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22-26 August 2016 @Snellius
The Migrant (R)e-Collections workshop brought together international representatives from research, cultural heritage institutions, data scientists and the migrant communities. It was centered on the possibilities of creating a migrant virtual heritage collection that goes beyond what is available in collections that are currently dispersed over the world. Specific use cases were the Huygens ING project Migrant: Mobilities and Connection on Dutch-Australian Migration and theTulipana project of the Centre for Global Heritage and Development on Dutch-Brasilian migration. The main question of the workshop was how to develop standards and strategies for linking the diverse resources through digital methods, community governance and sustainable practices. The key issues addressed during the workshop were:
· How can dispersed and heterogeneous data on migrants be linked to form a coherent resource? What can you contribute to it? What should the other participants contribute?
· How can such a resource be made sustainable? Who owns it or who should own it?
· How can the many privacy and ethical issues involved best be tackled?
· How to make a data cloud consisting of diverse resources accessible and queryable?
The primary concrete result of the workshop will be a white paper on co-creation of cultural heritage and data linking of migrant heritage for which we will try to get UNESCO-status. However, the intangible outcomes of the workshop were at least as important: we experienced a shift from the ‘individual paradigm’ in humanities to the ‘collaborative’ paradigm. This was our common moment of enlightenment: all parties involved agreed that this would be an important way to bring together global migrant heritage and that it could serve as a model for scattered migrant data world-wide: as a source of identity and involvement for the migrant community and as a resource for cross-disciplinary research for academia. We already started this collaboration with two small cross-disciplinary grant proposals as unforeseen tangible outcomes (one for the creative industry (October 2016) and one to make the humanities infrastructure CLARIAH-Anansi privacy persistent (November 2016) in order to be able to make this a real Citizen Science project - in a sense a scientific breakthrough in itself.
For the format of the workshop we listened carefully to the advice of the experienced staff of the Lorentz Center. We skipped long plenary sessions and briefed the participants two weeks before the start of the workshop to be prepared to share their experiences and asked them to bring their own materials (powerpoints, prezis, actual heritage collections, databases, linked data solutions and other ways to make heritage materials accessible). Instead of papers we started each day with two or three ‘dialogues’: statements or position papers of 10 minutes, as a start of a plenary discussion, which was -most of the days- followed by discussion or hands on working in subgroups. Icebreaking and more general assignments were used to ‘tease out’ the different positions of the four groups mentioned above. To energize the group (and as a sign to ‘report in’ after assignments) we used a playlist with migrant songs from over the world, which worked pretty well. But most important: we created a Google Space for the participants. In this way, each participant was able to report about the interactions at the workshop (in general or on their own interactions with other participants) and put their notes on the Google Space. We still communicate on this platform on collaborative initiatives and use these notes by drafting and editing the white paper. Overall the workshop and this format was highly appreciated by all the participants, as can be concluded from the report on Historici.nl by Hans Krabbendam (https://www.historici.nl/nieuws/spannend-%E2%80%98niet-congres%E2%80%99-brengt-nieuwe-samenwerking-tussen-erfgoedsector-academici-en-ict-ers)
We would like to thank the Lorentz-staff and especially Gerda Filippo for all the effort to make this inspiring workshop happen.
Marijke van Faassen
Mara de Groot