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The Annual EUscreen Network Meeting 2019

On 15 March, EUscreen network partners gathered in Luxembourg for the third annual network meeting. The EUscreen Foundation Board invited its partners from European broadcast archives, collecting institutions, researchers and technologists to come together and share new ideas on the access, use and promotion of audiovisual heritage. This year, we were incredibly lucky to be hosted by not one but two of our Luxembourg partners – the University of Luxembourg and Centre National de l’Audiovisuel.

General Assembly

We started the day at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), the University Luxembourg’s research centre dedicated to interdisciplinary approaches and new digital tools for research in European history. Professor Andreas Fickers warmly welcomed us to the centre, stressing the importance of collaboration between the academic community and networks such as EUscreen to facilitate new research and teaching opportunities and new reflection on the shared European history.

We jumped right into the General Assembly during which the EUscreen Foundation board members gave an overview of the ongoing activities in the network. 2018 was a particularly fruitful year, with a stable infrastructure in place, diligent outreach efforts and a number of successful collaborative projects. As part of the recently finished Europeana Migration project, EUscreen partners contributed enriched content to the new thematic collection on the Europeana portal, which highlights the impact of migration on Europe’s sciences, arts and public life. New content was also added to the EUscreen portal by the National Film Archive-Audiovisual Institute – a curated collection of materials about renowned Polish film director Krzysztof Kieślowski and the education programme In Between, which depicts multi-ethnic communities living in different border regions around Europe. The majority of this content was added under a licence allowing its free reuse for educational purposes.

Another highlight of the year was After the Great War – A New Europe 1918-1923 – a travelling exhibition for which EUscreen and our partners from the European Film Gateway collaboratively curated a video offering different perspectives on post-war Europe (read more about this in our previous blog post). We were also excited to report on progress for the ongoing Europeana Media project in which several EUscreen partners are developing a media player that aims to increase the visibility, reuse, research and interaction with audiovisual content.

Looking at our upcoming activities in 2019, we announced the start of the (Re)Viewing European Stories project, which was successfully submitted for the EUROCLIO and Evens Foundation call. The project aims to develop interactive learning activities based on audiovisual content from the EUscreen collection. Ideas for the next strategic plan (2020-2022) were also discussed. Some of the main priorities the network partners brought up were data enrichment, improving access to multilingual content and reuse of EUscreen collections in educational environments.

We wrapped up the assembly with a presentation from Europeana Foundation’s Julia Fallon,  who gave a brief update on the most recent developments at Europeana and introduced strategies to help cultural heritage institutions understand and measure the impact of their work. She also pointed out how organisations can revisit their copyright strategies using, which provides 12 standardised rights statements for online cultural heritage. She also invited EUscreen participants to join one of the Europeana Network Communities.

Ranke.2 Workshop – Audiovisual Heritage for Education

Following the general assembly, the research team at C2DH invited us to get our hands on the digital methods and tools developed at its research centre. Stefania Scagliola introduced us to Ranke.2 – an open source teaching platform that offers lessons on digital source criticism. Through a very playful form, the website aims to provide students with the essential skills needed to critically assess digital resources.

During this workshop, we used audiovisual materials from the EUscreen portal to create interactive quizzes and storyboards and think of topics that students could discuss in classrooms to better understand and reflect on the medium of the digital. This was a really inspiring exercise that we are eager to build on to further promote the use of audiovisual heritage in educational contexts.

The Changing Role of Women in Media

For the second part of our meeting, we moved to the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel (CNA). As the national audiovisual archive, CNA is home to Luxembourg’s moving image, photography and sound archives. Alessandra Luciano, lead film archivist and collection manager, invited us to celebrate the women’s history month with a discussion about the representation of women in media.

Viviane Thill, head of the film and television department at CNA, presented her research on the iconic Luxembourgish television programme Hei Elei, which often enforced gender stereotypes by putting men in the position of power and giving them the space to voice their opinion, while portraying women as housewives or beauties on the television set. Looking at the collection from the European Film Gateway, Kerstin Herlt discussed the changing role of women in new contexts as captured in films produced during WWI  (see the curated collection of films here). Finally, bringing us to contemporary times, Marta Roqueta Fernandez introduced the project On són les dones (Eng. “where are the women?”), which monitors Catalan media and uses online platforms to draw attention to those sources that underrepresent female voices.

News from the Network

We ended the official part of the programme with updates from our network partners, who were invited to present the latest activities in their organisations:

  • Representing our associate network the European Film Gateway, Kerstin Herlt walked us through EFG’s approach to content and metadata aggregation and close collaboration with archives to curate thematic collections.
  • Jolė Stimbrytė from the Lithuanian Central State Archive spoke about the creative reuse potential of archival collections and introduced the RE:VIVE project where Lithuanian folk music recordings were transformed into an electronic music album (listen to a sample here)
  • Martin Bouda showcased the web projects that Czech Television created in the past year to commemorate important historical moments in Czech history, including an interactive online comic that retells the events of 1968 using archival documents.
  • Hysen Hundozi, one of the new faces in the network, introduced us to the history of Radiotelevizioni i Kosovës and the ambitions to digitise its rich collections.  
  • Sinéad Bhreathnach Cashell from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive discussed how, through successful digitisation projects, the archive created new opportunities for different communities to engage and reuse its collections.
  • Mathy Vanbuel, representing Audiovisual Technologies, Informatics &  Telecommunications in the Europeana Media project, zoomed in on the use cases and functionalities that the media player will introduce.

We ended the day with a tour of The Bitter Years exhibition, a wonderfully curated collection of photographs now owned by CNA, documenting the rural life in America during the years of the Great Depression.

It was a truly heartwarming experience to spend a day with this tightly-knit community and welcome new members into our midst. We look forward to our next gatherings and hope that this meeting ignited some fresh ideas for future collaboration!

Photo credits: ©CNA, Romain Girtgen