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Save the Date: Shaping Access! A Difficult Legacy


The international conference “Zugang gestalten! Mehr Verantwortung für das kulturelle Erbe” (“Shaping Access! – More responsibility for cultural heritage”) will take place in the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt am Main for the eleventh time on 4th and 5th November 2021. This year, under the title of “Schwieriges Erbe” (A Difficult Legacy), the conference will deal with historical evidence of human rights violations, racism, antisemitism and homophobia. As in the past, the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek is a project partner in the conference and will also participate by leading a panel discussion. Click here to register.

DNB, Stephan Jockel, CC BY 4.0
<em> Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Stephan Jockel, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.de"> (CC BY 4.0</a>) </em>

In the past years, questions on strategies for the future and the sustainability of digitisation in archives, libraries and museums, among other things, as well as reciprocal cross-linking, even across European borders, have been discussed. This year, the focus of the conference is on dealing with difficult cultural heritage.

For it is not only that which is beautiful, true and good which belongs to cultural heritage, but also evidence of racism, antisemitism and homophobia. Colonial heritage also belongs to cultural heritage and includes propaganda and inflammatory writings as well as buildings or statues which were erected with nationalistic intentions and which today are preserved as monuments on the one hand, but must be re-contextualised on the other hand. Evidence of human rights violations also belongs to cultural heritage, where the question arises as to whether the exhibition of this deepens it still further.

How should we deal with such evidence, with this heritage? Should it be made freely accessible, or be hidden in “poison cabinets”? How can, may and must such documents be contextualised? How are other countries dealing with this evidence?

The 11th international conference “Zugang gestalten!” will deal with these questions in the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt am Main on 4th and 5th November. The conference will take place on site in the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. So that all interested persons can participate despite corona restrictions, the programme will also be available online as a live stream.

The Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek is not also only a co-organiser of the conference this year, but also a co-designer: on the 2nd day of the conference, the acting manager of the DDB branch office, Prof. Monika Hagedorn-Saupe, will present a panel on the topic “Dealing with colonial heritage”, which will include, among other things, presentations on the three-way strategy of the Federal Government and the Federal States for the indexing and digital publication of collection items from colonial contexts as well as on the topic of colonial heritage in the art museum.

You can find the complete, provisional programme of the conference, including the conditions for participation, here.

The conference is supported by the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), the Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives), the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library), the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum (German Film Institute & Film Museum), the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library), the Deutsches Nationalkomitee für Denkmalschutz (German National Committee for the Protection of Historical Monuments), the Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt (Jewish Museum Frankfurt), the Forschungs- und Kompetenzzentrum Digitalisierung Berlin (Digis) (Research and Competence Centre for Digitisation Berlin), the iRights e.V. (Registered Association for Information Rights), the Stiftung Historische Museen Hamburg (Hamburg Historical Museums Foundation), Wikimedia Deutschland and the ZKM Karlsruhe (ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe).