Day 1 – Lose your modesty!

Ignite talks

Day 1 – Monday 7 December Dish_rood Track 1: Lose your modesty!

The Amsterdam Collection
Henk Wals

Henk WalsHenk Wals studied Social and Economic history at the University of Amsterdam. After having worked in the corporate sector for 10 years, in 1982 he accepted a position with the International Institute of Social History, where he has been deputy director from 1993 until 2005. In 2000, he gained his PhD with a study on survival strategies of construction workers in Amsterdam during the first quarter of the 20th century. His main research interests are living strategies of workers and trade unionism. In 2004 he was appointed interim director of Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, an Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2010 the Huygens Institute merged with the Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis (ING) and Henk Wals became director of the Huygens-ING Institute, the largest Institute for research on the humanities in the Netherlands. Since 2012, Henk Wals holds the appointment of general director of the International Institute of Social History, a research institute of the KNAW with a large and world-renowned collection. He is also, amongst others, national coordinator of the DARIAH European research infrastructure, board member of OAPEN (Open Access Monographs Foundation), OPuS (Open Access Publishing Services) and Adamnet (Amsterdam Heritage Institutions Network).

“Amsterdam holds more than 30 great heritage institutions. If we virtually combine their metadata and digital objects on the history of the city of Amsterdam, and work together with digital humanities experts and the creative industry, we can build one of the richest resources on city history in the world, with endless possibilities.”

Short presentation of a plan which grew out of Adamnet, a strategic alliance of more than 30 libraries, archives and museums based in Amsterdam. The idea is to combine 1) all metadata and 2) all digital material related to the (history of) the city of Amsterdam in a virtual collection, and work together with Digital Humanities and IT-scientists of Amsterdam-based research institutions like University of Amsterdam, Free University and Institutions of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as with the Creative Industry to create state-of-the-art means of access, tools of analysis and visualization and apps.

Opening up heritage in a university context – the double-win approach
Nele Gabriëls

Nele GabrielsNele Gabriëls is Coordinator Digital Projects for the Imaging Lab of the University Library, KU Leuven (Belgium). Within this role, she stimulates new project ideas from potential customers, supervises project workflows from concept to publication stages, and liaises between stakeholders. Due to her background as a researcher in historical musicology focusing on the urban context of renaissance sources (Ph.D.), she has a passion for both exploring and raising awareness of the exciting possibilities that digitisation has to offer for innovative research.

“Digitisation should be valued for what it is: a key instrument in empowering new research perspectives by opening up and digitally enriching heritage objects.”

As a university library with a large heritage collection, the Leuven University Library has a double function: as a supporter of research and teaching and as a guardian and communicator of its heritage collections. The Digital Lab plays a part in this mission. We create digital content from analogue objects, archive them, and make them available through our catalogue. But how do we really get this content to be valued for what it is? What added value can we give this digitised content and how? And in what way can we get our message across, that digitised wares open up whole new pathways not only for heritage validation for the wider public but also for fundamental research?

Teaming up with researchers has created a context not only in which our digitised heritage has been used, valued and enriched but also in which the Digital Lab has been able to expand its expertise and infrastructure so as to open up new possibilities in research. Key examples such as the RICH and Lectio projects will be given.

How to share a dark page of history with society
Roosanne Goudbeek

Roosanne GoudbeekRoosanne Goudbeek (1972) studied journalism, graduate essay: authenticity of photo journalism in the digital revolution. I worked as a communications officer for an art dealer specializing in 17th- and 18th-century decorative arts and subsequently as a communications officer developing creative concepts for the clients of a public-relations agency. Since 2002 I work for the Zeeland Archives as a communications officer, a web content manager and now and then as a project manager, for example on the digitization of the 16th-century archives on warfare at sea (2005-2008) and on the blog about the 18th-century slave voyage of The Unity (2011-2015). History is like a rear-view mirror, to quote the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980): “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror.” The power of history in our lives is fascinating. As the American writer and journalist Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) wrote: “The past is never where you think you left it”.

When Unesco inscribed our archives of the Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie (an 18th century slave trader) in the Memory of the World Register, it was time to LOOSE OUR MODESTY. We designed a plan to digitize the entire archives, to publish the scans online & to showcase one of the slave voyages by means of a blog. We convinced new partners to sponsor our plan. We made a blog that enabled visitors worldwide to follow a slave voyage day by day – and gained 55.000 unique visitors (
On invitation of the United Nations we presented our digitization project and blog in March 2015 in the United Nations Human Rights Council and participated in the debate on the state of racial discrimination worldwide. In the spring of 2016, after a period of 3 years, we will present the digitized archives online.
By losing our modesty and standing up for ourselves we have reached a diverse, international, growing audience. What did it take? A good idea, authentic information from the archives of a slave trader, experience with digitization projects, supportive partners and courage.

The Bridge Europe: VR-bike race connecting Europe’s future cities with cultural heritage
Lizzy Komen & Rene van Engelenburg

Lizzy KomenLizzy Komen is working as a project manager at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision R&D Department. Digital AV culture, users and research are at the heart of the activities she is involved in. She is mainly working on externally (FP7, ICT-PSP, H2020) funded research projects that focus on providing access to digital heritage and the creative re-use of these materials through projects like Europeana Creative and Europeana Space. Besides EU projects she’s also involved in the Dutch Digital Humanities research infrastructure project CLARIAH, the recently launched Sound and Vision Labs platform and innovative projects using new technologies such as 3D/VR. Komen holds an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. – Arthur M. Schlesinger

René van EngelenburgRene van Engelenburg, MA Media and Architecture, is Artistic and General director of DROPSTUFF MEDIA, a media platform for digital and interactive experiences in arts and sciences. DROPSTUFF is a ‘museum without walls’, a media network that presents digital and digitized artworks, animations, videos and artistic games on public screens in The Netherlands. In special projects experiments with real interaction between people in different geographical (public) locations through screens, mobiles, different detections-methods, exploring the artistic possibilities of the newest of new media.

THE BRIDGE EUROPE is a cultural media project, organized by, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Europeana. Imagine you could see 50 years of future development in a European city happen right in front of your eyes as you are riding your bike through it. A city that reflects the beauty of Europe’s combined cultural heritage through art.

The project features two installations that will connect the City of Amsterdam to many other European cities. Each installation includes a Virtual Reality headset, a bike hooked up to a computer and a huge screen on which bystanders can follow the cyclists’ navigation through the city. The two cyclists, each in another city, will try to cross a Virtual Reality city in the same time. The goal? Racing to be the quickest while crossing Europe by bike! The moment at which the race is done, a camera switches on at both locations and users and bystanders can see and interact with each other., Sound and Vision and Europeana will present this project as an example of how to use digital collections in new media applications that literally will form bridges between European citizens.