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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday May 29, 2019

portrait of Beth Daley

Beth Daley

Editorial Adviser , Europeana Foundation

Europeana Communicators - how we're helping each other be better communicators

Adopted into the Europeana Network Association last August as one of its six specialist communities, Europeana Communicators now has over 100 members, and has recently welcomed a new steering group. Find out who's who, what we've been doing, and what's coming up! Maybe even join us!

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What we want to do

We've laid out an action plan (using Google Slides) that we update on a quarterly basis. In it, we outline two overall goals, which are fairly broad, and then suggest specific actions for the upcoming quarter that contribute to achieving them. Our goals are to:

  1. Promote digital cultural heritage - create and share examples from around the world demonstrating that access to and use of digital cultural heritage (via Europeana or elsewhere) is critical, both for the sector and wider society.

  2. Be the best comms people we can be - support each other’s professional activities and development by sharing knowledge, expertise, and examples of communications tools and best practice.

Why do we do this? What's the bigger picture?

By supporting each other to be the most effective communicators we can be, and by sharing examples of digital cultural heritage in action, we are building an evidence base that will encourage policymakers at both national and European levels to put digital cultural heritage at the heart of their discussions about the future.

Our steering group - who's who

The steering group is led by Peter Soemers as chair, Susan Hazan as co-chair and Beth Daley as manager. For individual activities, we then split into sub-groups according to our own interests, experience and capacity. That way, we try to spread the workload so that, over time, it will be carried equally by all steering group members.

So what motivated our steering group members to put themselves forward?

Marianna Marcucci joins us as a Communication (Digital) Strategist in marketing and innovation for the travel and culture industries in Italy. 'I joined the steering group because I found there the same drivers of my motivation: Diversity. Change. Innovation. Added-value creation. Future. What inspires me to work every day to build the future, believing, as I do that through culture and communication it is possible to make society and the world better. Empowerment through collaboration, in business and in life, is the key to success. I’m excited to start working with this incredible group of professionals!'

Vaya Papadopoulou, a history teacher in Greece, says, 'Europe’s cultural heritage is crucial to be taught at schools. And teachers have a key role to play in that: to encourage children to experience our shared cultural heritage, inside and outside the class. Through this focus and as a newly elected member of Europeana’s Communicators steering group, my ambition is to promote digital cultural heritage among teachers in order to enable their students to realise that, within our European identity, diversity - not only cultural - is our richness and strength. That could inspire their young learners and citizens to become the ‘guardians’ of our European cultural heritage in the future.'

What have we achieved so far this year?

Our achievements so far include:

  • Sending out a monthly newsletter. Subscriber numbers have doubled to over 100 since we became an official ENA community. The newsletter contains information about Europeana campaigns, as well as comms/marketing news from the cultural heritage sector and social media tips.
  • Setting up a members' map and creating a how-to video so other communities can do the same. We hope that such maps will help community members find others close to them so they can meet up, exchange ideas and be productive together!
  • Producing a hashtag infographic to help communicators contribute to International Women's Day and Women's History Month in March. 
  • Running a successful election campaign for the steering group and making a great start as an enthusiastic and dedicated team.
  • Running a survey to find out more about who our members are, what they do and what they want.

What tools do we use?

As a community, we want to explore new tools for communications, and so we're getting hands-on with that by testing out Zoom for our monthly video calls and Taskade for organising our activities. We use MailChimp for our monthly newsletters, and have tested out Loom for the how-to video, Canva for the infographic, SurveyMonkey for the election and member survey and Google My Maps for the members' map. We also have a LinkedIn group all members are encouraged to join.

What have we learned?

We've learned that when action planning, bold ideas are great, but it's a good idea to include small, specific actions that members can act on straightaway and that require little effort or time. And for bigger ideas, remember that things often take longer than you anticipate and your members are all contributing on a voluntary basis whilst also performing their day job(s). Give yourselves plenty of time. 

What are we doing next?

Our current activities include:

  • Coordinating our community's contribution to the planning of Europeana 2019 - the Europeana conference in Portugal in November with the theme 'Connect communities'. We're looking forward to working with other community steering groups to plan and deliver useful, interesting and enjoyable workshops and activities.
  • Planning a 'Solve-it session' on the theme of digital storytelling in the summer. It'll take the form of a webinar with a speaker or two addressing aspects of communicating about culture in digital ways that members can learn from and hopefully apply to their own roles. We'll release more details of when, where and who a little later.
  • Working with the Europeana Foundation's Collections team on how to support future 'seasons' following on from the successful Women's Season in March. 

What can you do now?

There are always things you can do (whether you join us or not) to help raise the profile of digital cultural heritage.

  • Look out for and share examples of digital cultural heritage improving lives.

  • Share your organisation’s news with us so that we can share it again via our newsletters and other channels to harness a multiplier effect.

  • Look out for helpful digital tools that can help us be more efficient and productive communicators.

Join us! For the greatest benefit become a Europeana Network Association member, making sure to tick the box to join the Europeana Communicators community. If you're already an ENA member, or you don't want to be, you can still sign up for our newsletter and join us on LinkedIn.

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