Hallo aus Wien! The Members Council meet in Vienna
Last week, the Europeana Network Association’s Members Council met at the Austrian National Library in Vienna. It was a chance to come together to discuss the year so far, as well as plan for the next six months ahead. Here, Max Kaiser, Chair of the Members Council, and Merete Sanderhoff, Vice Chair of the Members Council, fill us in on the day’s events.
We were both elected to sit on the Management Board of the Members Council last December - and what a busy six months it’s been since then! With the sun shining over Vienna, the Austrian National Library provided the perfect place to catch up with our fellow Council members, as well as look ahead to the next six months to come.
The Austrian National Library, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
With lots of ground to cover, the day was broken down into three parts. The first part looked at the different issues which arose while setting up the Network Association’s formal governance structure.
The second part addressed the Network’s engagement in recent months, and the tremendous progress we have collectively made since the start of the year. We looked at the considerable contributions of Working Groups and Task Forces, and their progress so far. We also addressed the future topical campaigns we want people to get behind - on copyright reform, the role culture plays in driving the Digital Single Market and the Europeana 280 art campaign. These campaigns tie the work of the Network Association into the broader aims of the cultural heritage sector in Europe, and allow members to act as both representatives of their own institutions as well as Europeana.
Finally, the third part focused firmly on the next chapter - what can the Network contribute to Europeana’s annual working plan, its Business Plan, for 2016?
Image: Europeana CC BY-SA
Governance and the Network Association
Thanks to the hard work of our fellow Members Council member Joke van der Leeuw-Roord and the Working Groups dealing with Association bylaws, the new governance structure of Europeana is nearly finalised. Paving the way for a more democratic future for Europeana, it’s an exciting milestone to finally reach. Decisions are still needed on certain bylaws and statutes, and all Councillors present were unanimous that these were now ready to go to the General Assembly for approval, with just two slight changes to be made before they do.
Importantly, we came to the conclusion that it would be premature to increase the number of Members Council seats to 50 just yet. Given that we are still finalising our transition into an Association, we are instead looking into the possibility of an incremental increase, with 20% seats added at each annual election. At the moment, there are 25 seats, which means at the next election we expect an extra five seats will be added.
Image: Europeana CC BY-SA
Engagement with the Network Association
As you might be aware, Europeana uses Task Forces to tackle challenges facing the digital heritage field. At the moment, there are eight different Task Forces running, and each has a Members Council representative participating. They are:
- Brokerage and Business Opportunities - Olivier Schulbaum
- Education - Joke van der Leeuw-Roord
- Content Re-use - Merete Sanderhoff
- Connecting networks for collaborating and sharing information - Rolf Kallman
- Communicators Group - Kerstin Herlt
- Enrichments and Evaluations - Johan Oomen
- FLOSS inventory - Johan Oomen
- Local Libraries - Sorina Stanca
As you can see, they address all sorts of different issues, and you can read more about them and how they relate to your fields of interest. Keep an eye out, too, for other communications from us and the rest of the Members Council - together, we’re championing all the activities of the Network!
Getting down to business in 2016
Next up came business planning! The Europeana Foundation’s Harry Verwayen presented a summary of a survey which asked Councillors to identify three different areas of work Europeana should move our focus away from. When time is precious, it’s key to prioritise, so we hope this will prove a really valuable exercise!
He also invited us to take note of the feedback from the Task Forces that could be usefully incorporated into the Business Plan, and to agree on priorities and project milestones until the AGM and beyond.
To do this, we broke out into three different working groups and shared our thoughts and weighed up different ideas. The feedback will be collected into a document to share with the Members Council before the AGM. We will then have a business plan to present in Amsterdam in November - we hope you will join us to hear the results!
Europeana's 2014 Annual General Meeting in Madrid. Europeana, CC BY-SA
The Europeana Annual General Meeting
Finally, we turned to think about the AGM - which will take place in Amsterdam this November - in more detail. A working group has been putting their heads together to come up with a brief for the day, making sure all the Network’s activities are properly represented. The group brings together a number of Councillors - Francesca di Donato, Jana Hoffmann, Jiří Frank, Johan Oomen, Lizzy Jongma, Max Kaiser, Olivier Schulbaum and Uldis Zarins.
More information about the day will follow, but in the meantime, don’t forget to save the date in your diaries - 3-4 November in Amsterdam! That’s where you’ll vote for your new Members Council members, so it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
By the end of the day, we all felt satisfied we’d addressed our priorities and fulfilled our aims for the meeting. It was great to see everyone face to face and and celebrate their engagement so far, as well as share our excitement for what’s still to come.
Ready and raring to get back to work, and with clear objectives for the next six months, we look forward to continuing promoting the issues that most matter to you. #AllezCulture!