Recovery of cultural heritage through higher education and open innovation

The Echoing partners represent 5 European countries, including NTNU.

Our application was funded with ca 360.000 euro for 30 months and our project called eCHOing has just started in January 2022 with NTNU UB coordinating the project. Picture of the Gunnerus Library.
Our application was funded with ca 360.000 euro for 30 months and our project called eCHOing has just started in January 2022 with NTNU UB coordinating the project. Picture of the Gunnerus Library.

With the emergence of COVID-19, the world has not only been hit with a severe economic blow, but with a political, social, ethical, and cultural crisis. Thus NTNU as an Higher Education Institution (HEI), has an obligation to fight such a crisis by providing up-to-date educational tools and transforming teaching design and implementation to become more resilient and accessible.

March 2021 the NTNU UB applied with 4 other Universities and 29 small and medium Cultural Heritage organisations (CHOs) from 5 different countries to the Erasmus+ program of University collaborations and innovation for such a project. The main challenge we wanted to address was how to establish an effective transfer of knowledge based on experiential learning and co-create resilient solutions for CHOs after a crisis in different European countries.

The NTNU UB, Gunnerus branch has been working with similar initiatives since 2008 and has established both a national and international network of such collaborations( See, ARK4). The fact that Libraries work with integrated learning through hands-on seminars and have a long tradition in following digital transformation as it develops through time through services for students and researchers, allows the NTNU library to challenge its role as an important educational partner in the HEIs landscape. Our application was funded with ca 360.000 euro for 30 months and our project called eCHOing has just started in January 2022 with NTNU UB coordinating the project.

The eCHOIng partners represent 5 European countries, which include: Norway (NTNU), Italy (Santa Anna University, Pisa ), Bulgaria (Sofia University), Estonia (TARTU ULIKOOL University), and Greece (OSYGY & Web2Learn).

Our culture to be revived

We, in eCHOing, believe in the “recovery of cultural heritage through higher education and open innovation.” In other words, we strive to find a way for our culture to be revived and our diversity to be celebrated, by creating a bridge between higher education institutions (HEIs) and society. We will do so through open innovation (OI), a process in which a new idea, device, or method addresses a certain problem in a way that gives importance to an individual or group, with the help of modern technology. Openness, thus, offers an opportunity for citizens to get involved and serve a social purpose, by participating in digitally enhanced activities. Such activities include hacktivism (activism by means of hacking for a social purpose), maker movement (DIY technology-based inventions), citizen science (participation of citizens in a scientific research), and crowd initiatives (such as crowdfunding and crowdsourcing).

With the participation of HEIs and members of small or medium-sized Culture Heritage Organizations (CHOs), such as universities, staff and students, local and national museums, cultural clubs and associations, local learning centres and libraries, and the help of OI, we can create more contemporary, innovative, and sustainable teaching methods within a diverse and socially responsible culture.

After analysing and finding practises in which cultural heritage and CHOs are benefited through innovative projects, we can then provide the correct methods, tools, and teaching practices to HEIs and their staff. In that way, students will be able to enjoy and actively participate in developing their knowledge and professional skills, thus bettering their overall learning experience during the pandemic.

Aims at fostering innovation

We want to encourage and help HEIs to actively support CHOs, through public engagement and OI, in order to rekindle the significance of cultural heritage in our modern society at such a difficult time. We strive to promote cultural heritage and better the relationship between culture and society, in a new, modern way, and keep that relationship sustainable despite the challenges it has already faced and will face in the post-pandemic era.

The overall impact of eCHOing will be for HEIs to become more agile in adjusting their curricula, teaching and learning methods and practises to the increasing number of extra-curricular forms of knowledge creation and circulation in which university students and staff are called to participate in during their studies. Through Open innovation forms and participation in international competitions for students, telecollaboration and virtual exchanges, etc.

HEIs can rethink how niches of knowledge creation and circulation happening outside HEIs but in which students and staff are involved during their studies, can be incorporated and used to upgrade knowledge in academic curricula, and also upscale these examples to other curricula or disciplines. Thus in close collaborations with small and medium CHOs, they can contribute to the recognition/acknowledgement by HEIs of the importance of the focus on small CHIs: safeguarding the pluralities of culture, being decentralised, thus closer to local population being strongly interconnected with issues of identities, civic engagement and sustainable local development and promote intergenerational and cross-sectoral participation.

Through this International collaboration NTNU aims at fostering innovation in order to follow the changes happening in research and education in the HEI landscape of digital transformation. NTNU invites students, education professionals and cultural organisations to an open, knowledgeable and creative exchange of digital participation in order to establish active initiatives of resilience and digital transformation initiatives with its collaborating host institutions and find solutions that fit the regional profiles of its partner countries.

Erasmus +, KA220-HED - Cooperation partnerships in higher education

The eCHOing Partners:

  1. NTNU, leading institution. Coordinator: Alexandra Angeletaki.
  2. Santa Anna University, Pisa, Italy specialises in : 3D technology and Artificial Intelligence apps.
  3. Web2Learn, SME, Greece, specialises in Citizen Science and educational innovation.
  4. University of Sofia, Digital technologies in the GLAM sector
  5. Universty of Tartu, Viljandi Culture Academy, Estonia, Vocational training of crafts
  6. OSYGY Women's Association in the Cyclades volunteer organisations safeguarding local and regional cultural heritage and crafts.

The Regional Museums that have joined NTNU and its partners in this endeavour are:

1. Falstad Museum, (small scale regional museum)

2. World Culture United, Oslo, Norway (NGO on arts and crafts).

3. Kvenna Kunstverk AS (AS ceramics production center)

4. ULLDAGA 2021-2023 (Regional project on arts and crafts)

5. Stiklestad National Cultural Center (medium sized cultural Center and regional history Museum)