InterArts Alumna takes lead role in coordinating archaeology project in Qatar that will use unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography.

Diane Derr, Assistant Professor and Media Technology Coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar (VCUQatar), has been named co-leader of “Visiualizing Qatar’s Past,” an innovative project using photography, infrared data capture, and video recording to provide greater access to important historical and archaeological sites. The project aims to create video fly-through and graphic plan-like presentations of multiple geographic regions throughout the country, ones which are key to understanding the country’s diverse and lengthy cultural heritage.

This will be one of the first times the latest UAV technology, the Draganfly X8, will be to carry out archaeological survey photography. Instead of relying on satellite images or expensive aerial photography, the project team will be able to search for new sites, investigate known sites, and monitor national historical buildings whenever it is required, without regard for water or terrain.

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Derr, who received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media from Columbia College Chicago in 2007, has previously done work that utilizes the moving image as material. Exploring the narratology of trans-media, Diane’s work considers the space between the real and the fictional representation through the appropriation of still and moving imagery and the adaptation of structural, editorial, and production frameworks. Using new technologies to “contribute to the preservation of Qatar’s heritage will be an incredibly rewarding endeavor,” says Derr.