Vienna hosts ViMM conference about the future of Digital Cultural Heritage

Digital is everywhere – it is how these words have reached you – but on 14-15 February in Vienna experts from around Europe are looking at it from a European perspective. Among the experts contributing to the ViMM – Virtual Multimodal Museum closing conference is Graham Bell, Board member of Europa Nostra.

ViMM – Virtual Multimodal Museum, funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, is an initiative of the UNESCO Chair of Digital Cultural Heritage based at the Cyprus University of Technology. The meeting is converting two years’ research and consultation into strategic guidance for the European Commission and the wider cultural heritage community on the future direction of Digital Cultural Heritage. The outcome will be a 5-year EU Roadmap and Action Plan for research, education and international co-operation.

Europa Nostra’s contribution is in how digital enhances understanding of our European cultural heritage, its places, traditions and stories. 2018 was an awakening of values and influences as European Year of Cultural Heritage. The motivation of ‘Sharing Heritage’ was possible through communicating our ‘Europeanness’, and today, communication in the real world is often channelled through digital media, reaching more people in more ways in which their sharing of their experiences has most meaning. It offers a form of liberation of expression not previously possible.

Heritage in Motion Best Achievement Award Winner 2018

Despite this potential, digital is still a mystery for many. The purpose of the gathering in Vienna is to demystify digital without losing its potency to tell a good story, or bring to life past realities through archaeology, or study objects too fragile to touch. The context of Europa Nostra’s contribution is to explore this within the full spectrum of its interests, building on its work with Heritage in Motion and the influence of digital celebrated through its Awards. But most important is the legacy of 2018 and where it can lead.

The climax of European Year of Cultural Heritage was not a conclusion but an invocation. The Berlin Call to Action: Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe impresses upon all of us to raise and maintain the role of cultural heritage in European society, especially by embedding cultural heritage in EU policy and through empowerment, enabling benefits for all. 2018 demonstrated that communication in the modern world is a revelation of our cultural heritage in new ways through digital media. Europa Nostra, as the ‘Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe’, is working with ViMM to ensure that voice is heard through a digital Berlin Call and the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage.

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