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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday September 19, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Beth Daley

Beth Daley

Editorial Adviser , Europeana Foundation

Goethe-Institut joins GIF IT UP with new special prize category

It’s almost October and that means it’s time to see artworks come to life in this year’s edition of the GIF IT UP competition! In 2023, the Goethe-Institut joins us to sponsor a special category - diversity and inclusion - and become one of our nine partners from around the globe supporting and sharing openly licensed collections to be remixed in myriad ways!

Five drawings, on the left a man in a suit with large lapels, which changes slightly with each drawing, and on the right a colourful butterfly.
Evolution of household articles, animals etc
Fr. Schmidt
Wellcome Collection
United Kingdom

GIF IT UP is an annual competition which challenges people to reuse digitised cultural heritage material to produce unique gifs and share them online.

Participants use the openly licensed paintings, photography and texts made available through and the digital libraries of our collaborators to create, submit, and share striking new GIFs. The competition encourages people to explore and remix cultural heritage material while also helping audiences to learn about image licensing in an interactive and fun way.

GIF IT UP is supported by GIPHY, the world's largest library of animated GIFs. GIFs created through the competition are featured on the site, helping bring the collections they are based on to even wider audiences.

Introducing the Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut, Germany’s cultural institute, operates worldwide, promoting knowledge of the German language abroad and fostering international cultural collaborations. Its cultural and educational programmes offer an opportunity to engage with themes and questions relevant to contemporary German culture and society. For GIF IT UP, the Goethe-Institut will be running GIF-making workshops and sponsoring a special prize category.

Special prize category

This year’s special prize category is ‘diversity and inclusion’, with prizes kindly donated by the Goethe-Institut. GIFs related to this theme might use artworks that highlight underrepresented individuals or communities, or might use more well-known pieces to shine a light on those traditionally missing from the story.

Gosia Cabaj, Head of Information Services Northwestern Europe, says, ‘At the Goethe-Institut we believe that diversity is a source of innovation and creativity. That’s why we facilitate culture exchange and promote multilingualism. We are very much looking forward to seeing the creative outcomes of the GIF IT UP competition!’

'Playing flute' by Nikola Terauda (Latvia), CC BY-SA, based on 'Untitled (Santhal Couple)' from DAG Museums, via GIPHY

Learning how to GIF

This year, in addition to our online resources, we’re hosting a series of workshops for students with the Goethe-Institut in schools and at their bases in London (register) and Amsterdam (register).

Running the London workshops is GIF enthusiast Nick Cave. Nick’s first involvement with GIF IT UP came as a participant in the competition. He loved it so much he became active in the GIF IT UP community, running workshops with us, and recently acting as animation mentor in Europeana’s Digital Storytelling Festival first Online Creative Residency. So when the invitation came to run this year’s workshop with the Goethe-Institut, Nick couldn’t resist.

Nick says, ‘What the GIF IT UP competition does is give anyone the ability to flex their creative, imaginative muscles and have some fun remixing, recolouring and bringing to life old scenes in new, innovative ways, by animating them together to produce modern creations. This is something I’ve always loved doing with classic artworks!’

In addition to these in-person workshops, we’re running an online event for all to join. Our ‘Make your first animated GIF’ workshop on 4 October will teach you how to find content to use for your GIF and will introduce you to simple GIF-making techniques using free and online tools.

And if that’s not enough, all our GIF-making workshops are available to watch again on Europeana Pro.

Get involved

If your collections are available through the Europeana website, and they’re openly licensed, they can be used for GIF IT UP! We invite you to find your most ‘giffable’ collections and promote them along with information about the GIF IT UP competition. All entries are credited on the GIF IT UP website, so you will be able to see the exciting ways that your content has been used - check out some examples from last year’s competition.

If your collections aren’t available through Europeana (find out how you can share your data ready for next time), but you would still like to get involved in the competition in 2023, you can:

  1. Follow #GIFITUP2023 on social media and help spread the word about the competition

  2. Join our GIF-making workshop on 4 October at 15:00 CET to boost your creative and GIF-making skills!

  3. Vote for your favourite entries to help them win the People’s Choice Award (you can do this on the GIF IT UP website from November)

GIF IT UP has been run by Europeana in close cooperation with Digital Public Library of America, Digital NZ and Trove since 2017. In 2020 new content partners joined the fun – Japan Search and DAG Museums in Kolkata, and in 2021 the Art Institute of Chicago. Last year we welcomed Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and Centro de Fotografía de Montevideo, and this year the Goethe-Institut comes on board. If you represent a cultural heritage institution based outside Europe and you would like to be involved next year, don’t hesitate to get in touch at!