Description of the project

‘Digitising Contemporary Art’ (DCA) is a 30-month digitisation project for contemporary art, i.e. art made after 1945 - a kind of cultural heritage still largely missing from Europeana which is a single access point for European culture. 

DCA will create a digital body of high-quality reproductions of 26,921 artworks - paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, videos and 1,857 contextual documents, which will become accessible and retrievable through Europeana; not only through the use of metadata and thumbnails, but also direct links to large-sized reproductions of each item. DCA will ensure that the rights to all available digital content will be cleared. The content provided, including masterpieces from key artists of most European countries, will fill a gap in Europeana‘s content supply.

The main issues to be addressed within the project are the choice of specifications for digitisation and metadata, so that they may be inter-operational, and finding the appropriate aggregation solution for each institution. The exchange with Europeana  will be the main outcome of the project. And DCA‘s digitisation process will also contribute to the preservation of the artworks.  

The DCA project intends to enhance the online visibility of contemporary art as an essential expression and an invaluable part of European culture, and to stimulate the interest of the general public by introducing a stronger presence of contemporary art to the Europeana portal.

Target users and their needs

Considering the strong interest in contemporary art, DCA‘s content is of relevance to a broad international audience (including students of all ages), not only specialists. The digital reproductions and its metadata are likely to be of particular interest to:

the members of the general public, especially but not exclusively those interested in contemporary art;
other more specialised users:
    • mediators between the general public, the artwork and artist, such as art critics, publishers;
    • users from the educational field, such as teachers, students;
    • users from the research field, such as art historians, philosophers;
    • professionals working in the arts, such as museum workers, guides;
    • artists;
  • users from the broader field of tourism, IT technology, marketing, creative design;
  • collecting institutions (reproductions can be used for research, preservation, publicity, education);
  • Europeana.

DCA will increase access to contemporary art in other environments than just its original settings of museums or galleries. Online display through Europeana and other aggregating portals will enable access to contemporary art for less mobile people, who will be able to enjoy the artworks without physically having to go to a museum.



Different user groups may the DCA project in various ways, but their needs may often be the same: they will all want easy and fast access to trustworthy, high-quality digital reproductions of contemporary artworks – and if they have no commercial intentions, then they will also expect to obtain it free of charge. Anyone will be able to consult the newly created and integral digital content on the Web. In Europeana (and other portals) they will be pointed to the original context of the found items (e.g. the museum‘s website) by a link, in order to consult enhanced visual data and additional information on the actual work. Such links will enrich the Europeana experience, increasing the visibility of the contributing museum‘s website and also encouraging partners to develop (apart from DCA) new web applications, e.g. tools that will allow the user to create their own virtual exhibitions or collections. This will result in a more interesting experience of the institutions‘ contemporary art collections for the public.


Part of the technology for reproduction and display of high-quality digital content is already available in the contributing collecting institutions. For some digitisation, subcontractors will provide external digitisation facilities. The partners will provide databases for metadata and images. DCA will help the institutions to set up or adapt their database in order to comply with their own needs and the state-of-the art of metadata schemes, vocabularies, data exchange, etc. For those institutions that cannot host large video files, DCA will provide for collaboration with the GAMA project. To maximize synergy, DCA will take into account Europeana‘s technical specifications and will identify the most suitable paths for aggregating the new content into Europeana. In cases where content cannot be introduced through existing aggregators, an ingestion platform will be provided (based on the one developed in the ATHENA project). For metadata mapping DCA will build on the tools developed by its partners in other projects.
The digital images produced in the context of DCA will become part of the digital collections of each contributing institution. They will care for their long-term sustainability, as they do for their other data and images. DCA itself will provide guidelines and assistance on how to preserve digital files and keep them accessible over a long period of time. The work package on sustainability will be entirely devoted to helping partners create a feasible plan for future preservation of the digital content.


