deals in particular with the safeguarding of individual memories by their conversion into memorial traces, their availability in the form of digital archive corpora accessible to all, their remediatization for circumscribed social uses, and their staging/installation (trans-media) in the context of dedicated places of memory. 

The MémoMines project includes fundamental research, the design and realization of innovative devices and their evaluation in ecological situations of use. The whole problematic, treated and analyzed in an interdisciplinary perspective (information and communication sciences, language sciences, museology, computer science), is applied in the specific framework of the memory of the mine.

University consortium and institutional partners

MemoMines is a Collaborative Research Project. It associates three university laboratories : DeVisu from UPHF which is the carrier (Pr Sylvie Leleu-Merviel is the coordinator of the program), GERiiCO of the University of Lille-SHS (referent : Pr Stéphane Chaudiron) and the PLIDAM laboratory of INALCO (referent : Pr Peter Stockinger). The Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA) is also a partner in this program. Finally, the project relies on a network of expertise consisting of the Mission bassin minier, the Centre historique minier de Lewarde, the Arenberg Creative Mine and the CAPH.

Challenges of the ANR MémoMines program

On the scientific and technical level, the MemoMines project addresses the following 5 challenges : 

  1. the constitution/production of the mining memory in the form of 1) a reasoned choice of memorial traces to be digitized ; 2) the captation of previously scripted interviews with former mine professionals (miners, engineers, surveyors, technicians, health personnel...)  3) the restitution of the social, work and personal life framework of these actors ;
  2. explaining the universe of knowledge of the mine, defining and developing a metalanguage (an ontology in the computer sense of the term and a thesaurus) to record the memory traces previously captured, to analyze them (describe and index), to publish and disseminate them online and, finally, to ensure their sustainability ;
  3. the realization of audiovisual archives of mining memory in the form of a web portal whose access to the previously collected and analyzed fund take into account the universe of knowledge specific to the world of life of miners ;
  4. the design and implementation of innovative technical devices for the exploitation - remediatization - of digitized and archived memory traces in the form of cross- or transmedia projects of a cultural, recreational and educational nature in particular, on site in a museum and in remote digital consultation ;

the specification and implementation of a " work platform " integrating the various tools, procedures and methodologies to carry out the collection and archiving of the mine's memorial traces, their dissemination via a web portal and their reuse/remediation

The MemoMines project addresses a dual challenge: 

1/ scientific and technical challenge: to develop a structured approach for the constitution, appropriation and sharing of cultural heritages in various social contexts - an approach based on: 

  1. a theoretical framework focusing on the description of the semantics, the universe of meaning of a heritage, its appropriation and sharing in situations of cultural mediation and territorial valorization; 
  2. a methodology for digitization projects, valorization and appropriation of audiovisual corpora documenting a heritage; 
  3. metalinguistic resources (domain ontology, specialized terminologies, standards, ...) for classifying, describing and editing/republishing audiovisual corpora; 
  4. shared devices for archiving, disseminating, mediating/remediating audiovisual corpora documenting a heritage; 

2/ Experimental and field issue: test and validate this approach through a concrete fieldwork dedicated to mining heritage in the form of indexed and annotated corpora of data and metadata media online and usable as digital resources for research projects, territorial valorization and cultural mediation.

Also read