After the Damages International Academy hosted their 2nd online event (featuring 4CH) on Tuesday the 22nd June which has been made available here as a video with an accompanying summary. The event, which was held mainly in English with  some Italian, was recorded but the bilateral interpretation is not available with the video so it is indicated where Italian is used. The start and end time of each talk in the video is also indicated to aid the viewer to browse and select those talks of interest to them.

Silvia Rossi, Manager of Clust-ER BUILD, opened the event  by explaining how to interact with the talk. Roberto di Giulio [03:20], Director of After the Damages Academy and Scientific Co-ordinator of 4CH, acknowledged the speakers (thanking Anne Bajart of DG-CONNECT who was standing in for Rehana Schwinninger-Ladak) and then spoke about the Academy [05:00] and its aims which include training on topics such as CH and climate change, risk strategy, technology and informatics. He moved onto to outline the talk [07:10] before passing the floor to Anne Bajart, Deputy Head of Unit – Interactive Technologies, Digital for Culture and Education, DG CNECT G.2,European Commission, [08:20] who officially opened the event. She mentioned a couple of upcoming initiatives – the Digital Decade which will direct the Commissions’ work over the next years and the Data Strategy which will build on Europeana and includes development of technologies such as 3D and Artificial Intelligence. 4CH is very much in line with the Commissions’ ambitions for Cultural Heritage (CH) along with creating sustainability.

The floor passed back to Roberto [16:30] who introduced the next speaker, Morena Diazzi, DGCLI, Regione Emilia-Romagna (Councillor for Economic Activities, Human Resources and Equal Opportunities for the Region of Emilia-Romagna) [17:10-25:45, Italian] who welcomed the development of 4CH. Speaker No. 3 was Francesco Taccetti from INFN, the 4CH Project Co-ordinator [27:20-39:20 ] who outlined the project’s objectives, the organisations involved and proposed 4CH structure, concluding the first part of the talk.

Round table one: Digital Cultural Heritage – a vision for the next ten years

The first round table was chaired by Franco Niccolucci, PIN [39:40-47:10] who introduced the session with a short presentation. He explained why 4CH is looking into the future and how the impact of disruptive technology is leading to digital transformation. Franco then went on to say a bit about his background and that of the panellists, starting with Harry Verwayen, followed by David Stork,  Julian Richards, and Eva Savina Malinverni.

Harry Verwayen, Executive Director of Europeana [48:00-1:01:00 ] presented “Reflections on the next 10 years”. He described how Europeana had, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, invited ten CH thought leaders to share their views on how the CH sector will develop. Three main themes covered were: 1) How does cultural data become big data? 2) How do we tell stories? and, 3) How do we interface with that data, what are the technologies that will be used? which Harry elaborated on in his talk.

David Stork, Stanford University, [1:00:53-1:18:10 ] “Towards computer-assisted connoisseurship” started with an example followed by a more general talk about the programme and the questions and concerns that are often raised regarding these techniques. “Christ in the carpenter’s studio” by Georges de la Tour in the Louvre, Paris was cited as an example of a controversial theory by artist David Hockney that some artists secretly used optical devices during the execution of their works to enhance their naturalism. David explained how computers were used to calculate the probabilities associated with various aspects of the lighting in the picture involving the contours and light sources which disproved Hockney’s theory. This is one just application, there are many others including use of colour, brushstrokes, authentication, etc. He then moved on to objections to the method, one being that it is incorrectly assumed that paintings faithfully reproduce a scene. Using lighting and perspective as examples, he explained how this was not the case but computer analysis actually leads to a better understanding of paintings. Computers and image analysis should be viewed as a tool for art historians. More on this topic can be found in David Stork’s forthcoming book “Pixels and Paintings Foundations of computer-assisted connoisseurship” (Publisher: Wiley).

Julian Richards, Director of the Archaeology Data Service based at the University of York [1.19:50-1:35:28 ] spoke about “Making Archaeology FAIR: Challenges and opportunities for heritage data sharing for the next decade”. In particular, Julian focussed on digital access and re-use challenges, data re-use being one of the most difficult aspects of FAIR. He cited some of the findings from the ARIADNEplus User Needs Survey, one of which is the lack of data repositories. As ADS have successfully set up a repository for UK Archaeology data and this is something that 4CH can support others with doing, he wished to share his experience. Professional ethics plays a central role in archaeology and archiving of data is key to this. Julian then provided some background on the Archaeology Data Service and their recent FAIR Assessment. On the subject of data reuse, some thought needs to be given to metadata and specific re-use cases. Tools are required for data extraction and provenance and trust are important. Most archaeological data does not originate from research but from commercial development. How can research re-use value be measured? An economic assessment is one approach and which showed that ADS provided a good return on investment and the final slide summarised the key points for future consideration.

