“Open Up Museums!” Conference in Trento-Rovereto – (Relatively) Short Report

May seems to be rather busy with conferences. Last week Péter Mezei and I visited Krems an der Donau, where the Conference on Innovation and Communication Law (CICL22) took place. This week I traveled to Trento, where a conference titled Open UP Museums dedicated to the GLAM sector was held. Let me share my experiences with you because I have seen and heard a lot.

The two-day-long program started with the Museums, intellectual property, and access to culture panel, which was opened by Patricia Famà, who highlighted the importance of the cultural preservation institutions. Her welcome words were followed by the welcome speech of Roberto Caso, who raised the audience’s attention to the H2020 ReCreating Europe, InDICEs, and Dancing research projects and thanked the Giulia Dore and Marta Arisi for the organization of the Open Up Museums! conference.

The first panel was chaired by Giulia Dore, an organizer of the event and an important contributor to the WP5 GLAM research team in H2020 ReCreating. Kristina Petrasova (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) shared her thoughts on the collaborative making – connecting art education to cultural heritage collections, with special regard to the history writing as a political activity, the need for creative minds as well as the phenomenon of remixing culture and the importance of the creative communities. Marta Arisi (University of Trento) held a speech on the relationship between open data and cultural establishments from a regulatory perspective. Barbara Pasa (University of Venice Iuav) contributed to this interesting panel by talking about the questions of reproduction, reuse, and open access, with special regard to the digital habits of Generation Z and Alpha (the so-called Digitarians) and digital technologies and new types of uses. Fiona Macmillan (Birbeck College, University of London) talked about the necessity of regulating communities with strategies for an open museum sector, which, she believes, is the custodian of our cultural heritage, because they are the holders of the record of humankind. In this regard, she also shared a very interesting aspect of cultural heritage preservation, namely the opposition of non-western, post-colonial cultures to the Western appropriation of the cultural heritage of former colonial nations. The last speaker of the panel was Konrad Gliściński (Jagiellonian University/Centrum Cyfrowe) who held a presentation about the public mission of cultural heritage institutions, with special regard to the question of what is the public mission hidden in copyright law and limitations and exceptions, and whether the linear value chains of creation should be understood in a different, more flexible circular manner.

Photo: István HarkaiThe second panel, which was opened by Lorenzo Beltrame (University of Trento) was dedicated to the barriers to access to digital culture for vulnerable groups and to the inclusivity, as well as the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. The first presenters were Delia Ferri and Katie Donnellan (Maynooth University) who shared their research results within the H2020 ReCreating Europe on the barriers to accessing digital cultural content from a perspective of the experience of vulnerable and minority groups. Giulia Rossello (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) stayed on this track when she introduced her views on the access to printed material for people with visual impairments in the light of the Marrakesh Treaty, and the research results of the survey (conducted in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Poland) related to accessibility barriers and the Marrakesh Treaty. Sofie Taes’s (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) presentation was about the community-driven approach to more expressive and inclusive digital heritage collections with special regard to the role of meta data and the responsibility of preserving and making available heritage representing upsetting events in human history, e.g., pictures of war crimes and torture. The panel was ended with the speeches of Federica Facchetti and Alessia Fassone (Museo Egizio) who shared first-hand experiences from the GLAM sector regarding inspiration and storytelling stemming from the collections of the preservation institution, and on the other hand, the role of art in learning foreign languages, for example, Italian.

The first day ended with a training session on digitization’s legal and practical aspects.

For the second day of the conference, the whole team traveled to the town of Rovereto. Keeping the accessibility to culture in mind, the organizers invited a sign language interpreter for the sake of the disabled attendees of the conference. The event was opened by Sara Di Giorgio (Ministero della Cultura) and Aldo Grassini (President of Museq Omero).

The first panel, chaired by Delia Ferri (Maynooth University) was dedicated to the topic of the specific legal tools, experiences, and best practices in fostering accessibility for persons with disabilities in cultural organizations. The first presentation was given by Léa Urzel (Maynooth University) on the right to culture of persons with disabilities through the lens of CRDP (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). Ann Leahy (Maynooth University) introduced the barriers, facilitators, and best practices in accessing culture, with special regard to the views of organizations of people with disabilities in Europe. Delia Ferri (Maynooth University) talked about the role of the European Union in advancing the accessibility of culture for persons with disabilities. Ginevra Niccolucci’s (Prisma) presentation was also about accessibility from a methodological and technological perspective with special regard to The Museo4U Case. Katia Franzoso and Romana Scandolari (Muse) introduced practical experiences and best practices for making museums accessible. The first panel’s last presenters were Carlo Tamanini and Ornella Dossi (Mart) whose presentation was about accessibility and inclusion experiences at Mart.

After the coffee break, and after rather detailed but inspiring welcome notes of James Bradbourne (Director of Pinacoteca Brera), another exciting panel, led by Marta Iljadica (CREATe, Glasgow University), about inhabiting culture, digitization, copyright, and creativity with special regard to placemaking took place. Due to the fact that I was one

Photo: Giulia Dore

 of the speakers, I only enlist the presenters with the short title of their presentations. Maria Della Lucia (University of Trento) talked about new life blending culture, creativity, and tourism. Massimo Rospocher (Fondaziona Bruno Kessler – Italian-German Historical Institute) and Umberto Cecchinato (Università Degli Studi Roma Tre) introduced the rather exciting topic of discovering hidden cities with special regard to the hidden heritage of Trento by using mobile application technologies. Aleksandra Janus (Centrum Cyfrowe) highlighted the value and importance of the digital cultural heritage, the inhabiting communities, their identities, and places. Me (István Harkai – University of Szeged) and Francisco Duque Lima (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for IT&IP Law) seized the opportunity to give hindsight into the realm of video games, the challenges of preserving virtual worlds, and placemaking, and to the rather actual questions of live streaming video games. The rather fruitful event was closed with a guided museum visit in Mart.