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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday March 26, 2021

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Rania Mouzakiti

Rania Mouzakiti

Marketing Specialist , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Sebastiaan ter Burg

Sebastiaan ter Burg

Knowledge Development Specialist , Europeana Foundation

Digital transformation requires strong leadership - introducing the DEN Academy Leadership programme pilot

How do we embed digital transformation in an institution? How do we make digital strategy a priority and influence policy-making? A new leadership programme, run by Europeana and the DEN Academy, aims to explore this question at an organisational level for the cultural heritage sector - find out how. 

Two pilots, a man and a woman, look at a map
Twee Nederlandse vliegers, waaronder Nelly Speerstra, bekijken de te vliegen route voor hun trainingstoestel.
1985 / 1990
Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie

Why we are running the pilot programme

From providing tools, services, and resources to organising events and workshops, digital transformation is the driving force of everything we do at Europeana. Our aim is to equip cultural heritage professionals with the skills and expertise to help their own institutions and the sector in its transition to digital.

So in collaboration with the DEN Academy, we are delighted to launch the pilot of a Leadership Programme on Digital Strategy & Innovation. It is based on a leadership programme that is already being carried out in the Netherlands and was developed in close cooperation with sector-wide advisory councils, archives, libraries, museums, provincial cultural heritage support organisations and digital cultural heritage hubs.The DEN Academy is founded by DEN, a Dutch knowledge institute for digitisation in the cultural sector, and training bureaus Injoin and MK5060 full circle projects. It aims to inspire cultural professionals to address strategic issues revolving around digital transformation. The pilot of the DEN Academy Leadership programme is part of Europeana’s capacity building activities

Leadership skills for a digital future

The programme is offered as a pilot because its goal is to collect recommendations on how to translate programmes to an international context and offer them in a financially sustainable way. Offering capacity building on an international scale presents unique challenges, like having to select the language in which a course is taught, cultural differences among the participants, or even differences in national laws that may affect one’s working environment. We hope to explore these challenges through the pilot.  

The pilot will focus on developing the leadership skills necessary to guide a cultural organisation towards its digital transformation. At this stage, it is targeted at decision makers and key stakeholders in organisations with substantial capacity to initiate and lead digital transformation. Participants already possess a high level of digital literacy and are in a position where they can demonstrate leadership in their organisation. The programme will take place during six half-day intensive training sessions in the next three months. It will provide the leaders of the participating organisations with a strategic toolbox, peer group sharing, and plenty of food for thought to equip them to lead digital transformation in a structured and impactful way, driven by the vision that digital transformation in the sector requires decisive leadership and dedicated action.

Top down digital capacity building

Through developing expertise, tools, policies, and encouraging partnerships that foster innovation, our aim is to transform the sector and contribute to an open, knowledgeable, digitally savvy and creative society. We always look for ways to accelerate digital transformation within the sector. Our approach is twofold: we offer bottom up support through helping professionals gain digital literacy and fluency, and top down support by encouraging organisations to shift their focus towards digital. For this, an organisational mindset and leadership skills geared towards digital transformation become essential, which is what this programme aims to achieve. 

Get involved 

The focus of the programme is to empower emerging digital leaders to create a solid digital strategy for their organisation, inspired by research and trends in digital transformation in the cultural sector. Two cohorts will receive training during this pilot. The first cohort is made up of participants of the Europeana Aggregators Forum. We wanted to work with this group to also get insight into how aggregators could be involved in delivering capacity building opportunities on a national or thematic level. A second cohort will begin in summer 2021, which will be open for all Europeana Network Association members to apply for.  

Based on these workshops, we will publish recommendations about building such programmes on an international scale in summer 2021. Keep an eye on our website and social channels to find out more about the outcomes. If you’d like to be considered for the second cohort of participants, you can join the Europeana Network Association and stay updated on the next call and much more. If you’d like to hear more about our work on building digital capacity, you can sign up to receive updates.