What are the Europeana Inclusive Engagement Guidelines?
The Europeana Inclusive Engagement Guidelines are a set of principles and accountability measures which aim to ensure that when the Europeana Initiative and its communities engage with each other, in either a physical or a digital space, we do so in an inclusive way, with respect for each other, kindness towards each other, and an open heart and mind.
Some of these Guidelines are very practical in nature: for instance, we want to make sure that everyone is aware and comfortable with meetings being recorded, going into breakout groups, or audience interaction. Others are more about mindset: for example, we ask everyone to embrace a learning mindset, to become aware of biases, and have the courage to be curious about what we do not know or understand. The Guidelines are accompanied by a set of accountability measures that demonstrate how we plan to ensure that we are open, kind and respectful to one another and that can be used by anyone to hold anyone else in the community accountable.
At their core, the Guidelines represent principles for thoughtful communication, inclusive collaboration and healthy conflict that we will adhere to together with members of the Europeana community. They provide a shared tool to foster an environment of openness, learning, awareness of biases, curiosity, and respect for multiple views and perspectives. They also can help to ensure that, where and if differences of opinion occur, they can be resolved in a healthy and respectful way.
How have we developed these Guidelines?
In 2020 Europeana created an internal Diversity and Inclusion cross-team to coordinate the work that was needed to make Europeana a more open, welcoming and respectful place for everyone. In 2021, the cross-team started collaborating with consultant Lauren Vargas to create a set of guidelines for Europeana's community. Europeana Foundation staff members were invited to several co-creation sessions led by Lauren Vargas to start building the Inclusive Engagement Guidelines. After workshops within Europeana, representatives of the Europeana Network Association and the Europeana Aggregator’s Forum were asked to give feedback on the Guidelines.
The Guidelines were then tested at several events, including Europeana 2021 in November, the Slovenian Presidency in December, and a series of WEAVE project events in February. Feedback from participants at these events, as well as from Europeana Foundation staff and representatives from the Europeana Network Association and Europeana Aggregators’ Forum, has been positive. The guidelines were well received, with staff members even using them outside of Europeana events and audiences at the Europeana 2021 event sharing their appreciation of them.
One Twitter user who attended Europeana 2021 wrote: ‘One thing that really caught my attention at #Europeana2021 were the #inclusive conversation + community guidelines. They were posted in the video chat and read out by the host at the beginning of a session. The organisers were kind enough to share more information.’
This input has informed the first public version of the Guidelines.
How will we apply and develop these Guidelines?
We are currently using the Guidelines at our events, but it will take time to properly integrate them in a sustainable manner across the Europeana Initiative and our communities.
Whenever we publicly engage with the Europeana community, we will aim to adhere to our Guidelines and will ask those participating in the event to adhere to them with us. We will share and link to our the Guidelines and aim to hold each other accountable for adhering to them in our physical and digital spaces. We aim to use the Guidelines to make sure that there is no place for racism, discrimination, or oppression in the spaces where we engage.
Even after the work of the past few months, the development of the Europeana Inclusive Engagement Guidelines will continue to evolve as our own dialogues and behaviours evolve. They will reflect the practices and needs of our community. As the world, and our ways of communicating and engaging with each other, change, we will need to adapt the Guidelines, and will establish a process that ensures that they are periodically reviewed.
How can you use our Inclusive Engagement Guidelines?
Our Inclusive Engagement Guidelines are available to read in this Google document. We are sharing them in this form so that they can be easily updated as we continue to develop and shape them.
If you are looking for a set of guidelines to use at your own events or other places of engagement, Europeana's Inclusive Engagement Guidelines are open to reuse as you see fit. We will continue to update you on how we are implementing the Guidelines as we use them more and more in our daily work. If you make use of them, we would love to hear about your experience - please feel free to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
How can you give feedback on our Inclusive Engagement Guidelines?
We invite you to give feedback on and test out these guidelines to make sure we can support everyone in feeling safe, secure, and heard in Europeana's community. We are looking for volunteers to take part in one-hour testing sessions where you will work in a group with consultant Lauren Vargas and other volunteers to explore the Guidelines, see if they have the desired effect and provide feedback about how they work for you.
The sessions will take place on 7 and 8 April 2022, and are an opportunity to give direct feedback about our work, help ensure all voices (yours included) are represented and benefit from these guidelines and shape resources that we hope will be useful to the whole cultural heritage sector. If you are interested in taking part, please sign up through the form below. You will be asked to identify with a certain group in order to make sure we are giving you a safe space in which to share your experience.