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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday February 2, 2017

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Jill Cousins

Jill Cousins

CEO & Director , The Hunt Museum

It’s a wrap for #Europeana280: collaborating across borders to bring art to the people

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347 artworks, 146 participating institutions, 29 countries. These figures mark the success of the #Europeana280 campaign which recently came to an end. Developed to promote Europe’s shared art history and to support the launch of Europeana Art in innovative ways, this Europe-wide campaign ran from April to December 2016 and featured exhibitions, events, partnerships, and social media activity, all designed to reach a wide and new audience. Looking back on what we achieved together in the past months to connect people with their cultural heritage through technology, we would like to thank everyone for all the work and share this story of successful collaboration.

Campaign highlights

Brand new Europeana Art collection and acclaimed Faces of Europe exhibition

We kicked off the campaign by inviting 28 Culture Ministries across Europe to work with their museums and galleries to deliver 10 high quality digitised artworks representing their country’s contribution to Europe’s art history. All said yes, and Norway too, delivering more artworks than the 280 expected. Reflecting the diversity of European art movements throughout the centuries, these iconic pieces of art - from Gothic to Baroque to Impressionism to Pop Art - were gathered in Europeana Art enriching the website with iconic paintings and lesser known counterparts. Building on this wealth of content and showcasing 82 items, the online exhibition Faces of Europe took visitors on a seven-chapter journey through the centuries, and it has been visited by more than 58,000 people to date.

#BigArtRide & #JumpingJacks - on the streets with the people

The more openly licensed the artworks, the more ways we could use them: the campaign took the opportunity to bring art offline and onto the street with events designed to encourage interactions from the general public. Touring eleven cities in nine countries across Europe, the virtual reality event #BigArtRide attracted crowds, with participants from different locations in Europe racing against each other through a virtual city populated with artworks from #Europeana280. Also combining art with interactive technology, the digital installation #JumpingJacks let participants become a living part of artwork, with projections of their own body onto walls and ceilings transformed by cut-outs from the #Europeana280 art pieces.

Social and Educational

To take the artworks as far as possible and share them with wider audiences, we also partnered with external platforms and apps. The 280 Art History Challenge on Wikimedia held in April and May saw 816 articles about each artwork featured in the campaign being written and translated in 39 languages, making it the largest ever GLAM wiki competition, and the second largest Wikipedia translation event. The ArtStack (dedicated to simplifying art discovery) and Daily Art (focusing on one piece of art a day) apps both reused numerous treasures from #Europeana280 and shared them with their respective communities, reaching a wider network of art enthusiasts and creatives across Europe. Finally, the global partnership with annual GIF-making competition #GiftItUp helped us reach 10,000,000 people: applicants were invited to create a GIF with reusable material using #Europeana280 artworks and images available on ones of the associated platforms DPLA, DigitalNZ and Trove.

Creative Reuse - with ArtFaces, StoryPix and ColourApp

Openly licensed content could also be used in apps, such as, allowing users to create their own versions of the paintings from #Europeana280 selections, using their personal photos for colour inspiration. Users were invited to get creative, download their artworks and share it on social media. We held a Challenge resulting in more products using the contributed artworks, including Art Faces, an educational game allowing young kids to learn about art by playing; and StoryPix, designed to display artworks in high quality resolution in public spaces, on billboards and large outdoor screens.

Celebrating your collaboration

The artworks contributed reached more than 20 million people on social media using the hashtags #Europeana280 and #BigArtRide. This wouldn’t have been possible without the active contribution of all institutions involved in supporting the campaign towards their own networks and communities, by hosting events, tweeting, blogging and talking to the press. Over the past ten months, we have been sharing stories about the campaign and documenting how the artworks were used. And we will go into further detail in the coming weeks with case studies.

We are analysing what could have been done better in developing the campaign and communicating with participating cultural heritage institutions. Building on that, we will collect our institutions and partners’ recommendations to make sure we can implement the lessons learnt in future campaigns.

Working closely with Europe’s cultural heritage institutions and member states, we are also planning future theme-based campaigns. In the meantime, we would like to celebrate the amazing response the campaign received, both from institutions and audiences.

Please join us, and spread the word one more time using #Europeana280.