A summary of the content we produce:
- audio production
- oral history recording, digitising, transcription and archiving
- copy and scriptwriting/editing
- developing walking/cycling trails
- graphic design of interpretation panels and plaques, leaflets, digital mapping
- exhibition design (case study: Chase Through Time & MERL)
- film production (case study: Doncaster House Museum)
- 3D modelling (case study: Minehead Maritime Mile)
AT Creative was originally called 'Audio Trails' because when we first started it was the creation of downloadable audio trails for outdoor sites that we focussed on. To date we have produced well over 100 audio trails, although you may call them audio tours, audio guides, audio walks, podcast walks or something else entirely. Essentially, they are a journey of audio discovery, brought to life by a narrator, oral reminiscences, sound effects, music and/or characterisation. They add a layer of magic to any walk, trail or hike.
Audio trails are at their most engaging when they use the voices of people who know those stories best. We’ve interviewed hundreds of people so their stories can be shared. Soundbites from those recordings (and archives collecting dust) have been sympathetically used to create immersive and engaging audio trails and podcasts for a wide variety of clients. We also offer a digitisation service if you have oral histories recorded on to cassette tape.
We’ve recorded the memories of survivors and family members of those who lost their lives during the 1973 Lofthouse Colliery disaster. We’ve captured the stories of residents who were relocated to a new housing estate in Birmingham. We’ve interviewed wildlife experts in all manner of habitats, during all types of weather, and recorded history specialists discussing countless fascinating subjects. We’ve also recorded and archived a large library of sounds to add extra layers of authenticity to our audio trails and podcasts.
Each project contains a bit of our soul. Not all of them are oral history focussed, some are character based; scripts carefully written to engage with a particular audience. Visitors love our Goblin Gwladus audio trail in the Waterfalls area of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Audio from these projects have been shared on websites, apps and listening posts.
What makes content ‘interpretive’?
Developing interpretive content is an art. To be effective it takes great discipline and follows six principles set out by Freeman Tilden in his 1957 book ‘Interpreting our Heritage’. These still underpin our work today.
Early on in my career I was told to make every word, image and second of audio/video earn it’s place. Question your content over and over, then leave it to stew. Invariably, once you return after a leave of absence you will wonder why you’ve included some of it. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Test it on them. Use ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’ words. Don’t use any words if you don’t need to. Highlight words, explain tricky words (if you need them at all). Provoke. Spark curiosity. Make your story engaging. Less is often more.
Narratives often evolve during the course of developing content. Go with it. Sometimes you might need to be brave and change tack. Rarely can you predict what someone is going to tell you during an oral history interview; that perfect little soundbite that you could never have imagined. Don’t underestimate how powerful a story told first hand can be, especially an emotive subject.
Bringing all this together to create a piece of ‘heritage interpretation’ can be difficult, but we have the skills and expertise to ensure the content you share is informative, engaging and will leave them wanting more.