Minoritised communities often feel that their heritage and its meaning is misunderstood or misrepresented in digitised collections, particularly when they do not see themselves represented by official institutions in the member states of the European Union, like the Romani people. Europeana offers a particularly interesting opportunity to address this, as dispersed collections are brought together from different sources, and can form a more complete picture.
WEAVE’s series of 25+ LabDays brought concerned communities and heritage institutions together to understand how institutions can improve their strategies, approaches and workflows to make sure community collections are better collected, described and made visible. The hope is that the ingredients from each of the LabDays can be sources of inspiration for other organisations and the wider arts and policy sector.
The examples below highlight how 3D modelling tools can prompt users to rethink space within the cultural heritage sector, and also discuss language in relation to bodies, archives and disability. Throughout, we see that the need to bring together people from diverse backgrounds is essential to regeneration.
Navigating equality, inclusion and diversity themes can bring up dense and hard-to-swallow thoughts and emotions. Organisations, individuals, community members and artists might feel the need to ‘walk on eggshells’ rather than confront issues straight on. However, within WEAVE we wanted to speak respectfully, bravely and candidly about Equality Diversity Inclusion (EDI)-related topics and the emotional labour attached to these conversations.
As part of this work, in February and March 2022, the Europeana WEAVE event series for cultural heritage professionals gave participants the necessary tools to understand the effects of historical representation of underrepresented communities, and also to reflect on how cultural heritage institutions can support diversity and inclusion and the role of Europeana in this discussion.
The series created a sustainable capacity building resource for cultural heritage professionals, including videos and a facilitator’s handbook to repeat the workshop in their own community or organisation. The event was supported by a workbook that attendees could use for the entire series, and recap videos are available.
Digital annotations for dance
Dance is central to WEAVE’s work and, along with other types of intangible cultural heritage (ICH), is an important component of our research into 3D modelling. We recently ran an event with the SCHEDAR project, whose team is equally interested in dance and is committed to devising a set of guidelines and frameworks for tools that influence existing intangible cultural heritage motion databases. Both projects aim to facilitate the preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage while also ensuring that technology develops in accordance with the needs of key stakeholders.
At a LabDay on this topic, the WEAVE team shared a demonstration of the WEAVE Toolkit, including the MotionNotes annotator and 3D modelling tools, and demonstrated how it can be used to annotate traditional Portuguese folk dance. This was followed by a demonstration on how the MotionNotes tool can be used within 3D modelling environments. Stephen Jürgens, a researcher at Universidade NOVA Lisboa (UNL), and the WEAVE team spoke about co-design sessions with dance experts from PédeXumbo, explaining how UNL’s team entered into dialogue with the Portuguese traditional dance community to inform design elements of the digital annotation tools.
Dance, archives, disability and able-bodied-ness
Thinking about archives, dance, disability and able-bodied-ness raises several questions in terms of narrative, language and equality. The COVUNI team curated a capacity building event with this in mind, bringing together researchers, artists, activists and practitioners to reflect on the intersections and challenges of archives, dance and disability. Among other topics, the event considered questions around the vocabulary used to talk about disability, dance and archives.
Produced in collaboration with OneDanceUK, a further capacity building webinar aimed to support UK-based Global Majority dance artists to better understand the current UK fundraising landscape and to discover how to navigate their own narrative of being a Global Majority practitioner when creating a case for support. These ‘Fundraising 101’ training sessions grew directly out of an urgent need expressed by freelance artists and dance companies who have been struggling to sustain themselves in the last five years.
The event aimed to support participants to build confidence and knowledge and, most importantly, join the conversation on how to weave the vital experiences, identities, and expertise of Global Majority communities into potentially successful funding bids.
Find out more
To find out more about these events and access resources from WEAVE, visit the project website.