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Europeana Creative at Mozilla Festival 2014: Redesign your cultural heritage!

January 28, 2015

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Redesign your cultural heritage! was a part of the Art & Culture on the Open Web track at Mozilla Festival 2014. Hands-on activities and participatory artworks were in the core of the track, which was organized for the first time at Mozilla Festival.

Europeana Creative participated the Mozilla Festival 2014 organized at Ravensbourne in London 24th to 26th of October. The full day workshop titled “Redesign your cultural heritage!” was a part of the Art and Culture on the Open Web track, which was organized for the first time at MozFest. The workshop aimed to introduce the participants to the open digital cultural heritage available online, and to inspire it’s creative re-use.

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Mozilla Festival 2014 gathered together almost 1700 enthusiastic participants from a variety of different backgrounds (technologists, educators, creators…), and countries (over 50). Over 300 hands-on workshops and sessions were organized under 11 tracks: Build and Teach the Web, Open Web With Things, The Mobile Web, Source Code for Journalism, Science and the Web, Art and Culture of the Web, Open Badges Lab, Hive Learning Networks, Musicians and Music Creators on the Open Web, Policy and Advocacy, and Community Building. (Source 2014.mozillafestival.org.)

The festival started for the facilitators already on Friday morning with general briefing, introductions and preparing for workshops. There were almost 500 facilitators at MozFest, so we were divided into smaller groups according to the track we were participating. Our track Art and Culture on the Open Web was a good mixture of nationalities and backgrounds, artworks and projects ranging from interactive storytelling to selfies and to designing webfonts – and everything in between. Read more about the Art and Culture of the Web track here. Images here.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All of the nine levels of Ravensbourne were taped full of signs pointing towards different tracks and workshops here and there. We had made posters using the pink Europeana poster template to spread around the building, and we also decided to attract people to come by taping a line of pink tape on the floor to lead people towards our space.

Redesign your cultural heritage! workshop took place on Saturday the 25th of October. The workshop consisted of several sessions where we wanted to introduce participants to the open cultural heritage available online, and to encourage them to re-use it in a creative way by making new designs or artworks out of it – digital or even tangible items.

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When participants had settled in, we started with introduction, short talks and demos to set up the day’s theme and introduce the participants to the hands-on activities.

We started the morning with a brief introduction to the day’s theme, open cultural heritage, quickly continuing to informative talks and demos. Presentation of the Europeana API started off the day’s program, and participants engaged in discussion from the start. Participants were genuinely interested about the open cultural heritage available via Europeana, and had good questions and suggestions concerning Europeana, its collections and media types.

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For further inspiration we introduced the demo version of Culture Cam for public for the very first time. Culture Cam is a similarity search tool for color, pattern and shape, that is being developed for accessing Europeana in a fun and playful way. The new tool was welcomed enthusiastically, and participants wanted to test it right away with different objects they had with them. We also got feedback and ideas how to develop Culture Cam further.

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The animated GIFs session gathered a group of participants with different levels of experience in making GIFs.

After the demo sessions we started the hands-on work by making animated GIFs from public domain content found from Europeana. In the animated GIFs session we continued to browse Europeana, and also used Culture Cam to find images to be animated. Even the searching for usable images proved to be fun and educating, as we ended up talking about copyright issues, tried and tested MyEuropeana and shared tips for using image editing software.

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Photoshop and GIMP were used during the session to create animated GIFs.

The session didn’t result in many finalized GIFs, but most importantly we managed to trigger interest towards open culture content reuse. Also several participants got a hold of the idea of how to make simple animations and were able to follow the work process posted here, even if they were working with GIFs for the first time.

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The Downsampling Masterpieces session aimed at creating tangible items from digital material.

The afternoon hands-on session was called “Downsampling Masterpieces”, where participants created 8-bit melody cards with DIY electronics, read more about the melody card workshop here.

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The Downsampling Masterpieces session gathered a full group of enthusiastic participants (almost 20 altogether). After some serious cardboard cutting and taping, soldering and gluing, several melody cards were beeping in 8-bit sounds.

It was rewarding to see such a bunch of excited people making and doing things with us, and the overall feeling is that all of the participants got something from the workshop, even though not everyone managed to finalize their melody cards or animated GIFs.

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Neea Laakso
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