Malmö University lecturer Maria Engberg has been appointed to serve as part of the Network Association for Europeana — a community of experts working in the field of cultural heritiage.

The members of the association include companies, museums and higher education institutions from all over Europe. Engberg was voted in as one of 23 representatives to sit on Euopeana’s Members Council.

“I think it’s going to be really interesting. A lot of the work will be advisory, but members can also push for certain issues we’d like to work with, through something called working groups. These groups can mobilise Europeana’s archives and member institutions for projects like online exhibitions, or curating digital material,” she says.

When working with digital archives, we need to ask: how do we make the material more inclusive so that everyone can partake?

Maria Engberg

Engberg is particularly interested in digitisation, and hopes that the new role for Europeana will give her the chance to work with making digital materials more accessible.

“We need to view accessibility as something that also exists online. When working with digital archives, we need to ask: how do we make the material more inclusive so that everyone can partake? My interest in this comes partially from a larger research project at Malmö University that I was involved in, called Living Archives. We looked at some of the problematic assumptions that go into the process of archiving colonial histories. For example, how the black subject is often erased through archival practices.

“I’ve also been working a lot with augmented and virtual reality, and am interested in 3D materials. Europeana is currently building a database of material such as 3D scans of objects, 360-degree photography and 3D models, which can help create much more interesting and contextually rich archives.”

The Members Council will meet several times a year, with the first gathering taking place in The Hague next month. The idea is to share knowledge and collaborate with other organisations grappling with questions within the field of cultural heritage.

“I think the collaborative possibilities are really valuable. It also connects to the research programme that I’m heading up now, called Data Society, in which digital culture is an important theme. Being part of Europeana is a great way to highlight some of the work that we’re doing at Malmö University.”

Text: Maya Acharya