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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday October 13, 2020

portrait of Cristina Roiu

Cristina Roiu

Head of International Marketing Unit , The Romanian Academy Library

GIF IT UP - inspiring students to engage with digital cultural heritage

With this year’s GIF IT UP competition currently taking place, Cristina Roiu talks to teenager Anamaria Şune about her experience of making GIFs and how the competition inspires educational engagement with digital cultural heritage. 

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Art. History. Gaming. Education. The 2020 edition of GIF IT UP has it all. This annual competition, organised by Europeana, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Trove, and DigitalNZ, challenges people to use digitised cultural heritage material to produce unique GIFs and share them online. 

While the competition has an appeal to all culture lovers, encouraging students to make GIFs in educational contexts can also offer young people an opportunity to animate and engage with cultural heritage. This was evident during the two workshops we organised in 2018 with teachers and students at the Ion Neculce National College, Romania, in the special context of that year: marking 100 years since the end of WWI and the Great Union of Romania. 

In the first workshop, students learned about Europeana’s impressive WWI and 1914-1918 collections and participated in ‘Kahoot sessions’, where participants answer questions live (the answers are at times surprising and amusing). In the second workshop, they learned how to create GIFs using images from the same collections. The students learned a lot during those events while also having fun. After all, we already had a long tradition of using Europeana’s collections as educational material and inspiration.

Anamaria Şune, a student at the Ion Neculce college, took part in the competition for the first time when she was 15 years old and managed to win the People’s Choice Award in 2018.  In a short interview, she talks about her experience taking part in the competition - you can watch the interview and read a transcript below. 

You  probably know by now that the GIF IT UP competition is back again. Are you going to take part in this edition?

Of course! I can’t wait to make another GIF. It will be the third time for me.

Do you remember how it was when you participated for the first time?

I remember. I was in the 9th grade at the Ion Neculce College when we learned how to create a GIF during those interesting workshops organised by Europeana, the Romanian Academy Library and our college in 2018. 

Did you find it difficult to create GIFs?

When I first heard we have to use images from a huge digital archive like Europeana I thought it was difficult. I like to discover things quickly. With so many million pieces I didn’t know where to start from. But during our last workshop, with many examples, I found it easier to make. Europeana’s page about how to create GIFs was also helpful.

What did you actually learn during this experience?

First of all I learned how to create GIFs. I learned how to search more quickly in such a huge deposit. I also found out about copyright, what images we can use from and what not. Still don’t know all about it, but to better look for ‘public domain’ items. My colleagues mainly used the Europeana 1914-1918 collection for their GIFs.

How did you feel when you received the Public Choice Award?

For me, this competition was a wonderful adventure. Emotions, cries, and a long waiting for the result. It was amazing and I learned so much about my country’s history. I felt as I did something very important and in the same time had a lot of fun! I discovered ‘a new me’!

Thank you Anamaria!

Anamaria Şune's winning GIF of the GIF IT UP 2018 People's Choice Award via GIPHY

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