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Microsoft Event Celebrating New Partnerships: Technology, Heritage, Culture

Brussels, Belgium 15 May 2014

The European Heritage Days (Council of Europe and European Commission Joint Programme), in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation and the Association for Culture and Tourism Exchange (ACTE) will hold an event focusing on "New Partnerships between technology providers and the Heritage and Cultural Sectors". It will take place in the Microsoft Innovation Centre, Rue Montoyer, 51, Brussels on 15 May 2014.

A centrepiece of the event will be two highly innovative cultural and tourism portals, created using Microsoft Bing Maps technology.

One portal, The European Heritage Days, developed for the Council of Europe and the European Commission Programme, is a public sector platform. It serves governments and local level communities that engage, every year, in implementing one of the biggest participatory cultural programmes in Europe. The other portal, Wine Community Platform, developed for an international non-governmental Association, ACTE, is a private sector platform. It serves all individual, organisations and communities involved in European wine culture and tourism.

Both Portals contribute a bottom-up a response to key challenges of the creative economy. They seek to: promote the digitisation of heritage; to democratise access to regional and global heritage and culture; to facilitate cross-sector, cross-frontier exchanges of information, goods and services between the heritage, cultural and tourism sectors.

However, the needs of heritage and culture evolve rapidly and if the Portals are to remain relevant, they will have to be plastic around evolving cultural contexts and user needs. As such, these portals illustrate key challenges for the Culture and Heritage sectors. Digitisation and the effective use of IT across the Culture and Heritage sectors are increasingly important to enable democratic access and engagement. But, these ongoing developments of technology to service broad cultural programmes, which evolve with user input, are costly and challenge the resources of public institutions and cultural providers.

The event will attempt to answer the following questions: Are there new kinds of partnership between the Heritage and Cultural sectors with technology providers that could facilitate such development? Could such partnerships be mutually beneficial in a way that the public values of culture and heritage are sustained?

The European Heritage Days, in cooperation with Microsoft is delighted to engage with leading voices in European cultural policy, strategies and programmes and to initiate this first of many discussions, which will have an impact on shaping the future development of technology solutions.

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