“Europeana Space: Creative with Digital Heritage” – Enroll now!


Online courses – MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses – have become a popular means to access information freely, explore new subjects, update one’s knowledge, and learn something new.

In the past months, Cultural Studies Professor Fred Truyen has been organizing the online course Europeana Space: Creative with Digital Heritage. The mission of this MOOC is to show how people can become creative with Europeana and digital cultural content, to demonstrate what Europeana can bring to the learning community, and to bring about the essential concept that cultural content is not just to contemplate, but to live and engage with. This is an extremely topical subject since the online availability of digital cultural heritage keeps growing; it is therefore more and more necessary that users, from passive readers, learn to find, understand, reuse and remix the online resource in an active and creative fashion.

The course feeds into the experiences of the Europeana Space (E-Space) Pilots and brings you the results of their research, analyses and test cases. The educational idea behind the E-Space MOOC is to lower barriers to the access and reuse of cultural heritage content on Europeana and similar sources, providing tutorials and trial versions of applications and tools alongside with reading materials and useful tips and best practices gathered during the course of the project.


Pick one of these inspiring modules, or just take them all!

Photography: In this module you will learn how to create your own stories with vintage photographs online, using Europeana and other open content, and remixing it with personal narratives and images.

Open and Hybrid Publishing: In this task-based module you will learn how to put together an online book by studying aspects of Photomediations: An Open Book as a case study. Materials included in this session range from online articles on photography and other arts, some visual material, to guidance notes about the use and reuse of CC-licensed material, Open Access and Open and Hybrid Publishing model. The most exciting part of this module is a freewheeling and playful challenge exercise which involves students reusing and remixing pre-existing material from Photomediations: An Open Book in order to create their own resource.

TV: Europeana Space developed a series of multiscreen applications for TV, focusing on reuse scenarios of cultural heritage. You will learn different ways in which archive footage can be re-used online, which formats exist, and which technology and coding languages can be utilized to make video available in a TV setting.

Dance: The E-Space Dance Pilot MOOC offers a series of activities for learners at different stages, ranging from undergraduates to PGR students, to showcase and encourage uptake of the dance pilot tools. The activities will enable learners to build personal dance collections on selected themes and discover how an online annotation tool can support the creation and analysis of dance.

Museums: This module will help you designing web-based and mobile services tailor made not only for the visitors but also for museums and memorials staff, especially for those who are in charge of  designing educational paths, by sharing lessons learned and best practices.

IP for the Cultural Entrepreneur: This module will guide you through the process of managing intellectual property rights from an initial idea through to a start-up business. You will learn how to develop a clear strategy when it comes to intellectual property rights associated with digital cultural content and its commercial re-use. You will be introduced to E-Space tools and case studies which will demonstrate how to clear copyright, source open re-usable content, carry out IP audits and risk assessments, and how to approach licensing and the IPR associated with hackathons, business modelling and incubation.

Creative Marketing: The aim of this module is to stimulate creative ideas on communicating cultural contents with the use of new media and to show how a greater audience can be reached by combining the power of social media and storytelling and how audiences can be better engaged.


Whether you are a student or teacher with an interest in cultural heritage, a GLAM professional, a developer or a cultural heritage amateur, this MOOC is for you. Every module is in fact organized on three levels in order to satisfy the needs of all the learners:

  • Students or teachers? Or just a culture fan? The information provided here concerns digital cultural heritage in a broad sense; different kinds of content are presented and it is explained how to easily reuse them. No technical skills or understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the cultural sector are needed for this level of information.
  • GLAM professionals (galleries, libraries, archives and museums). The information provided here presuppose a professional knowledge of the sector. The aim is to help GLAM professional discovering and understanding useful tools – such as those on the E-Space platform and Europeana Labs – that can be used to enhance, remix, rethink, play with collections in new and fascinating ways.
  • Nothing of the above: you are a serious developer! This is the most technical part of each module and it is intended as a way for developers to discover the tools they can work with (e.g. the multiscreen toolkit, the Europeana APIs, …)


The Europeana Space MOOC Creative with Digital Heritage is planned to take place during the first semester of 2016/2017 academic year and will begin the 10th of October 2016. The enrollment has opened this month on the KU Leuven channel of the edX platform.

Digital cultural heritage is online and ready to be creatively reused: enroll now and start learning!

Fred Truyen and Clarissa Colangelo

A Book, An Endless Love Affair

By Jan Baetens

BUS SPOTTING + A STORY, a collaborative work by Paula Roush (images) and Mireille Ribière (text) is a work to fall in love with. It is also the perfect example of what Borges called a book of sand – that is, a work that is apparently simple but actually infinite, since each time one reopens the book, it proves to have lost the pages one already knew while surprising the reader with new pages that she had never seen before (Borges’s book of sand is of course the symbol of what great literature should be and what it can do with a reader, but this is another discussion).


