To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Univ. prof. receives $300,000 to document sacred spaces

The project Boston’s Hidden Sacred Spaces, a program which supports spiritual missions in secular places in the greater Boston area according to their website, has received a $300 thousand award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), according to a BrandeisNOW article. Through the use of 3D technologies, the project is able to record and preserve sacred spaces documented by the team in the greater Boston area.

Wendy Cadge (SOC/WGS), professor of sociology and incoming dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Alice Friendman, architectural historian and Randall Armor, a photographer are documenting sacred spaces in the Greater Boston Area, according to their website. The project intends to provide a view of “life and history of the city from a sacred edge.” The trio is working with Ian Roy ’05, director for Research Technology and Innovation at the Brandeis MakerLab, according to the BrandeisNOW article, in order to map sacred spaces using 3D and interactive technologies. The Brandeis MakerLab offers broad access to innovation technologies to have a positive impact on the greater community, according to their page, they use this technology in projects, “that develop new forms of culture and craft in a collaborative setting.” 

The Brandeis MakerLab used Digitizing and 3D scanning, according to their Research Technology and Innovation page, this technology allows for the digitization of places in the real world. They have also used augmented reality technology, which consists of software for building virtual reality environments. The technology used for this project is commonly used in other archeological, architectural and religious studies, according to the BrandeisNOW article

With this technology, the Boston’s Hidden Spaces team also intends to work with clergy members, scholars and public radio journalists to create a podcast series which tells the story of the spaces they are documenting, according to a BrandeisNOW article. The audience will be able to move around spaces, with the augmented reality technology from the MakerLab and hear audio of the stories of the sacred spaces, according to the BrandeisNow article

The NEH provides financial awards for research, education, preservation and other public programs in the humanities, according to the National Endowment for the Humanities page. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their plans to distribute $135 million to cultural programs that have been halted.

The project started on Jan.1 2021, according to the BrandeisNOW article, and is anticipated to be finished by 2022. The final product will be available on Boston’s Hidden Sacred Spaces website and on the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab’s website, according to the BrandeisNOW article
Cadge was awarded a $100 thousand outright grant from the NHE in December 2018 for the project Mapping Religious Transformation in Boston’s Hidden Sacred Spaces, according to the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Awards and Offers document. The description of the project was to create, “a mobile application, a website and related radio programs that explore religious life in Boston through sacred spaces of public buildings,” according to the document. For the project Cadge partnered with Michael Epstein, from Walking Cinema, as well as other scholars from across different disciplines within the humanities, according to the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab page. The project was set to run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.

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