The CHARTER Alliance Tuscany Regional Workshop took place right after the Rome General Meeting in Florence from 1-2 December 2022. It was hosted by the Regional Government of Tuscany and the Foundation for Research and Innovation of the University of Florence.
As all the CHARTER regional workshops, the aim was to provide the project with a snapshot of the Tuscan cultural heritage ecosystem and to bring together key stakeholders to start a reflection on the challenges and the opportunities provided by the twin transition to the skills in cultural heritage.
The workshop was framed under the theme “Digital Innovation in Cultural Heritage: Skills Needs & Challenges”, following the discussions held in Rome. The assessment of the digital skills gaps and needs in the cultural heritage regional ecosystem is key to support cultural heritage institutions, stakeholders and policy makers to fully exploit and analyse the opportunities offered by digital technologies also in respect to the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The “valorization of cultural heritage between tradition and innovation” is a key objective of the regional strategies, an important resource for territorial development and a strong asset of the territorial identity of the region.
DAY 1 – CHARTER Alliance Tuscany Regional Workshop
The first day started with welcoming and introductory speeches by Alessandra Nardini, Regional Minister for Education, Employment & Research (Regione Toscana), Lluís Bonet, Coordinator of CHARTER (University of Barcelona) and Astrid Hannes (ERRIN).
Afterwards, Paolo Baldi, Head of Cultural Heritage, Museums, UNESCO sites and Contemporary Arts (Regione Toscana) was in charge of presenting a complete overview of the Tuscan heritage ecosystem, including the legislative framework and listing of heritage sites. The region has a very rich list of assets including 1.290 libraries, 250 archives, 44 cultural institutions and 728 museums, including archaeological and monumental parks, villas, gardens, etc.
Vania Virgili (Italian National Research Council – E-RIHS) gave a keynote on opportunities, future trends and challenges of digital transformation. Among the many developments and initiatives mentioned, we learned about:
- Fixlab, creating access to large scale facilities and advanced laboratory facilities.
- Molab, for mobile instruments for in-situ diganostics, securing the safe transport of objects, shippings, etc.
- Archlab, enabling access to scientific archives for heritage science.
- Digilab, facilitating virtual access to tools and data hubs for heritage research, integrating the 3 platforms mentioned above for a heritage object centered approach.
- Humanities and Heritage Italian Open Science Cloud H21OSC, aiming to create a federated and inclusive cluster of 4 research infrastructures (E-RIHS, DARIAH, CLARIN, OPERAS) in the ESFRI domain of social and cultural innovation to enable researchers from various disciplines in the fields of humanities, language technologies and cultural heritage to collaborate in research by sharing research tools, services and datas.
Afterwards, Mariachiara Esposito (DG EAC), our Project Officer, introduced us to some of the tools and resources the European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage. The ECCC constitutes an unprecedented initiative to build a transdisciplinary and large-scale platform for heritage, offering advanced digitisation, including and engaging a variety of CH stakeholders from early stage to increase knowledge and know-how in the long-run.
Later, two round tables took place. The first one was focused on cultural heritage and digital and green skills and its needs, methods and tools for innovation, education, jobs and growth. The session was joined by Paolo Baldi (Regione Toscana); Marco Berni (Museo Galileo), Gabriele Grondoni (Regione Toscana) and Paola Zamperlin (Università di Pisa). Takeaways from this session are the need for interaction and networking among institutions, shifting towards transdisciplinary approaches.
The second round table looked into the new frontiers for cultural heritage in relation to artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain and NFTs. The panel was joined by Cecilie Hollberg (Galleria dell’Accademia), Riccardo Lami (Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi), Alessandro Tozzi (Ronin srl), Grazia Tucci (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Gianluca Vannuccini (Regione Toscana). The ability to create networks for interaction and cooperation emerged again, as well as the need for a development on data culture, the management of databases and the lack of intermediary figures and roles, which can act as a bridge between cultural institutions and digital experts.
We finished our day by engaging with local stakeholders in different exercises. First, Work Package 2 introduced its exercise with the CHARTER Spiderweb Diagram to map skills related to digital. Second, Work Package 4 hosted focus groups to discuss upskilling and reskilling needs.
DAY 2 – CHARTER Alliance Tuscany Regional Workshop
The morning started with Miriana Bucalossi, Coordinator Apprenticeship, WBL Policies and EU Project Management from Regione Toscana, who gave a presentation focused on engaging cultural heritage stakeholders into the skills ecosystem in Tuscany. Miriana pointed out the need to improve the skills governance process from a multilevel approach at national and regional levels. We were able to learn about #S4Stride: Stride for stride for skills adaptation/anticipation in European regions project. You can learn more about it here: https://bit.ly/3uiZvpn
The last session of the workshop was held by Work Package 3 (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien & Fondazione Scuola dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali), which created different focus groups aiming to identify gaps and needs for education and training in cultural heritage at the Tuscan regional level. Participants were divided into 3 specific groups: higher education (HE), vocational education and training (VET) and lifelong learning.
These are some of the takeaways each group shared:
- Higher education. There’s a need to be more flexible and responsive to quickly adapt to changes. At the level of heritage, the university is not capable in itself to provide all the sets of transversal competences required nowadays, which could be improved by hosting courses from other entities.
- Vocational education and training. VET needs to collaborate and network with other sectors to integrate knowledge and opportunities and jointly develop the attractiveness of heritage and the territory as a whole. The role of mediators between cultural heritage and the digital sphere as a hybrid role was highlighted, pointing out the need to make this profession visible.
- Lifelong learning. The group pointed out a need to rethink formats, in the form of short courses of hybrid nature (digital/physical); accreditations, as something that falls under the responsibility of the regions and not the state and needs to ensure quality and accountability in regards of who certifies and how; and internationalization, where programmes need to be recognised at EU level at least.
To finalise the workshop, the CHARTER work packages shared some final thoughts, including: upskilling needs in cultural heritage for working in digital strategies and strategic management; integrating the different skills in a coherent strategy for heritage at large; need for a data management system that makes information accessible on an integrated, open and accessible way; need for long-term collaborations among stakeholders.
The official closing of the CHARTER Alliance Tuscany Regional Workshop gave us the opportunity to enjoy two site visits: Cantiere scuola at Opera del Duomo di Firenze, CER – Centro Europeo del Restauro Scuola Edile di Firenze, and Museo Galileo. We highly recommend checking Fra Mauro’s Mapamundi (1459) dedicated website, where Museo Galileo presents a digitalised version with interactive features: https://bit.ly/3UpNKrF