From the 1780s to the 1820s, writers and artists codified a particular set of ‘sublime’ emotional responses to the Welsh landscape. Enthused by sublime art and poetry and guided by accounts of travels through vertiginous scenery, Romantic-era tourists made their way to spots that – it was promised – would “please while they astonish the beholder” (J. Evans, Letters Written During a Tour of South Wales During the Year 1803 (1804).
Richard Marggraf Turley, Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination at Aberystwyth university, will discuss a proposed research project which will use biometric equipment to measure modern visitors’ responses to spatial aspects of culture at such sites. Richard will discuss how such techniques might:
- Test Romantic claims of heightened emotional responses in ‘sublime’ sites in Wales.
- Assess how biometric information can enrich visitor experience at these heritage tourism sites – and draw more people to them.
- Use the results of 1) and 2) to inform strategies of heritage management and marketing.
- Assess whether increased knowledge about a site’s historical, cultural and geographical context leads to different emotional responses.
- Use biometrical information generated in the project to create a quantified guide to eight key Romantic sites – The Quantified Life Guide to Wales.
Quantifying the Sublime brings together Romantic scholarship, geography, mapping, visualisation and computer science, developing a composite methodology that draws from innovations and leading-edge research in these areas.