InTaVia 5th Newsletter / Cultural heritage: a VAST expanse of multivarious challenges

We continue the series of public exploration of raising important questions alrady raised in Graz and Ljubljana in collaborating with the VAST project at the forthcoming CaTCH – Capturing the IntAngible of Cultural Heritage in Maribor, held in the University Library October 23rd 2023. 
The InTaVia team already touched upon the issue of “elite bias” of CH: while InTaVia inherits this challenging perspective from existing cultural archives, it also invites users to create new digital descriptions and depictions of marginalized or under-represented individuals & groups – but even more so, the project platform, with its capacities of data creation (e.g. with regard to forgotten, omitted, or lesser known persons or items of CH) handled by the “data curation lab”, where biographies can be a) curated and enriched, b) written from scratch, or c) imported from a local spreadsheet. This could help incrementally fill in the countless gaps in the (first national-historiographical, then digital) records! How do we not only connect existing data silos, but enable the InTaVia project users to transcend their manifold inherited limitations, such as their strictly eurocentric focus on national elites and established majorities & figures of a rather small time window? 

Several of such questions were asked and a roadmap to answers was drawn during both events, showing how bridges can be built and insights conveyed from experts to the wider public by means of NLP-based processes of data creation, AI-based approaches to enriching knowledge graphs, visual(ization-based) storytelling – and so much more. 

However, we’re not stopping there! Leaning on the experience and the drive of our sibling projects, the focus remains on Cultural Heritage in all its forms, be it tangible or intangible. Along with contemporary creation, CH is the unifying thread of the past, the present and the future of our societies. Besides offering knowledge about the past, our interaction with CH comes in the form of experiences that: raise awareness about ideas and values, instigate emotions, as well as foster reflection and communication. A holistic approach towards unleashing CH’s full potential includes a variety of actions, from research to active citizen participation and cross-sectoral diffusion. 

In the meantime we invite you to (re)watch the presentations from the Ljubljana conference on our Youtube channel.