The DCA consortium will provide new content for Europeana: metadata and images of 26,921 artworks and 1,857 contextual documents. It includes masterpieces created within different art disciplines by key artists of most European countries. Some of its best-known artists are: Marina Abramovic, Orla Barry, Christian Boltanski, Marie José Burki, Gusztáv Hámos, IRWIN, Sanja Iveković, Bjorn Melhus, Carsten Nicolai, Dan Perjovschi, Fiona Tan, Blast Theory, Luc Tuymans, Steina Vasulka, Franz West,...The artworks and contextual documents belong to institutions that need support for their digitisation and contribution to Europeana. The 21 collections come from 12 European countries: 17 of which are from countries that are behind in making their heritage accessible through Europeana (10 from Tier 1 and 7 from Tier 2 countries which are lagging in their effort to make their cultural heritage accessible through the European cultural heritage portal.). DCA will contain texts and images, as well as video and sound material – which is underrepresented in Europeana.

Partners of DCA

click to open/closeargos - centre for art and media (Belgium)

Argos is a platform for audiovisual and plastic arts, at which specific attention is given to the interface between disciplines and to a conscious and alert association with the information society’s evolution. The centre was founded in Brussels with the intention of promoting and archiving video art, initially within Belgium and later internationally, as well as conserving historical works. Argos’ functions include production, conservation and archiving, as well as presentation - exhibitions, film and video showings, lectures and performances.

click to open/closeARS Electronica (Austria)

Ars Electronica is an organisation based in Linz, Austria, founded around a festival for art, technology and society. The Prix Ars Electronica, the Ars Electronica Festival, the Ars Electronica Center Museum of the Future and the Ars Electronica Futurelab are the four divisions that comprise Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, the specific orientation and long-term continuity of which make it a unique platform for digital art and media culture. Ars Electronica possesses one of the world’s most extensive archives of digital media art from the last three decades.

click to open/closeEuropean Media Art Festival (Germany)

The EMAF is one of the most influential forums for international Media Art. Each April the European Media Art Festival of Osnabrück puts on an annual screening of productions by internationally recognised media artists and innovative work by talented young artists from the academies. Around 250 of the most recent contributions in all sections are selected for the festival from more than 2,000 submissions each year. These works offer a comprehensive view of current trends in international media art. The EMAF’s holdings consist of more than 4,000 films, videos, and documents.

click to open/closeFrissiras Museum (Greece)

The Frissiras Museum houses the private collection of its founder, Vlassis Frissiras and holds 3,500 works of anthropocentric painting, including important names such as Peter Blake, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Paola Rego, Jean Rustin, Pat Andrea, Valerio Adami, Leo Golub, Dado, Mimo Paladino, Antonio Segui and Sam Szafran. The museum also hosts other Greek and international exhibitions by established or younger artists in a fertile discourse within the context of artistic and cultural developments in Europe.

click to open/closeFundação Serralves (Portugal)

The Serralves Foundation’s mission is to raise the general public’s awareness of contemporary art and the environment through the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum’s collection covers a period spanning from the end of the 1960s to the present day. The symbolic start-date for the collection is 1968, but it refers specifically to the socio-cultural events of the second half of the 1960s. The collection aims to provide an exhaustive representation of the ruptures that took place in Portuguese art between the mid 1960s and the end of the 1970s.

click to open/closeFundació Antoni Tàpies (Spain)

Fundació Antoni Tàpies was created by Antoni Tàpies in 1984 to promote the study of modern and contemporary art. It aims at cooperative ventures with experts in different fields of learning to contribute to a better understanding of contemporary art and culture. It combines the organisation of temporary exhibitions, symposia, lectures and film seasons with a range of publications on Antoni Tàpies’ work. The initial core donated by Antoni Tàpies has been enlarged with recent and historical publications as well as international videos and magazines, which help to swell an ever-increasing collection.

click to open/closeiMinds (Belgium)

iMinds is an independent research institute founded by the Flemish government to stimulate ICT innovation. Formerly known as IBBT, the Interdisciplinary institute for BroadBand Technology, it comprises over 500 researchers, based on research teams from existing knowledge centres. Multimedia Lab (MMLab) is a young research group within iMinds and part of the Ghent University. It has a portfolio of basic research, applied research and contract-based research with industrial partners. The main areas of expertise of the MMLab are: video coding and compression, image/video processing and analysis, multimedia content adaptation, metadata technology and gaming technology.

click to open/closeLatvian Centre for Contemporary Art (Latvia)

