Building the Cultural Commons Programme

Sitra, Wednesday 19th September 2012 9:00-18:00

Note: this programme is a work in progress and may be modified


This will be a full day for groups and individuals involved in the open cultural movement across the globe to join the dots between disparate efforts and encourage future collaborations.

In order to achieve our goal of strengthening the network of organisations working in this field, we will organise a series of sessions to help individuals and organisations share experiences and challenges and to discuss opportunities for possible collaboration and strategy building.

Each session will be facilitated by a small group from a designated organisation. Sessions will begin with a short word from the facilitator and an overview of the goals and a rough agenda. The sessions will be participant led with everyone given an opportunity to contribute and form the agenda for each session.

0. Introduction (30 minutes)

Session leaders: Sam Leon & Joris Pekel (Open Knowledge Foundation)

– Welcome and an introduction to the Open GLAM initiative (OKFN) - Word of welcome from Michael Edson (Smithsonian Institute)

1a. Defining the Cultural Commons

Session leader: Paul Keller (Knowledgeland, Creative Commons)

Topics to be discussed

– Cultural Commons: where we are coming from and where are we going?

1b. Creating value in the Commons

Session leader: Harry Verwayen (Europeana)

– Business models in open data and the case of the Yellow Milkmaid

Goal of the session

The goal of the session is to set the scene for the Cultural Commons. As a starting point, we use the discussions in the Europeana network and the emerging approaches there. We will invite experts to give their input on a possible definition and principles of the Commons. We will also focus at the business models around open data and how we create value for the cultural sector through the Commons.

2. Copyright and open licensing

Session leaders: Nikki Timmermans (Creative Commons Netherlands)

Aspects of copyright to focus on

– Reform of copyright in general

– Revision

– Orphan works

– Public domain

– Goal of the session

Identify the latest tools for dealing with open data and licensing content and metadata for GLAM’s, reflect on the challenges in the field of copyright and the future of copyright reform that is geared towards an open cultural commons.

3. Grassroots approaches to opening up culture data

Session leads: Maarten Brinkerink (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) & Nikki Timmermans (Kennisland) from Open Cultuur Data (

Topics to be discussed

– The experience with a bottom-up open movement in the Dutch cultural heritage sector

– Open data challenges in the international cultural heritage sector

– Plans for the future

– Goal of the session

Based on their experience with a bottom-up open data movement in the Dutch cultural heritage sector, the session hosts want to explore the international open culture data scene to identify shared challenges and possible solutions. This can improve the future strategy for national grassroots approaches to opening up cultural data from within the sector.

4. Open digitisation

Session lead: Javier Ruiz (Open Rights Group)

Goal of the session

The revolution in cultural commons will certainly be digitised, so we need to look at the full lifecycle of cultural objects. This is particularly important because the initial act of digital transformation is where the new digital enclosure is generated through copyrights or contractual restrictions. Current digitisation strategies, whether based on public private partnership or direct subsidies, are failing to incorporate openness at their core.

This session will explore with the participants what an Open Digitisation approach geared to the production of a cultural commons would look like. Can a non-profit network based on volunteers and open technologies provide a serious alternative to license-based closed IP public-private partnership in the cultural sector? Is there any other way to deliver on the 90% of European cultural heritage still left to digitise?

5. Participation and Involvement

Session leads: Barbara Fischer & Mathias Schindler (Wikimedia DE), David Haskiya (Europeana)


– Crowdsourcing

– GLAM-Wiki outreach

– Open GLAM

– Developer outreach

Goal of the session

The goal of this session is for participants to collaborate on strategies for better user and developer engagement around open data in cultural heritage. A roadmap of hack events organised by the various organisations will be discussed in the context of possible opportunities for collaboration and methods for engaging a wider audience in the pursuit of openness in cultural heritage will be shared.

6. Policy

Session lead: Primavera de Filippi (Open Knowledge Foundation, COMMUNIA), Alek Tarkowski (Centrum Cyfrowe, COMMUNIA)


– Presentation of document produced by Open GLAM, Wikimedia France and COMMUNIA on obstacles to openness and policy recommendations

– Review of existing recommendations and declarations concerning the digital public domain

– Open cultural data and the European context

Goal of the session

Based on the work already done with Wikimedia France in the framework of the Paris OpenGlam workshops, we want to receive feedback from a variety of experts from different countries in order to extrapolate a more generic set of guidelines or recommendations that could be promoted at the European and/or international level - in part, through the activities of the COMMUNIA Association (

7. Conclusion and wrapping up

All together


– Co-author a document of recommendations for the Cultural Commons

– Gather input for shared resource on case studies (GLAM institutions and re-use cases)

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