Some jobs are jobs. Other jobs are more than just jobs. They’re jobs you feel especially grateful to be a part of.
I’m in the fortunate position where as far as freelancing is concerned, I can afford to be reasonably picky about what I do.
That’s not because I’m an incredible designer who people will pay through the nose for. It’s because I have stable employment. I am therefore not obligated to take on work that undervalues or depresses me to make ends meet.
My cat is more than happy to undervalue and depress me as it is. So is my reflection. I don’t need any more of that shit.
Don’t get me wrong, I do treat freelancing more seriously than I would a glorified hobby. But web and graphic design as a full-time, self-employed vocation didn’t really suit me. Please do read my Fudge You, Pay Me! series if you’d like an insight as to why.
If I take on a project these days it’s invariably because I see something of unique value in it.
Sometimes it’s the work, other times it’s the person/people doing it. Money in the bank is great, but personal fulfillment comes from helping people I admire get a step closer toward achieving their goals. It also distracts me from the ever increasing distance between myself and my own.
A few weeks back saw the launch of such a project. Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries is now live.
Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries
The goal of the project
This project raises awareness of the causes and consequences of cultural and physical genocide within Jewish cemeteries. It further aims to tackle racism, xenophobia and hostility in the present.
I copy-and-pasted that from their about page. Because I can’t describe it any clearer than that. It’s almost like Academics are good at this wordy stuff.
Numerous international organisations have been involved and contributed. The driving force however, is the Centre of Archaeology, based at Staffordshire University. It is directed by Caroline Sturdy Colls, a Professor in Conflict Archaeology and Genocide Investigation. The team consists of specialists in numerous technical and academic fields, many of which have been utilised by the project.
Funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a range of diverse, cutting-edge technologies are used to uncover evidence of cultural genocide and mass violence. These are further contextualised by the accounts of people who endured the Nazi’s occupation of their homes and family members who ensure their stories continue to be heard.
A website was required to showcase both the results of the project and the technologies utilised.
Prof. Sturdy Colls emphasised that despite the focus on research, the human element needed to remain consistent and strong throughout. She didn’t want people to get lost in data or feel that the information was shared in an overtly clinical way. But because we’re dealing with such a sensitive topic, she likewise didn’t want us to go too far in the other direction.
I advised we therefore organise the content into two distinct areas.
Stories would talk about the findings of the research and where possible, contextualising with eye-witness accounts where possible. Behind the scenes would focus purely on the technologies involved, with links between the two.
What made the development process a little more unique from a content perspective, is the variety of media the project has created.
Scientific reports, interactive 3D renderings, film, galleries, interviews etc. Each story could comprise one or more these media types in no particular order. I always emphasise the importance of content above all else. Therefore, the website needed to accommodate this, allowing the team to easily tailor stories exactly as they needed to be. I needed to give them peace of mind that whatever they did would look great on the frontend and be engaging for visitors.
I may do a more detailed case study on the design and development process for this site, in future.
I may also just eat lots of cheese.
I am chaos.
Visit the Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries
I heartily encourage you to please visit the Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries for yourself.
Even if you find my design work an affront to all that is holy, the team’s research and finding’s are worth your time. Tech nerds especially will have plenty to get their teeth into. The Behind The Scenes area details the team’s use of close-range photogrammetry, laser scanning and mapping techniques among others.
More importantly, the stories themselves speak very transparently about the atrocities experienced, from the perspective of those who endured them. I find it quite easy to get lost in the pure scale (and the distance in time) of events such as these in history. These projects provide a sense of grounding and localisation, bringing it all home. They capture the living, breathing human element which I don’t think should ever be forgotten.
Thanks to Caroline Sturdy Colls, Kevin Colls and the entire Centre of Archaeology team for inviting me to be part of this project.
Just incase I didn’t mention it several times before, go check out the website.