The last presentation, “Discover and share the Digital CH value by GEO-AI Challenges” [1:37:23-1:55:05]  was given by Eva Malinverni, Professor of Geomatics at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy [Italian audio, English slides]. Eva starts with an overview of the GEO data challenges and use of Artificial Intelligence providing some applications where the latter can help. These included a study into the behaviours and emotions of park users in order to provide better services, point cloud semantic segmentation and the use of GIS with BIM data. The Significance initiative uses AI to prevent CH cultural trafficking. Eva then went to look at how AI should be used in order to fulfil requirements such as being usable and understandable to a wide range of end users.

Round table two: the role and organization of the International Advisory Board of the Competence Centre

The second round table [2:04:38-2:19:04] was hosted by Roberto Di Di Giulio. The format was one round of five minutes per person to give their response to the topic of the role and organization of the International Advisory Board of the Competence Centre (CC). He explained that 4CH is the project to set up the CC and that it is important to involve all the relevant parties. The project is setting up the basic structure of the Advisory Board which consists of around 30 people. He had sent some questions to the round table participants to consider in advance and made it clear that the role of the CC should not overlap that of national institutions as shown in the slide illustrating the structure and different levels and roles. Secondly, there is the question of the Advisory Boards’ relationship with the CC. The CC must build up a network among the participating CH organisations whereas the Advisory Board should establish a network of experts who can offer their insight and experience to the CC.

The Speakers are:

  1. Mario Santana Quintero, Professor at Carleton University, Secretary General, ICOMOS [2:19:05-2:26:20] and what this International organisation can bring to 4CH.
  2. Catherine Cullen, United Cities and Local Governments UCLG [2:28:40-2:34:36] works with cities and local governments to show the value of culture in development. Advocates to UN.
  3. Sanne de Koning, Director of Monumenten Wacht, The Netherlands [2:37:33-2:41:12 ] which advises monument owners on inexpensive preservation strategies.
  4. Jyoti Hosagrahar, Deputy Director World Heritage Centre, UNESCO [2:41:36-2:49:38 ]. UNESCO is looking forward to understanding how the CC will provide advice for implementing recommendations for World Heritage Sites. Also, developing competences in regions and sustainable development.
  5. Marie-Veronique Leroi, Department of digital for cultural policies transformation and data management, Ministry of Culture, France [2:51:45-2:57:15]. She is responsible for defining and implementing the strategy for linked open data and she has recently been elected as the Chair of the Europeana Aggregator Forum. She is keen for the CC and Europeana to work closely together and for the CC to have synergy with French national CH policies. Finally, sustainability is important.
  6. Daniele Pini, OUR World Heritage [3:00:02-3:06:52] deals with urban heritage. His experience is that Italy integrates CH and its protection in its urban planning. Local government and institutions have a very important roles and the CC should liaise with these. Inventories are integral and the CC can help define what data should be recorded for urban valorisation and conservation. Intangible heritage is not taken not consideration but should be. Networking and transdisciplinary approaches should also be addressed by the CC.
  7. Uta Pottgiesser, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands [3:09:07-3:15:40] will be the next Chair of Docomomo International. The NL are very forward-looking with regard to Open Data and Open Science – and Open Education. There is a need for a match-making between data types and purposes, a grid which may already exist in some institutions. Involving students to define what data and tools they need could be a useful experimental approach. Uta endorsed the importance of networking and bridging the (digital) gaps between different fields.
  8. Germano Paini, Associazione internazionale DiCultHer, Italy [3:18:00-3:27:06] identifies 5 issues that 4CH can help address: 1) How to manage the relationships between disciplines, 2) How to define the relationship of the CC with involved institutions, 3) How to overcome the dichotomy between conservation and valorisation 4) How to support the digital development of the project and 5) How to support training and upskilling.
  9. Rugile Puodziuniene, Ministry of Culture, Chief Officer – Memory Institutions Policy Group, Lithuania [3:29:54-3:33:46] identifies dissemination of new, upcoming information about standards, technologies etc. for CH which is often dispersed and difficult to find as an issue that a CC can address. Identification of user needs, especially at the national level is important. To advise on issues such as metadata in national languages, how to deal with copyright of new products.
  10. Antonio Sgamellotti, Accademia dei Lincei, Italy [3:34:32-3:39:31] is also a founder of the MoLab for the mobile, in-situ non-invasive investigation for CH. He stresses the importance of collaboration between private and public institutions. A network of scientific academies whose work is promoted through workshops and training is also recommended for the CC along with inter-disciplinarity.
  11. Chris Vastenhoud, Royal Museums for Art and History, Brussels, Belgium [3:41:24-3:3:47:15] can provide the perspective from museums, especially the smaller museums who may ask “what’s in it for us?”. A CC is a one-stop-shop all the links to required information can be found. Technology is judged on the experience it ultimately delivers to museum (and online) visitors. Public interest in research into preservation and conservation can be used to build a more complete view on digital heritage which differs greatly from the original.

The last 10 minutes of the talk consisted of Roberto putting forward some ideas for the next meeting of the Advisory Board, such as creating a map of the main institutions across Europe. Francesco and Franco contributed their thoughts on the project and Roberto thanked all involved with Sylvia concluding the event.