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via GIPHY Screenshot from: Dissension - a GIF by Tobias Rothe. CC BY. Source material: Roma - Dett. della Creazione dell'uomo - Michelangelo - Cappella Sistina - Vaticano | Anderson, Fondazione Federico Zeri—Università di Bologna. Public domain.

Since 2008, Europeana has been an incredible force for positive change as an advocate, but much more importantly as a provider of essential infrastructure for sharing our common experience and cultural history.

The vision we share is one where the modern tools of our era can be brought to bear to ensure every single person has access to our collective commons of creativity and knowledge.

The internet is the most powerful platform for communication and collaboration in history; it has unleashed an incredible level of human engagement and expansion of knowledge. Despite the incredible human potential in the web, we see that knowledge is locked down more and more each day. Our human, political (and even commercial) interactions are becoming more acrimonious, strained and manipulated. To make sense of this world, we need to look to our past, and Europeana has been a leader in enabling this kind of powerful, delightful and essential inquiry. Our cultural artifacts and artistic works give us context for the modern era - they bear witness, offer criticism, disarm with satire, and speak truth to power. They are much more than art. They show who we were as a society and who we aspire to be.

Given this vital importance, in an era that is so deeply in need of the context, criticism and truth that culture can reveal, we need those works to be accessible. The tools to provide access to culture have never been more powerful or affordable, and each day they are getting better. The only things we lack are the will to use them and the means to implement them for the public good. Working in collaboration, we can realise this ambitious goal, as we have done together many times before.

And so again, to our past we look to find our future: together.

Discover more perspectives on the future of digital culture from our ten cultural innovators