“Shaping Access! More Responsibility for Cultural Heritage” in the European Year of Cultural Heritage – a Conference review
By Wiebke Hauschildt (Online editor)
Harry Verwayen, the newly appointed Europeana director and successor to Jill Cousins, opens this year's eighth "Shaping Access!" conference at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin with his keynote “The role of culture in the digital transformation of Europe". The "average tennis player, half-decent cook and aspiring photographer", if one can believe his biography, emphasizes first of all that he is also an opportunist (if necessary) and a pragmatist, and thus also tackles the fundamental issues facing the European cultural sector these days.
The European Heritage Year 2018 Sharing Heritage, above all, we as culture professionals should not take lightly, says Verweyen and gives numbers: The European creative industry contributes 500 billion Euros annually to the European economy. It is the largest employer for young people in Europe. But if culture really has these transformative powers, what we never get tired of emphasising, then why do we not make more of it?
The keynote by Verwayen asks important questions: Everyone is talking about the digital transformation. But what exactly shall be transformed and how? If digitisation has such a high relevance, why are only 10 percent of the cultural heritage digitised and only 36 percent available online? The metaphor of the iceberg finds its right to exist here as well. And at the same time, we have the unique opportunity to shape the future of our European heritage – what is really important: We have to shape this future, the digital transformation and everything that belongs to it to our own conditions.
European Cultural Heritage for all!
These two conference days on 25 and 26 October 2018 are all about the commonalities, but also about the challenges and problems that the digitisation of the cultural heritage of an entire continent entails. A look at this Europe is taken from the outside, for example by the new director of the Deutsches Filminstitut und Filmmuseum (German Film Institute and Film Museum), Ellen M. Harrington, a native of the United States, or Dr. Ping Kong, International Project Advisor by trade at the UNESCO WHITRAP, native Chinese. And there is the view from the inside: May it be from Dr. Uwe Koch, head of the DNK branch office and national coordinator of the European Heritage Year, or Elly Köpf, project manager for education at Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. And the list of speakers goes much further.
Related to one point, however, most agree: The younger audience needs new approaches, the topic of mediating our cultural heritage is a central issue for many speakers. Harrington sees it as essential that young people learn in a media-saturated world how images can construct a narrative. Koch is calling for using the impulses and experiences of this European cultural heritage to further strengthen the field of teaching and emphasizes that teaching deserves the same value as research.
Exciting projects of teaching will also be presented on the morning of the second day in the panel “Einheit in Vielfalt – Neue Wege der Vermittlung” ("Unity in a multitude - new ways of teaching"). From the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archives) and its source portal “Weimar – Die erste deutsche Demokratie” ("Weimar – The First German Democracy") to the "heirlooms" of the Goethe-Institute, the Europeana, the joint project museum4punkt0 by the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) (among others) and the teaching programs of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) such as the lab.Bode , which makes children to curators and co-workers of the Berlin Bode Museum: Unbelievably exciting mediation work is planned at many houses or is already in full swing. At the end of this article you will find a link list for browsing. It is worth it!
A perennial issue in conferences is the question of the legal framework conditions when it comes to make the cultural heritage accessible on the Internet. In the panel “Bilderloses Europa” ("Imageless Europe"), the lawyer Nils Rauer of the law firm Hogan Lovells in Frankfurt discusses the litigation of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library) with the VG Bild-Kunst in his lecture “Visualisierung von Kultur im Netz” ("Visualisation of Culture in the Net"). Most recently, the Court of Appeal in Berlin decided in June 2018 in favour of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek on the question of whether "framing prevention technologies" must be used in order to conclude a license agreement with VG Bild-Kunst.
As in previous years, the two conference days of the 8th "Shaping Access!" were marked by exciting lectures and discussions on the most various aspects when it comes to make cultural heritage available. Even if there was not always general agreement, the common will to search and find solutions was in the foreground.
We would like to thank all participants, speakers and the organizers and look forward to the next year!
Projects and websites
Bundesarchiv Quellenportal "Weimar - Die erste deutsche Demokratie"
The project "museum4punkt0"
The conference will be presented this year by the Bundesarchiv, the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library), the Deutsches Filminstitut, the Deutsches Nationalkomitee für Denkmalschutz (German National Committee for Monumental Protection), digiS – Servicestelle Digitalisierung Berlin (Service Centre Digitalisation Berlin), iRights.info, the Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt (Jewish Museum Frankfurt), the Stiftung Historische Museen Hamburg (Historic Museums Hamburg Foundation), the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Wikimedia Germany and the ZKM Karlsruhe (Center of Art and Media Karlsruhe).
Directed by: Dr. Paul Klimpel
The conference is under the patronage of the German UNESCO Commission e.V.