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art is a non-governmental institution, the aim and mission of which is to promote the development of contemporary art in Latvia and to support its integration into the international art scene. The LCCA attempts to contextualize contemporary art, promote Latvian contemporary art internationally and to collect, update and disseminate information about Latvian contemporary art. The information centre has a library and artists’ works data base that has been growing since 1993.

click to open/closeLIMA (the Netherlands)

LIMA is the international platform for sustainable access to media art, founded by experts from the former NIMK. With knowledge and passion for both art and technology, these experts are insuring that video, digital and performance artworks can and will be presented well into the future. Therefore LIMA operates in three areas: preservation, research and distribution. LIMA distributes its own collection, that counts over 2,000 works, ranging from early experiments by videoart pioneers to born digital art by upcoming talent. With the storage and digitisation services it supports museums, galleries and individual artists. And in collaboration with artists and museums and universities LIMA carries out research in preservation and accessibility of this segment of cultural heritage.

click to open/closeMacedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (Greece)

At present the MMCA’s permanent collection is made up of 1,800 works by Greek and foreign artists. Apart from the permanent display, the MMCA has mounted over 100 exhibitions of works by Greek and foreign artists such as Fluxus artists, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Matta, Viallat, Beuys, Uecker, Greenaway, Hockney, Ernst, Barlach, Beckmann, Zervos, Kaniaris, Varotsos and many others. The museum library is made up of two-and-a-half thousand books and reviews on art. All catalogues published by the MMCA, audio-visual material and the museum’s archive of artists are available to the public.

click to open/closeMu.ZEE (Belgium)

Mu.ZEE is the art museum by the sea for Belgian art, with complete openness and accessibility. Mu.ZEE creates an active space for the public and artists where art can be approached in a relaxed, free and creative way. The museum houses a valuable collection of art originating from the joint efforts of the Province of West Flanders and the City of Ostend. It’s story unfolds through a unique collection of Belgian art dating from 1830 to the present day. The collection includes works by artists like James Ensor, Constant Permeke, Léon Spilliaert, Georges Vantongerloo, Paul Joostens, Roger Raveel, Raoul De Keyser, Panamarenko and Luc Tuymans. The specific form of the collection makes it unique within the Flemish museum landscape. The collection policy and exhibition programme aim to ensure that Mu.ZEE is constantly in dialogue with the international art scene.

click to open/closeMuseum Boijmans Van Beuningen (the Netherlands)

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the main art museum of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. The museum has a diverse collection ranging from medieval to contemporary art, with a focus on Dutch art. Among the best known artists that are exhibited in the permanent exhibition of the museum are Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rembrandt, Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh, René Magritte and Salvador Dalí.

click to open/closeMuseum of Contemporary Art Grand-Hornu (Belgium)

Located on the site of the former Grand-Hornu colliery in the Mons Borinage region, the Musée des Arts Contemporains (MAC’s) is a landmark cultural project spearheaded by the French Community of Belgium.  The mission of the MAC’s is threefold: to build a collection, stage exhibitions and related events and create educational opportunities. The museum shows art of international standing, both in its traditional forms of painting and sculpture and their contemporary counterparts: photography, installation, video, mixed media and performance.

click to open/closeMuseum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Croatia)

Muzej moderne i suvremene umjetnosti in Rijeka offers an inspired interpretation of the tradition in modernity, fused with the vibrant reality of the contemporary art production and creates a dynamic collection that encompasses over 8,000 artworks, covering periods from the end of the 19th century to the present day. As an exhibition venue and educational centre, MMSU frequently organizes thematic and monographic exhibitions of Croatian and international artists as well as various screenings, symposiums and workshops that transform it into a place of inspiration, idea exchange and active participation.

click to open/closeMuseum of Modern Art (Slovenia)

Moderna Galerija (Museum of Modern Art) is the Slovene national institution for modern and contemporary art. As a museum of Slovene modern art it explores and presents the 20th-century Slovene art tradition, while as a museum of contemporary art and exhibition venue it presents new art practices and their context. It is also a documentary, study, research and education centre, a place for discussion and reflection and for the presentation of art to a wider audience.

click to open/closeNational Gallery - Alexandros Soutzos Museum (Greece)

