As we step into another year together, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the highlights that shaped 2023, while eagerly anticipating the opportunities and challenges the new year holds.
What a year 2023 was!
Together with our Consortium partners, we completed the first year of deployment of the common European data space for cultural heritage. The data space builds on the infrastructure, frameworks and community that the Europeana Initiative has established and enhanced over the years. In 2023 we made great progress in many areas - from upgrading our technical infrastructure to increasing the ingestion of high-quality data with a special focus on 3D, and empowering diverse audiences to reuse this data. Explore what we have done to deploy the data space in our annual report!
We started the rollout of the Twin it! 3D for Europe’s culture campaign together with the European Commission and in cooperation with the Swedish, Spanish and Belgian Presidencies of the Council of the EU. Twin it! calls on EU Member States to submit at least one heritage asset digitised in 3D to the data space. The campaign is in full swing and will culminate with a high-level event in mid-May this year in Brussels under the Belgian Presidency.
We’ve built the capacities of heritage professionals and organised memorable conferences and outreach events. Highlights included the Europeana conferences under the Swedish and Spanish Presidencies, and EuropeanaTech 2023 guided by the expertise of the EuropeanaTech Community of the Europeana Network Association. Lastly, during the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum meeting in November, we welcomed two newly accredited aggregators to the Europeana family: Slovakiana and Catalònica.
And we turned 15 in 2023! Last November marked the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Europeana website. As we celebrated our history, we entered the second year of the data space journey, built on the same principles that led to the creation of Europeana 15 years ago: openness, collaboration, and the belief in digital cultural heritage as a public good.
This was made possible thanks to the vital support of Europeana's members, aggregators, and partners in the heritage community, the European Commission and the Member States – we sincerely thank you all. We look forward to continuing our collaboration throughout 2024, working towards a digital heritage environment that is cohesive, inclusive, and collectively owned.
What’s in store for 2024?
We will continue to build a thriving data space that will serve a wide variety of participants, incorporate new tools, services and data types, and will allow for more decentralised data sharing mechanisms. In 2024 we will explore exciting horizons: from strengthening the data space brand and launching a new dedicated page, to the realisation of our training platform and Academy, or an increased engagement at national level through new country groups coordinated by the Europeana Initiative and piloted by colleagues in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Italy.
We look forward to strengthening cooperation and articulation between the data space for cultural heritage and other data spaces, as well as relevant heritage actors such as the EIT Culture & Creativity and the European Heritage Hub project - in both of which the Europeana Initiative is proudly involved - as well as the future European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage.
Our evolution into the data space, paired with a changing heritage landscape, calls on the Europeana Initiative to reboot, reassess and reimagine itself. In the upcoming months, we’ll be working on our long-term vision towards 2030, which will be shaped in an iterative and participatory way involving diverse stakeholders. We hope our 2030 vision, which we aim to release by the summer, will spark renewed enthusiasm among our network and partners!
Last but not least, Europe is undergoing rapid transformations: from a severe climate crisis with major human, economic and environmental tolls, to the upcoming European elections that will shape the European Parliament for the next five years amid a critical political landscape, and the next wave of a fast-paced digital revolution in which cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence are transforming all spheres of our lives. Against this backdrop, we reaffirm our belief in cultural heritage to advance the “triple transformation” of Europe and its green, social and digital interconnected dimensions. As harrowing global conflicts threaten citizens and colleagues around the world, we also reaffirm our unshakable belief in cultural heritage to create the humane, tolerant and resilient societies our world is in desperate need of.
With the onset of a brand new year, we remain committed to this vision and will use the data space as a vehicle to materialise it. We look forward to your contribution, engagement and support to turn this ambition into a reality. Let’s make 2024 a significant year together!