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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday April 28, 2021

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Nienke van Schaverbeke

Nienke van Schaverbeke

Product Manager Heritage & Research , Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision

portrait of Georgia Evans

Georgia Evans

Senior Editorial Officer , Europeana Foundation

Professionals in Focus - Nienke van Schaverbeke

Europeana Members Councillors have diverse jobs and wide experience across the heritage sector, but are united by their passion for digital cultural heritage. In our ‘Professionals in Focus’ series, we speak to Europeana Network Association Members Councillors about their roles, working lives and plans for their time on the Members Council. This month, Nienke van Schaverbeke discusses the inspiring projects she is working on at Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and her excitement for Europeana Sport!

Nienke van Schaverbeke
Nienke van Schaverbeke at Past:Forward Conference, Erfgoed Brabant
Sebastiaan ter Burg

How did you enter your profession? 

After a career in academic publishing, working with scholars across the globe to publish their research in the area of international law and human rights, I joined The European Library in 2012. As many in our network will remember, The European Library was Europeana’s dedicated library aggregator that provided the digital collections from all of Europe’s national libraries to Europeana and one of the largest contributors of data to Europeana. I have been in the cultural heritage sector ever since, working with cultural heritage organisations to make their collections more accessible to wider audiences.

What are you currently working on? 

As a Product Manager at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision I work on a wide range of national and international projects, including going back to my roots as a publisher overseeing two open access journals published by our institute, VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture and TMG Journal for Media History. In support of heritage institutions in The Netherlands that hold AV collections, I am managing AVA_Net, the network organisation focused on gathering and sharing knowledge around audio-visual archiving processes. We organise regular (online) knowledge sharing sessions and an annual Symposium (24 June, 2021) for the network. 

Alongside these activities I am working on the Europeana Sport CEF Generic Services project and MediaNumeric, an Erasmus+ project that our institute is very proud to coordinate. It aims to educate a new generation of journalists and multimedia makers, giving them the tools to help create a user-driven, fair and balanced, economically sustainable and technologically advanced European media ecosystem.

I am also actively involved in the Dutch Digital Heritage Network, under which umbrella we are developing a Makers Programme together with Het Nieuwe Instituut to encourage makers to work with the beautiful collections of our heritage institutions and to ensure that institutes are better equipped to work with makers. Creating and inspiring the world with new stories and insights!

What are some of the challenges in your role? What are some of your favourite elements?

Digitisation is changing society and the impact of heritage is bigger than ever so, the biggest challenge is that there is so much to do and we never seem to have enough time! On the other hand, what I am working on is incredibly rewarding, particularly working cross domain, nationally and internationally across projects. Learning from each other and making a difference is what gives me energy. 

At the moment I am excited to launch a Makers Programme in The Netherlands that we are kicking off with some cool online sessions for makers and cultural heritage institutions. I am of course also very much looking forward to the summer of sports (Tour de France, Olympics, European Football Championship) and the stories we can tell around this theme! Did you know that this year marks the 125th anniversary of the Olympics? Together with the Europeana Foundation Collections Engagement Team we are cooking up some nice ideas, so keep an eye out for a shot of sporting culture on Europeana!

What was your motivation for joining the Members Council? 

I believe in the Europeana Initiative and I feel passionate about making culture accessible for all, having seen what Europeana can do for the sector. Having worked within the Europeana eco-system for eight years I believe in empowering each other, sharing best practices and interacting; sometimes painful and sometimes challenging, always rewarding! 

What do you plan to do as a Members Councillor? 

As a Members Councillor I will work to engage, involve and connect people and knowledge, discuss and make visible what the sector is truly in need of and ensure Europeana is there to support and inspire. I will work on supporting heritage institutions in making their digital collections more accessible, telling stories with their collections, allowing others to work with their collections and showing how essential digital and culture are for society and our wellbeing. 

I second my fellow Members Councillor, Cosmina Berta from the DDB, in saying that it is time for the second wave, 10 years after the EU’s call for a ‘New Renaissance’ that brought us Europeana. Therefore to see Europeana being positioned at the heart of a data space for cultural heritage in the new plans of the European Commission, as well as cultural heritage playing a key role in the New European Bauhaus initiative confirms what I have known for some time now, what better advocate for digital cultural heritage could the sector ask for than Europeana! #AllezCulture!