On 15 March 2022 the European Commission/DG CONNECT invited Blue Shield International with other pan-European and international organisations active or interested in digital cultural heritage to an update on important policy developments and for exchanging views about the future in the light of opportunities and challenges experienced in the rapidly changing environment of the past two years.
In 2021, the European Commission presented a vision for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030 followed by the Recommendation on a common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage to accelerate the digitisation of cultural heritage assets. Based on Europeana – the European digital cultural platform – the new Cultural Heritage Data Space shall allow „the digitisation of all cultural heritage monuments and sites, objects and artefacts for future generations, to protect and preserve those at risk, and boost their reuse in domains such as education, sustainable tourism and cultural creative sectors.“
After the Commission’s presentation on the policy programme to the digital decade including objectives of the Recommendation, the 2021 established Member State expert group and data spaces under the DIGITAL programme, the invited organisations were invited to talk about post-pandemic/current crisis opportunities and challenges as well as their views and visions on the forthcoming European Data Space on cultural heritage. Participants included representatives from CLARIN ERIC, DARIAH-EU, European Museum Academy (EMA), Europa Nostra, Europeana, Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), International Committee for Documentation (ICOM / CIDOC), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Network of European Museum Organizations (NEMO), Wikimedia Sverige, and Blue Shield.
In the past two years, the pandemic pushed digitalisation to the top of the agenda of cultural heritage organisations and revealed their different paces of digitisation processes or implementing digital tools. The Data Space for Cultural Heritage is a major opportunity and in this context, it is essential to expand the current network and the role of national domain aggregators as well as creating national digital strategies in order to create joint links and foster synergies.
DG CONNECT will follow up in bilateral consultations to further discuss what joint products can be used to bring together the data space and plans to repeat this meeting in one year (virtual or physical).