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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday December 10, 2020

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Zuzana Malicherova

Zuzana Malicherova

Network and Policy officer , Europeana Foundation

Looking back at the ENA Members Council in 2020

In 2020, the Europeana Network Association (ENA) Members Council has successfully adapted to a new way of working in the midst of a global health crisis. Take a look at what our Councillors have explored this year as they work towards developing new digital audiences, services, skills and societal impact.

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Queen of the Amazons meeting Alexander from BL Royal 15 E VI, f. 15v
1444 - 1445
British Library
United Kingdom

A focus on digital transformation

In 2020 the ENA Members Council (the body of formally elected representatives of the ENA) have met virtually three times. The topic of digital transformation, in light of the Europeana Strategy 2020 - 2025 and the COVID-19 crisis, has been a key topic of discussion in all meetings. In March, Councillors discussed how the ENA can actively contribute to the digital transformation of the cultural heritage sector and the role they ENA could play. They continued their exploration at the second Council meeting in July, where they examined the results of June’s sense-making and capacity building workshops on digital transformation in breakout sessions. Councillors recognised a sense of urgency in the cultural heritage sector and a desire to use the momentum for accelerating its digital transformation, for the Europeana Initiative to work together to bridge the digital divides and to create a capacity building framework that addresses the sector’s needs. 

At the final Council meeting of 2020 in December, Councillors provided feedback on a proposed definition and understanding of digital transformation and Europeana’s role in it. They were able to discuss the pains and gains of cultural heritage professionals, identify common needs, and make recommendations for the scope of the Europeana Capacity Building Framework. 

Supporting the ENA

Council meetings this year have also overseen the ongoing organisation of the ENA. Councillors approved all ENA community work plans and budgets for 2020, planned the 2020 membership campaign and explored outcomes of the ENA impact assessment and satisfaction survey. Councillors discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on activities and community budgets, and received regular updates on the Europeana Aggregators Forum, the ENA Climate Group, and the new governance model for the Europeana Foundation.

On 11 November 2020, ENA members and Councillors gathered virtually at the ENA General Assembly, which took place at the start of the Europeana 2020 conference. This saw members approve the Minutes of the 2019 meeting of the General Assembly, ENA Annual Report 2020, Activity Plan for 2021, Financial Report 2019 and Provisional Budget for 2021 and reflect on the ENA’s achievements over the year. They also looked at the goals and aspirations for ENA in the coming year, which include  invigorating the Network and its members, strengthening communities, working on capacity building and focusing on sustainability. Read the full aims in the 2021 Activity Plan

Addressing inclusivity and diversity

At the third and last Members Council meeting of 2020 on 3-4 December 2020, the Council spent time reflecting on the General Assembly meeting and Europeana 2020 conference. The ENA Management Board presented the Council with a proposal for a position paper which could act as a policy outline to support ENA actions on inclusivity and diversity. The Council agreed to collaborate with the Foundation and the EAF to form a task force that can provide a better understanding of the options the Europeana Initiative has to increase inclusivity and diversity across the cultural heritage sector. The task force can work on a roadmap and organise targeted, peer-to-peer sense making workshops led by experts in the field of inclusion and diversity in order to get a better understanding of the scope of the problem space.

The task force recommendations will plan next steps and measure progress. In this context, a group of volunteers came forward to actively work together to address the topic of anti-racism as an integral part of the approach to inclusivity and diversity. The fact that the Council engaged in a constructive and open discussion on this kind of sensitive societal issue is a sign of ENA maturing, its Council’s collective spirit and willingness to learn and evolve in a positive way.

New Councillors 

This year, the Council said goodbye to Stephan Bartholmei, Ellen Euler, Kate Fernie, Sara Di Giorgio, Marco de Niet and Marco Streefkerk, who have reached the end of their current terms. We profoundly appreciate and value their contributions to ENA activities over the past few years and hope to keep working with them as ENA members! We also welcome the nine newly elected Councillors, who were introduced at the last Council meeting of 2020. 

The Councillors will meet again virtually in spring. The minutes of all the Council meetings are available on Europeana Pro.