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The Digital Humanities and GLAM communities are expanding their efforts to make digital cultural heritage openly available. As a consequence, it is becoming increasingly important to experiment with novel, agile and human-centred formats that can facilitate the exchange of expertise and opportunities for data (re)use. This need is made even more pressing by the highly collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of projects based on heritage data and by the nature of heritage data themselves.

We experimented with an event format new to the GLAM sector: the masterclass. In the way we mean it, a masterclass is a one-day free event focused on a specific theme and hosted by a cultural institution with a direct interest in it. The event was built on the presence of renowned experts as well as the involvement of researchers and heritage professionals engaged in projects that benefit from digital heritage resources. During the day, the participants presented their work and brainstormed together, while experts facilitated the surfacing of solutions to the challenges that the participants experience in carrying out their projects. 

Why masterclasses? The exchange of ideas and expertise should be easier than it currently is. We believe that an external, expert viewpoint can very rapidly spot opportunities for the improvement of a project, where its members might struggle at achieving the same objective due to their continuous focus on the subject. In essence, we designed masterclasses to foster productive encounters around digital cultural heritage.

This event took place on the 25th of May, when discussed this event format and present our plan for three masterclasses that will take place in Spring 2022 with the support of Europeana Research. The speakers – who will be also the experts invited to the masterclasses – focus on citizen-engaged heritage science; participatory education and training with digital cultural heritage; the organisation and mentoring of effective multidisciplinary research groups. While the primary target audiences of the webinar were scholars and heritage professionals, everyone was welcome to the discussion. The video outputs are licensed CC-BY-SA.

Session 1

  • 15:00 Welcome by CREATE (Julia Noordegraaf, UvA) and Europeana Research (Alba Irollo, Europeana Foundation), followed by an introduction to “Masterclasses for Open Digital Cultural Heritage” (Giovanni Colavizza, UvA)
  • 15:15 Citizen-engaged heritage science (Mia Ridge, British Library)
  • 15:30 Participatory education and training with digital cultural heritage (Stefania Scagliola, University of Luxembourg)
  • 15:45 Organizing and mentoring effective multidisciplinary research groups (James Smithies and Arianna Ciula, King’s College London)
  • 16:00 Break

Session 2

  • 16:15 Moderated panel discussion + Q&A
  • 16:50 End