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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday July 17, 2015

Updated on Friday July 13, 2018

#CultJam15: Where cultural heritage and creative industries came together

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On 9-10 July, the Austrian National Library in Vienna hosted Europeana Creative's Culture Jam, bringing together cultural innovators from across Europe to share ideas, knowledge and inspiration. Here, Elisabeth Stricker and Kristin Dill from the Austrian National Library update us on a busy and exciting two days.

Inspiring presentations and talks, colourful posters in the exhibition space, animated chatting during lunch breaks, delighted faces experimenting with the interactive exhibition Culture Cam - the final showcase of the Europeana Creative project proved that it was much more than just another conference.

‘The Crypto Cosmic Culture Jam’



CC-BY-SA Ingrid Oentrich (Austrian National Library)

Breandán Knowlton, the charming Master of Ceremonies of “#CultJam15”, elegantly conducted proceedings, with over 60 speakers and keynotes taking to the stage over the two days of the conference in Vienna. The first day kicked off with an engaging keynote from Michael Edson, ‘The Crypto Cosmic Culture Jam’, who told us that the Internet is mostly dark matter and that cultural heritage organisations actually have no idea what is out there and what our users want. But is this true? With this question in mind we threw ourselves into colourful worlds of creative re-use conjured up by Europeana Creative’s Pilots and Challenge Winners and of course the super-talented Pre-Jam Ambassadors.

The projects and ideas on display showed us the beauty that can be created out of European(a) content. Presentations in the session on the Business of Culture explored how crowdfunding can unlock the business potential of cultural heritage collections and presented successful strategies to get investors involved. It made us think, too, about how labs are like playgrounds, inviting people to use their imagination. We glimpsed into the wonderful world of Etsy, where the customer is the curator, and we discussed eCulture in Smart Cities with the need to engage in new business models, and reach new audiences.

Interactivity and hands-on experience


CC-BY-SA Ingrid Oentrich (Austrian National Library)

For those who wanted to get actively involved, the workshops and Chef’s table discussions in the parallel sessions provided the perfect real-life playground. An intrigued crowd joined thought-provoking discussions and found opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas on lawful re-use of high quality data, using external platforms like YouTube, Flickr and Wikipedia to increase cultural and social impact. Partners platoniq and goteo, shared their co-creation experience and taught us what crowdfunding is all about. And if you wanted to personally experience the excitement of the Europeana Creative Pilots, it was possible to interact with the Culture Cam exhibit or reenact a painting in a ‘VanGo Yourself’ session.

Diableries Brought to life

The first day ended with a Rock n’ Roll re-use: we donned our 3D glasses and sat back to watch the short film One Night in Hell, which brought Brian May’s Diableries (stereoscopic photographs from the 1860s) collection to life, sending shivers down our spine. Afterwards, everyone was invited to the famous Vienna Ottakringer Brewery, awarding those with the best feedback on the pitches during day one, as well as giving people the chance to carry out some serious networking accompanied by the beats of the local DJ collective ‘Grätzlsound’.


CC-BY-SA Max Kaiser (Austrian National Library)

‘Museums without Walls’

The next day started off as energetically as the previous one ended: keynote Lev Manovich let us discover patterns in human society with intriguing animations and compilations of cultural heritage material but also through the selfies we share online. Get your API ready, because people are waiting!

Other ideas that got people talking revolved around the future of heritage and creativity, and defining what we mean by niche communities; they aren’t necessarily small or rare, sometimes just specialised. We were told not to forget that commerce and heritage are two hemispheres of the same brain; but which half do we use? We ended this session with a heated Oxford Debate on whether public budget cuts are good for heritage. As with all good debates, the opposing sides agreed only to disagree!


CC-BY-SA Ingrid Oentrich (Austrian National Library)

‘Disrupting History’

After two days of intense, open discussion, encouraged by a creativity-fuelled atmosphere, it was time to enjoy the last keynote and follow Retronaut Chris Wild into the past you wouldn’t believe. He introduced us to the S.P.E.E.D methodology and how content can go viral. You want to know how S.P.E.E.D can make your user base grow exponentially? Then check our website! We already uploaded all presentations and video footage and the pictures of the conference will be available soon!

So what does the future of heritage and creativity look like? Europeana Creative Culture Jam proved to be an excellent platform for tackling hard questions about the creative re-use of cultural heritage, and for finding some inspiring answers too - the interactive process definitely got the community thinking!

The Europeana Creative Culture Jam was more than a celebration of all that Europeana Creative has achieved - it was a peek into the future of things to come! It brought together new talent and experienced hands, as well as technical and creative minds, to collaboratively prepare and develop new paths for the future. It was a chance to make sure we build on the lessons we have learned and share this knowledge for others for (re)-use. The project Europeana Creative has ended, but the Pilots and incubated projects, as well as ideas and inspiration, will carry on.

Find all the presentations on the Europeana Creative Culture Jam website.

Contributors: Susanne Tremml, Imogen Greenhalgh, Milena Popova, Lizzy Komen, Max Kaiser

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