Collections of Ghent on course

28 Jun 2022

Building a bridge between cultural heritage, technology and the residents of Ghent – that’s the ambition of the Collections of Ghent (CoGent), a large-scale collaborative project supported by meemoo. It’s been a little while since we last had news about this project, so it’s time for a quick update. What can you look forward to? The setting up of the Cultural Data Lab, OSLO news, our participation in a jury, and more.

CoGent shot out of the starting blocks in December 2020 with an impressive plan: Ghent museums, heritage organisations and residents will share their cultural heritage, with 100,000 heritage objects made accessible and reusable with linked open data at the end of the journey.

The CoGent box touches down

The CoGent box is open! We’re aiming to bring residents and heritage together with this high-tech mobile experience space, combining collection items with stories from people of Ghent and building a bridge to the world they experience. We selected three districts as ideal locations last year, and the innovative box took up its first home in Wondelgem in April this year. The touring box will then move on to the Watersportbaan and Tolhuispark before finally opening in the Design Museum Gent next year. Want to visit the box? (link in Dutch)

Thirteen projects to get started

Projects that use Ghent’s heritage resources in an innovative way have a chance of being given a financial boost. Of the 36 exciting candidate projects received by Stad Gent (‘City of Ghent’) and District09, no fewer than 13 have been approved. Great news from the Co-Creation Fund! (link in Dutch) The projects will get underway next year, supported by a collective sum of €200,000.

Our role

Meemoo colleague Astrid sat in the jury for all technological submissions (making use of CoGent’s technical infrastructure), colleague Lise was a member of the jury for the creative projects, and colleague Sam is the central point of contact for the projects’ continued supervision and support. Discover the selected projects (link in Dutch).

Image: Georges Ronsse and Karel Kaers with bicycle on shoulders and helmet, 1930, Huis van Alijn, Collections of Ghent

Cultural Data Lab: for creative reuse of open cultural data

The Cultural Data Lab moved into De Krook library in Ghent last year. The what? This experimental lab is available for anyone who wants to get creative with cultural data from affiliated Ghent collections. We’ve been coordinating the project together with District09 since the start of this year, in the strong belief that making this digital heritage accessible is only a first step: data only really becomes valuable when its reuse is encouraged. Now that the Co-Creation Fund (link in Dutch) is on course, the lab is also busy working on various initiatives to encourage this reuse. We took our first steps during a panel discussion in the context of Public Domain Day.

Watch the conversation again here.

And make sure you keep a close eye on CoGent’s activities diary (link in Dutch). Remember: a results-focused hackathon in October and making memes at Gent GIFt...

Sharing linked open data with OSLO

OSLO – short for Open Standards for Linked Organisations – is the Flemish government’s exchange standard for linked open data. CoGent is the first project that will implement this standard in the cultural heritage sector in Flanders: an ideal opportunity to breathe life into an OSLO working group for this sector, giving us a chance to share our knowledge and involve other institutions in the discussion.

We presented a first action plan at the OSLO launch meeting to supervise several institutions in implementing the standard as part of our work in CoGent. There appeared to be lots of interest in this extra support.

In the spring of 2022, we supervised the Centre for Agrarian History (CAG) and their service provider LIBIS (link in Dutch) with the implementation of OSLO. Then it’s the turn of Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 and the Flemish Department of Culture, Youth and Media (for their Flemish Masterpieces database).

Collections of Ghent is being funded by Urban Innovative Actions – an initiative of the European Commission for sustainable urban development.

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