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EVENT REPORT | 07 May 2020

7th Meeting of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana (DCHE)

The Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana (DCHE) provides a forum for cooperation between Member States' bodies and the European Commission in the area of digitisation of and access to cultural material and digital preservation, and gives guidance on Europeana’s annual work programmes under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
The Group also provides advice on specific policy issues where such advice is important for the development of Union policies or legislation (Commission Decision of 7/3/2017 setting up the Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana).

The 7th meeting of the Group took place as a virtual online meeting in the morning of 5 May 2020. It was in the context of the ongoing crisis caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus, so an important part of the meeting was about digital for cultural heritage during and after the crisis.

At the 7th meeting, the Group welcomed Norway as a new observer country, as a signatory of the 2019 Declaration of Cooperation on advancing the digitisation of cultural heritage, and new national representatives for Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania and Spain.

Gail Kent, Director for Data at DG CONNECT, opened the meeting, and Unit for Interactive Technologies, Digital for Education and Culture provided a general overview of Commission responses to the crisis, including in particular in the area of digital and digital for cultural heritage.

Julia Pagel, Secretary-General of the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO), participated as a special guest speaker and presented the main findings and recommendations from the just closed NEMO survey on the impact of the crisis on museums.

Harry Verwayen, Executive Director at the Europeana Foundation, presented Europeana’s responses to the crisis, covering not only the immediate crisis but also the transition period and the ‘new normal’. He also described Europeana’s priorities for advancing digital transformation in the cultural heritage sector, stressing in particular capacity building.

DG EAC, represented by the Cultural Policy Unit, provided updates on the follow-up to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage, the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022, and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and responses relating to the cultural and creative sectors.

Croatia, as the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, provided updates about Council discussions on measures and recommendations for the cultural and media sectors in the context of the crisis, in particular in the area of digital.

Germany, as the next holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, presented the programme priorities on culture for the period from July to December 2020, describing the main priorities and events envisaged, including in particular on digitisation aspects.

Louise Haxthausen, Director of the UNESCO liaison office in Brussels and Representation to the EU, made a statement about UNESCO’s initiatives to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector. She mentioned in particular the weekly ‘Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker’, which provides an overview of both the immediate impact of the health crisis and examples of how countries around the world are adapting to the situation.

In the second part of the meeting, for other updates, DG CONNECT’s Unit for Interactive Technologies, Digital for Education and Culture provided updates relating to the evaluation of the Commission Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation (2011/711/EU), the implementation of the 3D aspects in the 2019 Declaration of Cooperation on advancing the digitisation of cultural heritage, the Europeana core service platform, and the new call for Europeana generic services.

Croatia also presented the new eKULTURA project, for the digitisation of cultural heritage.

The 7th meeting of the Group took place as a virtual online meeting in the morning of 5 May 2020. It was in the context of the ongoing crisis caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus, so an important part of the meeting was about digital for cultural heritage during and after the crisis.

At the 7th meeting, the Group welcomed Norway as a new observer country, as a signatory of the 2019 Declaration of Cooperation on advancing the digitisation of cultural heritage, and new national representatives for Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania and Spain.

Gail Kent, Director for Data at DG CONNECT, opened the meeting, and Unit for Interactive Technologies, Digital for Education and Culture provided a general overview of Commission responses to the crisis, including in particular in the area of digital and digital for cultural heritage.

Julia Pagel, Secretary-General of the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO), participated as a special guest speaker and presented the main findings and recommendations from the just closed NEMO survey on the impact of the crisis on museums.

Harry Verwayen, Executive Director at the Europeana Foundation, presented Europeana’s responses to the crisis, covering not only the immediate crisis but also the transition period and the ‘new normal’. He also described Europeana’s priorities for advancing digital transformation in the cultural heritage sector, stressing in particular capacity building.

DG EAC, represented by the Cultural Policy Unit, provided updates on the follow-up to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage, the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022, and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and responses relating to the cultural and creative sectors.

Croatia, as the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, provided updates about Council discussions on measures and recommendations for the cultural and media sectors in the context of the crisis, in particular in the area of digital.

Germany, as the next holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, presented the programme priorities on culture for the period from July to December 2020, describing the main priorities and events envisaged, including in particular on digitisation aspects.

Louise Haxthausen, Director of the UNESCO liaison office in Brussels and Representation to the EU, made a statement about UNESCO’s initiatives to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector. She mentioned in particular the weekly ‘Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker’, which provides an overview of both the immediate impact of the health crisis and examples of how countries around the world are adapting to the situation.

In the second part of the meeting, for other updates, DG CONNECT’s Unit for Interactive Technologies, Digital for Education and Culture provided updates relating to the evaluation of the Commission Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation (2011/711/EU), the implementation of the 3D aspects in the 2019 Declaration of Cooperation on advancing the digitisation of cultural heritage, the Europeana core service platform, and the new call for Europeana generic services.

Croatia also presented the new eKULTURA project, for the digitisation of cultural heritage.

The agenda and the presentations are now available and as well as the minutes

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00. Agenda
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01. Introduction on digital for culture during and after the crisis, R.Schwinninger-Ladak and A. Bajart, DG CONNECT, Unit for Interactive Technologies, Digital for Culture and Education
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02. Museums in Europe during COVID-19, or: ‘Never waste a good Crisis’, J. Pagel,Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO)
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03. ‘Working with and for you’ - Europeana responses to COVID-19, H.Verwayen-Europeana Foundation
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04. Updates from DG EAC, A. Grady, Cultural Policy Unit
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05. Updates from Croatia as holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, J. Bilić
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06. Germany‘s Presidency of the Council of the European Union - Programme Priorities( July – Dec 2020), J. Thümmel
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07. Other updates from DG CONNECT (evaluation of Commission Recommendation 2011/711/EU, 3D aspects in the 2019 Declaration of Cooperation, and Europeana, P.Boteanu, C.Brașoveanu, F.Sanmartin, K. Moutogianni
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08. Croatia’s Project eKULTURA, J. Bilić, Representative of Croatia
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10. Minutes
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