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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday February 2, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Jolan Wuyts

Jolan Wuyts

Collections Editor , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Marijke Everts

Marijke Everts

Campaign Coordination and Administrative Assistant , Europeana Foundation

How we are supporting underrepresented voices on the Europeana website

Discover the challenges and learnings from our first year of running the Europeana Editorial Grants programme, which aims to increase underrepresented voices telling stories about Europe's cultural heritage.

Two pink flowers
Bauhinia variegata
Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum

Europeana's Collections Engagement team works hard to surface a broad range of interesting stories inspired and illustrated by the digital cultural heritage found on the Europeana website. But we are not always the best-placed writers for every topic. We firmly believe in the phrase  'nothing about us without us', making sure our colleagues with lived experiences are the ones to lead our editorial campaigns around certain topics. For Women's History Month, for example, our women editors take the lead as they have the power to tell women's stories. The same goes for our campaigns around Pride Month, Black History Month, and so forth. 

We are very aware, though, that our team can't possibly encompass all of the lived experiences that exist in Europeana's rich cultural heritage database. To expand our editorial horizons, and in line with our wider work on Diversity and Inclusion, we invite writers to tell the stories that they are best-placed to tell. 

Grants for writing blogs

Last year, to spotlight these unheard voices and surface more stories about underrepresented topics in Europeana, in 2022, we launched the Europeana Editorial Grants Programme. We invited anyone to pitch us their blog idea, and provided funding for writers who could contribute blogs that put a spotlight on underrepresented communities, voices and lived experiences. Throughout 2022, we received more than 20 pitches, from which we selected five ideas to be published as blogs. 

A screenshot of the Europeana website. Text reads 'Tell your story! Do you want to write a blog about Europe's rich cultural history, using images from Europeana to illustrate your narrative? Submit your blog idea now for a chance to write for Europeana!
Screenshot of the Europeana website
Europeana Foundation
A screenshot of the Europeana website. Text reads 'Tell your story! Do you want to write a blog about Europe's rich cultural history, using images from Europeana to illustrate your narrative? Submit your blog idea now for a chance to write for Europeana!

One year in: learnings and challenges

In our pilot year of this grants programme we wanted to see if there was general interest in writing for the Europeana website and we wanted to collect feedback on the way we set up the financial remuneration of writers. We posted the invitation as a call to action on our Stories page but did not do any further promotion so we could gauge the interest of people visiting in this opportunity. Despite this quiet launch, the submissions received throughout the year show that there is clearly an audience that has stories to tell. Here are some of the stories that were written and published through the Grants Programme.

Selene Carboni:  the evolution of the Bas-Relief

Selene Carboni detailed the history of sculpture in relief over thousands of years. She ended her story by shedding light on how relief sculpture is currently being used to create a new dimension of experiencing art for visually impaired people, blind people, and sighted people alike. Selene's blog is a wonderful editorial piece combining historical narrative with recent developments in accessibility in cultural heritage organisations. Read the blog. 

Dr. Johanna Fisher: medieval ecofeminism

Dr. Fisher, a professor of gender and women's studies, laid out the fascinating story of how medieval mysticism was used as an avenue of feminist activism. Hildegard von Bingen is probably one of the most famous of these female mystics, who used her unique position to campaign for ecological consciousness, conservation, and care. Dr. Fisher's blog is a great addition to our editorial, highlighting the intersection between feminism, climate justice and medieval studies. Read the blog

Monty Moncrieff: London Friend

Monty Moncrieff looked back on the history of London Friend, the oldest LGBTQ+ charity in the UK. Over the past 50 years, they've been at the forefront of supporting the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community mostly through volunteer effort. Read the blog.

Plans for the future

We're very grateful to everyone who pitched us a blog idea and to those who worked with us to publish their blog on In the coming years, we want to continue and expand the grants programme. We want to publish more stories and support more underrepresented voices both financially and by providing our platform to publish their stories. 

In the first half of 2023, part of our editorial grant programme will be dedicated to the World Festival of Cultural Diversity, supporting underrepresented stories and experiences on religious diversity. If you have a story that you want to put out into the world through on religious diversity, you can apply for an Editorial Grant below. If you have a different story to tell, you can still apply for a grant, so please reach out to us through the grant form. And please help us spread the word about the grants by sharing with your own networks.