Submit Ideas: Digital Heritage Conference

During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Netherlands will host a conference on digital heritage. The conference will take place in Amsterdam, on 29 and 30 June 2016. The conference will address the future of digital and digitalized heritage, through three subthemes:

1. ‘Taking visibility and reuse as starting points’
2. ‘How digital networks are changing our institutions’
3. ‘Future development of a European service infrastructure’

A more detailed description can be found below. These three subthemes will be further explored in seminars and workshops. In order to compose a varied and internationally relevant programme, they are inviting suggestions from network partners, fellow European member states and any organisation with a connection to the theme.

They are specifically looking for interesting showcases, international best practices and inspiring speakers. Speakers who can address the challenges for initiators and/or who can address impacts on institutions working in cross-sectoral information networks. They welcome keynote speakers with either a theoretical or more practical, hands-on approach – with a background in either heritage, re-use of heritage, ICT and/or organisational change.

If you have any concrete suggestions, names and cases in the field of digital(isation of) heritage, reuse of heritage and well-functioning cross-sectoral information networks, please send them in. You are also invited to send in ideas or topics for breakout sessions. The break-out sessions will take place in the afternoon, and are planned to last one hour.

You can send your ideas to Hieke van der Voort ( Your suggestions can range from something as short as a single name, to an extended proposal for a seminar. Please do motivate your idea. The deadline for the Call for Ideas is 20 December 2015.
The audience will consist of civil servants from each of the European Member States, policy makers from the cultural sectors and representatives from the cultural industry/market.

Theme 1 – Taking visibility and reuse as the starting point

The purpose of digitisation is not digitisation in itself: it is meant to make heritage more accessible, and available to share with a much larger audience. Once digitised, it can be a building block for innovative products. It can reach audiences on online platforms, inside and outside the heritage sector. And it can be used or reused in other sectors for different purposes and goals, e.g. for educational purposes, historical reasons, academic or cultural purposes, or simply for aesthetic reasons. This will benefit not only schools and academics: the stories and images also find good use within the creative sector and tourism industry. Digital heritage is also steadily finding its way into the services of e-governments.

To increase the visibility and usage of digital heritage, it is important to seek out collaboration with these sectors. European policies and programs support European cooperation within academia (Horizon 2020), education (Opening up education, Erasmus+), creative industry (Creative Europe, Horizon 2020 and tools to support SME’s) and tourism (Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe, 2010).

For this theme we are looking to put together a programme which highlights state of the art initiatives, which increases the visibility and reuse of heritage in collaboration with partners inside and outside of the heritage sector. We are especially interested in collaborations with education, research, tourism, creative industry and government. Examples can be on a European scale or national level or anywhere in between.

Theme 2 – How digital networks are changing our institutions.

The constant development of ICT in our society promises a heritage sector that offers access to a wealth of collection just at the click of a mouse, and which effortlessly combines heritage objects from different backgrounds into new digital and online products. But for heritage professionals, being digital is easier said than done. In practice, being digital means working in national and international networks. This requires the right skills to collaborate internationally, and good cross-sectoral information networks. Having these skills is at least as important as having the right ICT infrastructure. Furthermore, digitisation has changed the way collections are being managed, and has increased the flow of information between professionals.

For this part of the programme we focus on the way the day to day working tasks of heritage professionals has changed with the advent of ICT. We are especially interested in speakers who can give a broader overview of changes in the job description of people working in the heritage industry. E.g. speakers who can address how in-depth knowledge of heritage objects needs to be combined with ICT skills; how heritage professionals collaborate on cross-sectoral projects, and/or who can give an outlook on the desired skillset of future heritage professionals.

Theme 3 – The future development of a European service infrastructure

Digitisation in the heritage sector has come a long way since the time the first computers made their way into institutions, and since the first digital scans were created. The sector has been pushed ahead by local initiatives, as well as the initiation of both national and European projects. The European Union supports coordinated action in the field of digital(isation) of heritage, to achieve the common European goal of connecting, accessing and preserving our digital heritage. Europeana was launched in this context (in 2008) as a common access point to Europe’s digital heritage: a European digital library, archive and museum.

While working towards a European convergence of digitisation of heritage, it becomes apparent that different member states have different needs. There are wide differences in the level of digitisation of collections, and different levels of institutionalisation in each member state. Each member state transforms in its own pace. At the same time, our societies are digitising at a high pace, creating new infrastructures and standards on a European scale. The discussion within this theme focusses on the objectives of European cooperation. There is a sense of responsibility for a common European infrastructure, but what do our institutions need from a central European service infrastructure for digital cultural heritage collections?

For this theme we are preparing a program that facilitates a discussion on the need for coordinated action on a European level. We are especially interested in proposals that combine organisational needs on a local level with options for coordination on a European scale. Proposals may concern best practices from inside the heritage domain or from other domains. Suggestions for interactive presentations or workshops are welcomed.

More Info

Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
Media and Creative Industry
Rijnstraat 50
Den Haag
P.O. Box 16735
2500 BJ The Hague
H.F. van der Voort