The PeruDigital project presents and interprets Peruvian festivals and folklore through the medium of the Internet. Based primarily on archive materials from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru-Lima’s (PUCP) Institute of Ethnomusicology (IDE) as well as fieldwork conducted by the PeruDigital team, the project is a collaboration between individual faculty and students in the fields of Digital Media (including Character Animation), Anthropology, and Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish). The project has been supported over the years by internal UCF funding and logistical support from multiple departments and offices (see “Support” tab under “About Us” on PeruDigital’s Website) as well as by the PUCP, and has produced a pilot project Website which has been through one cycle of iterative development and has produced to date eleven publications and conference presentations. In addition, the project was used as a model in teaching graduate Visual Anthropology coursework in 2012 at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru-Lima. The most recent addition to the Website has been the addition of a curriculum and quiz based on the Website materials and organized according to three social roles: ethnographer-as-researcher, the artist-as-performer, and the sponsor-as-community builder. This curriculum is designed to encourage Website users to adopt these points of view as they move through the digital environment. We have recently completed an internal seed funding grant to study the acquisition of cultural learning within the interactive environment, and are seeking external funding for an exploratory project to integrate educational game mechanics into the Website, which will be available in English, Spanish, and Quechua (the latter translation is made possible by UCF Spanish Instructor Norma Ledesma).
PeruDigital began in 2007-2008 as a partnership between folklorist and digital media scholar Natalie Underberg-Goode and the late anthropologist and Andean Studies scholar Elayne Zorn. Partnership-building and research trips in 2007-2008 set the foundation for collaboration between UCF and PUCP, and allowed for the selection of archive materials to be used in the project. The next couple of years involved initial prototype development, including consultations with advisors and working with a largely student-led production team. With the completion of a prototype of two interactive environments, each featuring a limited number of scenes, characters, and objects, we were able to show the project to our international, interdisciplinary advisory board for evaluation. In the following years we have focused our efforts on redesigning portions of the Website based on advisory board and student designer feedback and designs (the latter was the subject of a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning or SoTL project co-led by PeruDigital Art Director and Character Animation Instructor Jo Anne Adams and Underberg-Goode), and creating and evaluating a curriculum for the Website (completed in collaboration with UCF Education Instructor Carolyn Hopp and PUCP Anthropology associate professor María Eugenia Ulfe).