Dedicated to ‘transport enthusiasts’ and short-listed for the Photo-Text Award at Les Rencontres de la photographie Arles, the world’s most famous photo festival, BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is generically defined by the authors as a ‘photo-essay’. This term, however, is slightly misleading (but don’t worry: after all this is a book of sand!), for it does not draw attention to another dimension: BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is also an artist book, that is ‘a limited hand-made book, which is usually exhibited and, with a lot of luck, purchased by a museum or a collector (which basically covers the costs of production)’. Roush and Ribière’s work is a superb example of craftsmanship and invention and demonstrates that a book is not only what can be found between two covers. BUS SPOTTING + A STORY has no cover in the traditional sense of the word, it is more a collection of various items of various forms, content and sizes, whose profound unity is the world of bus-spotting (of course the book includes a discussion on why the term of bus-spotting is not appropriated to characterize the love of transport). As a book object, BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is deeply linked with the rediscovery of the sculptural dimension of texts and pictures, which are not only 2D objects, but also 3D objects. There is more than a hidden relationship between BUS SPOTTING + A STORY and Chris Ware’s Building Stories (Pantheon, 2013), which is equally fascinated with the idea of the book as ‘container’ of many different objects and treasures.

At the same time, BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is a very personal and creative appropriation of a vital strand in modern photography and writing, namely found footage, more precisely: found photographs. However, since these pictures happen to contain a dizzying variety of words and inscriptions, found photographs are also found texts (it is, of course, not a coincidence that Mireille Ribière is not only writer but also photographer and that Paula Roush similarly combines word and image in her various assignments). BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is based upon found images of double and single-decker buses, mainly from the fifties and the sixties, which are arranged in such a way that the new sequences – for there is of course more than just one rearrangement – suggest not only a bus ride through time and space (reading the book becomes a kind of armchair bus-spotting) but prove capable of generating a fictional thread, logically linked with the passionate love the original photographers experienced with the subject of their images. The fiction that appears as a kind of watermark through the pictures and that is elaborated in one of the parts of BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is not surprisingly indebted to the world of melodrama, romance and photo novel. Text and image fit so well that one no longer knows whether the latter has inspired the former, or vice versa.

Roush and Ribière have composed a work of endless fascination and of great visual and textual beauty. Moreover BUS SPOTTING + A STORY is an intriguing case of blurring the boundaries between two auras: that of the unique and individual work of art (the book is not part of the trade publishing industry) and that of daily life, to which the authors pay a deeply felt tribute, which calls to mind, among many other things, Georges Perec’s praise of the infra-ordinary – one more thread to follow in this eye-opening creation.


Paula Roush and Mireille Ribière, BUS SPOTTING + A STORY (London: msdm publishers, 2016; edition of 250)


An eternal dilemma: too much or not enough?

By Jan Baetens

Judith Schlanger, a French writer and philosopher and professor emeritus at the University of Jerusalem, is best known for her research on the notion of “invention” (what does it mean to produce “new” knowledge, how can we recognize it, what is the relationship between the new and the old that does not necessarily disappear, etc.). But her work also encompasses a vital rhetorical strand, where she addresses similar questions in a more literary context. I can’t recommend enough the reading of books like La Mémoire des œuvres (2008, new edition), Présence des œuvres perdues (2010) or Le neuf, le different et le déjà là. Une exploration de l’influence (2014) – none of them translated into English, alas. This work is exactly what literary scholarship should be doing today: a fresh and thought-provoking reflection on the stakes of literature, and the forms it should take. In other words: the why and the how, but all in one. William Marx, Gilles Philippe, Pierre Bayard are other examples of what is not a “school” but a living set of (French) examples to follow (in my memoirs I will say more on the examples not to follow, but only retirement will set me free of certain institutional constraints).

61ASEGgGTJLSchlanger’s newest book, Trop dire ou trop peu. Essai sur la densité littéraire (Paris, Hermann, 2016) addresses a question that no one who takes writing seriously can ever avoid: Where do I stop? How can I be sure that I have said enough (for to say more would be a bore to the reader)? And how do I know that I have to say something more (for if I don’t my reader will discard my text as opaque or incomprehensible). Very simple questions, but real questions, which can never be fully answered.

Schlanger takes a double approach toward the “density problem”.  First of all, she reframes the old rhetorical question in modern media-theoretical ways. With the help of McLuhan’s distinction between hot and cold media (a hot medium being a medium that says “too much” and so for that reason “chills” the reader, making her passive and lazy; a cold medium being a medium that “doesn’t” say “enough” and therefore excites the reader, making her curious and challenging her wit and intelligence), she manages to discuss the complex and often very paradoxical relationships between a given form (ranging between too dense and not dense enough) and a given readerly reaction (ranging between excitement and boredom, which Schlanger acknowledges as an essential dimension of reading, just as forgetting is of culture). Second, she then examines the density problem from different point of views (for instance that of genre).

Trop dire ou trop peu is a book in which one learns on every page. Schlanger’s erudition is fabulous, but never heavy. She asks the right questions, problematizes the answers that we think are the good ones, and generously offers us wonderful quotations from very different literary and linguistic traditions. It is also a book that can be read as a user’s manual. One feels throughout that each word, each sentence, each paragraph has been written with the density question in mind. Yet this does not mean that Schlanger simply tries to shorten her text, in order to obtain maximum density. She knows when and where to repeat, and she also knows how do to it in a way that makes repetition and lack of density interesting and appealing (her mastery of the rhetorical figure of synonymic enumeration is breathtaking!).