Visiting the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin, June 2018 - Visions for Cultural Heritage and Digital Platforms

Returning from the capital of Germany, I wanted to share some insights and reflections gathered during the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin, in particular from the event Visions For Cultural Heritage and Digital Platforms at the Zuse Institute, TU Berlin, 21 June 2018.

The European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin was one of the key public events of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH). The summit brought together cultural heritage professionals, a wide variety of stakeholders and cultural heritage institutions, representatives from EU Institutions and Member states, to inform and discuss the cultural climate of Europe in 2018. 

#EuropeanHeritageSummit #visionCH #EuropeForCulture

What I want to share with you here are some thoughts about the one day conference Visions For Cultural Heritage and Digital Platforms. A good mix of people who knew what they were talking about came together at the event; and it was small enough to engage in good conversation and make new connections.

The breadth of perspectives was maybe best demonstrated in the closing panel debate which included Michel Magnier from DG EAC, Harry Verwayen from Europeana, Astrid Müller from German Digital Library -DDB, Neil Forbes from Coventry University/REACH project and Antonella Fresa from the Photoconsortium. 

They all formulated different visions for the future, talked about democratisation and access, about Europe becoming/being a digital colony of Silicon Valley if we don't step up the game and invest in innovation more substantially to become an equal player. Some would like to see culture being broadened so that its creation and care does not appear as a task for cultural institutions only. It was mentioned that it would be useful to have less separation between tangible and intangible culture, and to see digital cultural heritage as a new kind of culture within that, which can enable new collaborations and possibilities for debate. There is a strong hope that digital means can improve accessibility and broaden audiences. However, the importance was stressed to uphold values of authenticity and credibility specifically in the digitisation process.

A good, heated debate. I sometimes wonder how much the term digital heritage will uphold in the future. The distinction between digital and physical is becoming less and less defined and useful. We move within digital and analog spheres all the time, and they both continuously reference each other. My hope for the future is that we stop talking about digital heritage and get on with the important job to share and interpret our culture to create stronger, more sustainable communities with a global outlook.

During the conference different projects were showcased and discussed. Here are some examples which have synergies with CINE:

What struck me most was that all these projects are developing digital platforms to disseminate their outcomes such as toolkits and guidelines. All of these seem to be gathering places of content in the first part of the project which are then supposed to turn into communication platforms with a broad use at a later stage. Where will this development end? And can we not bring efforts together and do something broader and more impactful?