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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday September 25, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Shadi Ardalan

Shadi Ardalan

Head of Member State Relations and Governance , Europeana Foundation

Report from the Swedish Presidency Europeana Conference

Read the executive summary of ‘Accelerating 3D in the common European data space for cultural heritage: Why 3D matters’ and download the full report. 

A church
Gerums kerka
Fant, Erik

Executive summary

This report presents findings and outcomes of the discussions from the Europeana Conference ‘Accelerating 3D in the common European data space for cultural heritage: Why 3D matters' under the Swedish Presidency on 18 April 2023. This hybrid conference was made possible thanks to the Swedish Ministry of Culture and the Swedish National Heritage Board. It was held under the auspices of the Swedish Presidency, and hosted by the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm.

A renewed focus on digital skills (as a top priority) and an accelerated twin digital green transition were among the digital priorities of the Swedish Presidency in the first half of 2023. The digital ambitions and priorities of the Swedish Presidency aimed to move forward two major pieces of EU legislation on digital - AI and Data Acts that support innovation, and a Cyber Resilience Act.

The Europeana conference involved 322 online participants and 60 onsite attendees from 50 countries across the sector. The event brought together policymakers from European ministries of culture, the CEDCHE Expert Group, representatives of the European Commission, experts in 3D and professionals from cultural heritage institutions. The conference aimed to contribute to a greater understanding of the EU ambition for 3D, and why it is relevant to the sector and cultural heritage institutions. It intended to stimulate reflection and dialogue around 3D content in the common European data space for cultural heritage and the sector – the needs, the key challenges, the aspirations and the collective efforts that are needed. The conference looked at some of the aspects of the European Commission’s Recommendation of November 2021 on a common European data space for cultural heritage related to 3D. The Recommendation encourages Member States to digitise in 3D all buildings, monuments and sites deemed at risk, and 50% of the most physically visited monuments and heritage sites, by 2030. The speakers discussed the process of 3D digitisation and documentation

As part of its work at the heart of the data space, the Europeana Initiative, alongside its partners, aims to contribute to a significant and sustained increase of high quality, usable and accessible data in the common European data space for cultural heritage, with a focus on 3D content. To that end, the Europeana Initiative will work with the cultural heritage sector to determine high-value 3D data, and to support its availability through the data space.

Meeting the Recommendations’ targets for 3D will not be an easy task for the Member States. All actors and stakeholders need to work collaboratively towards these targets. It requires the entire sector to be motivated, invested and active.

With this aim in mind, the conference shed light on some of the important aspects, needs and challenges ahead:

  • Why 3D matters and is relevant to the cultural heritage sector

  • Diversity of 3D content

  • Support mechanisms and instruments

  • Data space supporting projects on 3D

  • 3D complementing the merits of other technologies

  • 3D targets for 2030: a collective ambition and responsibility

  • The need for:
    • A shared understanding of 3D objectives, standards and harmonised rules to direct, optimise and guide efforts for 3D digitisation, storage, accessibility and long term preservation

    • Motivation of cultural heritage institutions

    • Collaboration among stakeholders and actors

    • Standards and frameworks

    • Shared understanding of what constitutes heritage at risk

    • Policies on 3D digitisation, access and storage

    • Technology and infrastructure

    • Training on 3D digitisation, access, storage and preservation workflows

    • 3D data governance and sovereignty

  • The importance of:
    • 3D aggregation and Europeana Aggregators’ Forum

    • 3D data quality

    • Sustainability and longevity of 3D data

    • 3D documentation and metadata
  • The challenges:
    • Getting started
    • Lack of in-house 3D expertise and technical equipment
    • 3D storage
    • Ethics of 3D practices in cultural heritage

For this report, we summarised the keynotes, speeches, presentations and panel discussions held on 18 April. The summary stays loyal and honest to what emerged from the discussions, but some reorganisation and synthesis has been applied to encapsulate the ideas that stood out so that they become useful concepts for further deliberation and discussion.

The Swedish Presidency conference set the scene for 3D and initiated the conversation with relevant stakeholders. The reflections by the speakers and participants alongside the online audience engagement shaped a very informative picture of the challenges and opportunities ahead for the sector. This conference was a starting point for further conversations about accelerating 3D in the context of the European Commission’s Recommendation.

The Europeana Initiative will continue to facilitate conversations on 3D in the common European data space for cultural heritage and for the sector, building on the outcomes of this meeting. Together with stakeholders and members of the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum and Europeana Network Association, the Europeana Foundation will explore where the Europeana Initiative can be most effective and support 3D efforts.

Under the upcoming Spanish and Belgian presidencies, the Europeana Initiative will build on the reflections it took home from Stockholm. The Europeana conference under the Spanish Presidency will explore aspects of building the capacities of heritage professionals in creating and making available high-quality 3D data in the common European data space for cultural heritage and in our sector. The conference will contribute to ‘Twin it! 3D for Europe’s culture’, to boost and collect 3D content in the data space, and to support the Member States in their efforts to digitise and make available 3D content.

‘Twin it! 3D for Europe’s culture’ is a campaign by the European Commission and the Europeana Initiative, under the auspices of the Swedish and Spanish Presidencies, culminating during the Belgian Presidency. Under Twin it!, the Ministries of Culture of the EU Member States are invited to liaise with their national cultural institutions to submit one 3D digitised heritage asset to the common European data space for cultural heritage. The goal of the campaign is to collect and showcase emblematic and high-quality samples of Europe’s cultural assets in 3D, while supporting Member States in their 3D digitisation efforts. Twin it! will contribute to creating a shared understanding of the need for 3D, raising awareness of its opportunities and benefits and building capacity among EU Member States and their cultural heritage institutions.

Europeana Foundation