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Posted on Tuesday October 31, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Europeana Inclusive Engagement Guidelines

The Europeana Inclusive Engagement Guidelines set out the principles and guidelines that we, as the Europeana Initiative, agree to adhere to together with you, members of Europeana's Community.

Who are these guidelines for?

The Europeana Inclusive Engagement Guidelines set out the principles and guidelines that we, as the Europeana Initiative, agree to adhere to together with you, members of Europeana's Community. It outlines accountability measures that demonstrate how we plan to ensure that, whether you're at an event organised by Europeana, in a meeting with Europeana project partners, in a forum thread or in an email conversation, we are open, respectful and kind to one another.

What do they do?

The Inclusive Engagement Guidelines set out two pillars to facilitate mutually rewarding and respectful exchange: thoughtful communication and collaboration, and healthy conflict. For each pillar we set out what you can expect from us, and what we expect from you, to ensure that everyone feels welcome, heard and supported. For each pillar we describe how we'll hold ourselves and each other accountable, ensuring that what we describe here aren’t just empty words, but clear guidelines we can put into action.

How do they work?

This is a living webpage: our ways of interacting and using language are always changing, as is the context we work in. The Europeana Initiative holds itself accountable to return to these guidelines regularly and to update them to reflect changes in our own understanding and our surrounding context. If you want to provide feedback on these Guidelines, please do so by contacting [email protected].


When in communication with others in any physical or digital space, we will strive to hold thoughtful and considerate conversations. This means we will:

  • Listen (and read) with the same energy and focus with which we want to be heard;

  • Refrain from speaking over each other, in both physical and digital spaces;

  • Pause to collect our thoughts, observe who has not spoken before we speak, and invite others with relevant lived experience and expertise to contribute; and

  • Model active listening (ask clarifying questions and paraphrase what we have heard and/or read, after listening to learn, obtain information, and understand).

Every interaction is an opportunity to build or break down trust. We advocate for open and transparent communication by:

  • Asking people how they would like to be addressed ( for instance, by encouraging people to put their pronouns in their name on digital platforms);

  • Demonstrating vulnerability by sharing ideas and/or admitting when we do not understand something;

  • Sharing the why and how of our actions and decision-making processes;

  • Making sure everyone is aware and comfortable with meetings being recorded, with going into breakout groups, with audience interaction, etc.; and

  • Practising integrity by being honest about the facts.

We commit to an environment of belonging by creating and holding inclusive conversations. This means we will:

  • Embrace a learning mindset to become aware of our own biases, and have the courage to be curious about what we do not know or understand;

  • Offer multiple modes of engagement to ensure consistent and equitable feedback; and

  • Acknowledge that our opinion and perspective isn't the only one in the room, by holding space for multiple perspectives and lived experiences to influence what we do and why we do it.

We hold ourselves and each other accountable to these principles by:

  • Always offering participants the option to be a passive participant instead of an active one;

  • Always allowing for voluntary anonymous input or feedback;

  • Asking for input from those who have not participated yet to make sure everyone gets a voice.

If you find yourself experiencing a space or moment while engaging with Europeana that doesn't allow for the communication outlined above, please get in contact with the event organisers about this so we can make sure you are heard and we are held accountable. If you don't know who to contact or how to get in contact with someone, please send a message to [email protected].


When practising inclusive face-to-face or digital space communication and collaboration, we will engage in healthy conflict by:

  • Engaging in conflict prevention:
    • Being curious about the context and what is not being said;

    • Moving beyond the binary and embracing nuanced perspectives;

    • Calling those who might start a conflict into the conversation (rather than perpetuating shame and guilt by calling people out); and

    • Pausing the conversation or collaboration and creating space to actively listen and consider multiple perspectives.

  • Owning our errors, apologising, and making amends;

  • Maintaining that any person has the right to speak up and identify when a boundary has been crossed; and

  • Being prepared to act as an ally for those upholding the Inclusive Engagement Guidelines.

We hold ourselves and each other accountable to these principles by:

  • Following these steps for healthy conflict if this occurs during a public activity (meeting, event, webinar, workshop, conference, etc.): we will acknowledge the issue; pause the video and/or conversation to address the issue; continue the conversation on appropriate channels; listen to feedback, apologise, make amends, and share next steps openly with the network;

  • Taking individual responsibility to acknowledge areas of misstep and growth, listen, learn, apologise, and take steps to improve our individual conduct, communication, and collaboration;

  • Committing as an individual to not be defensive when called into conversation; and

  • Taking responsibility as an organisation to ensure we provide the guidance and support to hold and maintain safe and brave spaces and group accountability.

Lastly, we commit as the Europeana Initiative to reviewing the Inclusive Engagement Guidelines every year to ensure its language and guidance are clear, inclusive and up to date. This review will be conducted after Europeana's annual conference, will be overseen by the Europeana Diversity and Inclusion cross-team, and will get signed off by the Europeana Foundation Senior Management Team, the Europeana Network Association Member's Council, and the Europeana Management Board.