1 October 2014

New project to analyze the impact of digitization of the past

The past’s future: digital transformations and cultural heritage institutions

A new inter-institutional project has been granted 5.9 million DKK by the VELUX FOUNDATION to investigate how the digitization at cultural heritage institutions affects the framework and concepts of ‘education’ and the ‘past’. Professor Helle Porsdam will lead the project which will be based at the Saxo Institute.

Digital access to a fundamental human right
Promoting individual freedom and empowerment and yielding important development benefits, education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. Today, more and more of the world’s cultural and educational resources are produced, distributed and accessed in digital form rather than on paper and cultural heritage institutions are important access points:

- Cultural heritage institutions are significant stakeholders in the digital transformations, and they currently allocate many resources to scanning, metadata editing and presenting texts and other cultural artifacts, states Helle Porsdam.

Education and the future of the past
Digitization creates new possibilities for making culture accessible, for creating public access to historical knowledge, and for presenting culture as the collective memory of society. However, it also raises complex questions in relation to methods of interpreting and using knowledge.

- We will analyze how we may understand the concept and framework of education in light of the digital transformations – and how these transformations affect the future of the past as collected, preserved and disseminated by cultural heritage institutions, says Helle Porsdam.

Grant details
The grant awarded by the VELUX FOUNDATION runs from 2015 until 2019 and the core members of the research group are:

The project collaborates with professor Jeffrey Schnapp, Director of metaLAB at Harvard University, and with three Danish national cultural heritage institutions: