The meetings: strengthening current partnerships and creating new ones
As we enter a new and exciting phase of our work, we are revamping our Stakeholders' Engagement strategy to strengthen current partnerships and create new ones, striving for even greater impact and relevance. Over two days and as part of these efforts, the Europeana Foundation team met with a group of key decision-makers in Brussels with responsibilities for culture and digital cultural heritage. This included Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education; Lauriane Bertrand, Member of Cabinet of the European Commissioner in charge of Culture Mariya Gabriel; Irene Norsted, Director of the People Directorate at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation, as well as representatives of the ongoing Swedish Presidency of the EU, notably Åsa Garnert, in charge of Strategic Coordination, and Cultural Counsellors David Ek and Tobias Adolfsson.
Through the inspiring talks, we exchanged views on the opportunities and challenges opened up by the common European data space for cultural heritage, as well as shared issues concerning the digital transformation of our sector: where we stand, what we aspire to achieve and how we can work together to progress. More broadly, discussions revolved around the contribution of culture to a healthier and more inclusive digital public sphere in Europe.
The wider picture: living up to Europe’s digital policy momentum
The European Union recognises that Europe needs more than digital infrastructures, skills and capabilities to define its digital future. There must also be a fair and secure digital environment, based on EU principles and fundamental rights. This vision paves the way for a true ‘European way’ ’in the global digital landscape - one that is founded on the values we hold dear.
The Europeana Initiative applauds this strategic direction, with the 14 Data spaces launched by the European Commission - including the common European data space for cultural heritage - as a key element in this pursuit. Through the data spaces, Europe takes the lead in creating open, safe, and trustworthy digital infrastructures in which data owners - not platform owners - come together to design a new way of working, collaboratively devising how they will control the information they share and how they will allow it to be used.
A data space dedicated to our sector offers a unique opportunity for the heritage world to contribute to shaping Europe's digital future in the way we imagine it: one with values, people and culture at its core. It is also a chance for Europe to take a leap forward in terms of democratising access to culture as an enabler of more open and inclusive societies and of a sustainable future.
Living up to this digital policy momentum will require a common vision and joint commitment by all actors involved - from EU institutions and Member States to the cultural heritage sector and the Europeana Initiative, its partners and network, as we steward the common European data space for cultural heritage. The series of meetings between the Europeana Foundation and EU decision-makers in late February provided an opportunity to align views, discuss challenges and possibilities ahead, and set a common ground for future action.
Connecting the dots and creating a common narrative
In a rapidly evolving landscape, we acknowledge that the Europeana Initiative and the common European data space for cultural heritage are part of a much broader ecosystem. As we welcome an unprecedented investment by the European Union in the digital transformation of our sector - through Horizon Europe,Digital Europe, Creative Europe and other funding programmes - we will collaborate more than ever with other initiatives and actors dedicated to societal change via digital cultural heritage. Together, we must ensure complementarities, maximise impact and make sure our collective efforts are well known to and seized by the cultural heritage ecosystem. This was a key message put forward by the Europeana Foundation in its exchanges with EU decision-makers on 27 and 28 February.
This is a pivotal time for the future of the European digital cultural heritage sector. We should be bold and fully grasp this opportunity while upholding what we stand for.
The Europeana Foundation will continue building close and trusted relations with key EU decision-makers to deliver on our ambition to create a digital space for good - one that is not only about technology but also about people and values like trust, fairness and inclusion.
Read more about our work and vision to deploy the common European data space for cultural heritage. Curious to know more about the data space ecosystem? Join us at the Data Spaces Symposium & Deep-Dive Day: Building the future – benefit together taking place in The Hague from 21 to 23 March 2023.