Unlocking the Europeana Network Association’s potential
Since the launch of our membership campaign, over the past few months we’ve seen an increasing number of people with rich perspectives joining the Europeana Network Association (ENA). In this post, we explore what motivates people to join the ENA, and outline how we aim to build on and harness their experience to engage them in new ways.
In the ENA, we bring together cultural heritage professionals from all domains and from all over Europe, and beyond. In April, we launched a membership campaign to ask our members to renew their commitment to ENA by 1 October 2020.
Since that time however, we have also seen around 100 new members with compelling profiles, knowledge and expertise joining our Network on a monthly basis. Overall, membership has increased by almost 500 people in the past half year, and now stands at over 3,100 members. Marco de Niet and Susan Hazan, who on behalf of the ENA Management Board regularly review new membership requests, have expressed pride in the growth of the ENA, and the willingness of its members to take on new initiatives related to recent events and ongoing imperatives for our sector.
Why professionals join the ENA
From the preliminary results of the ENA impact assessment and satisfaction survey that we ran in June 2020, it appears that many members find the ENA a lively community of inspiring professionals and a place to initiate new projects.
According to the survey, new members are motivated to join the Network because of the opportunities for networking and collaboration in a community, thought-leadership of the ENA, and the chance to share knowledge, expertise and experiences with other like-minded professionals in the GLAM sector across Europe and worldwide. People also join to keep up to date on the latest developments within the sector, and to attend and co-organise events with Europeana.
Some new members state that they wish to support and promote the activities of Europeana. For example, Sabrina Ferrazzi, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Verona and new ENA member, writes, ‘Both my PhD and my actual research are in the field of Cultural Heritage Law. I think that digitalisation is a fundamental tool for the future of cultural heritage. For this reason, I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with the Community to study the topic in depth and be of help.’
Another new member, David Kretschek, Professor at the Federal University of Technology, Parana, Brazil, also joined the ENA because of the value he places on open access to heritage and a desire to contribute to this through the Network: ‘As an educator I believe learning should not be restricted and knowledge must be accessible... culture is a great subject to showcase the potential of open knowledge and education to society in general. Therefore [I joined] the Europeana Network to stay in touch with modern cultural heritage tendencies and contribute the way I can to the development of a more open education.’
Like Sabrina and David, many of those now joining the Network are professionals with interest in cultural heritage and research, education and teaching, technological development, policy or copyright. New members tend to come across Europeana via professional involvement or because their own institution has collaborated with Europeana, but we also see a growing number of people from other continents.
Nurturing our membership
We want to keep working to improve people’s experience of joining the ENA, and to have a dedicated, long-term instrument in place to facilitate a rewarding experience of ENA membership. We have been looking for new ways to utilize the potential of our members and explore how they can contribute to the ENA in fulfilling and meaningful ways, while maintaining ongoing communication flows.
To that end, the ENA will create a Working Group dedicated to assessing the membership benefits, looking to engage ENA members in new ways and overall make the ENA more inclusive and diverse. The Working Group will build on input from the New Professionals Task Force, which came to existence as a result of a discussion during the Inclusivity & Diversity session of the Europeana 2019 event, and will provide recommendations on how to better support emerging professionals.
In the ENA, we would also like to encourage a more balanced regional representation, organise more local events, enable more multilingual collaborations, and provide more opportunities for students and new professionals to get involved. The ENA Members Council will look for the right ways to achieve these goals. We will keep you informed about their next steps.
For now, we would like to stress how much we value our current members and their ongoing contribution to the ENA. If you are a member, don’t forget to renew your membership before 1 October in a membership confirmation request email you should have received from us - if you haven’t, please check your spam folder, and stay tuned for more news.
If you are not yet a member of the ENA, and would like to join our growing community, you can sign up here.