The National Art Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum is an art museum in Athens devoted to Greek and European art from the 14th century to the 20th century. The institutional role of the National Gallery consists of creating collections, maintaining and studying artworks as well as providing aesthetic information for the public. The National Gallery organizes major exhibitions consecutively, thematic or of individual artists, Greek or international, which keep the public interest alive.

click to open/closeNational Gallery of Iceland (Iceland)

The National Gallery of Iceland is the principal art museum of Iceland. Its art collection contains about 10,000 works of art and comprises a unique collection, mainly of Icelandic art from the late 19th century to the present day. In its possession are many of the keystones of Icelandic art history, as well as a growing collection of works from other countries. The National Gallery’s main role is to collect, preserve, research and exhibit Icelandic art and offer education about it. There is also a considerable emphasis on showing Icelandic art in context with international art.

click to open/closeNational Technical University of Athens (Greece)

The Image, Video and Intelligent Multimedia Systems Lab (IVML) was established in 1988, as one of the Laboratories of the School of Computer and Electrical Engineering and of the Institute of Computer and Communication Systems (ICCS) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in Greece. The members of the Lab (which are about 35, including research scientists, researchers, PhD students, programmers, and supporting staff) participate in the design and implementation of intelligent semantic analysis and retrieval of multimedia content.

click to open/closeNetherlands Media Art Institute (the Netherlands)

The Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk) promotes the development, application and distribution of, and reflection on, new technologies in the visual arts. NIMk supports media art in three core areas: presentation, research and collection. The presentation department focuses on showing media art. Among other tasks, this division organizes exhibitions in the Institute’s own gallery space. At present the collection comprises more than 1,500 works, ranging from early experiments by artists now famous in The Netherlands and internationally to recent productions by up-and-coming talents. As of 31/12/2012, the organisation ceased to exist. Its role in the project was transferred to LIMA.

click to open/closePACKED vzw – centre of expertise in digital heritage (Belgium)

PACKED vzw was founded in 2005 as a platform for the development and dissemination of knowledge on the cataloguing, preservation and distribution of audiovisual arts. As digitisation has been an important aspect of the overall work, PACKED vzw has increasingly evolved in relation to the procedural challenges posed by digital cultural heritage in general. Since January 2011, PACKED vzw has been recognised by the Flemish Ministry of Culture as a centre of expertise in digital heritage. The organisation is actively connected to the broader Belgian and international digital cultural heritage field.

click to open/closeReykjavik Art Museum (Iceland)

The Reykjavík Art Museum (RAM) is the largest visual art institution in Iceland. RAM presents over 20 exhibitions annually, varying from large-scale, thematic exhibitions to installations by international artists and projects by emerging Icelandic artists. The museum holdings (currently a collection of 16,000 works) consist of six separate art collections: the General Art Collection of the City of Reykjavík, the Erró Collection, the Kjarval Collection, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Collection, the Architecture Collection, and publicly sited work.

click to open/closeRoyal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Belgium)

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, host a collection of approximately 22,000 artworks (paintings, sculptures, works on paper, decorative art), covering a time period that ranges from the 15th until the 21st century. The institution includes five museums: the museum of modern art, the museum of ancient art, the Magritte museum, the Constantin Meunier museum,  and the Antoine Wiertz museum. The missions of the MRBAB-KMSKB include the conservation of the collections, conducting research projects, and organising exhibitions.

click to open/closeStaatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung (Germany)

The Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG) conceives itself as an academic institution implementing a new synthesis of research, teaching and experiment in the fields of art and science, appropriate to the conditions of an advanced industrial and information society. HfG undertakes to join – under an extended definition of the term ‘design’ – the design disciplines with the new media arts, with curatorial practice and art studies as well as with philosophy and media theory. It collects relevant experiences using digital media archives in the context of art and culture.

click to open/closeTransmediale (Germany)

Transmediale pursues the advancement of artistic positions reflecting on the socio-cultural, political and creative impact of new technologies, network practices and digital innovation. As a festival aiming to define the contours of contemporary digital culture, it seeks out artistic practices that not only respond to scientific or technical developments, but that shape the way in which we reflect and experience the technologies which impact our daily lives. Transmediale also documents, discusses and develops the social, political and economical circumstances by which art is surrounded.

click to open/closeUbitech (Greece)

UBITECH is a leading, highly innovative company, established to provide technical solutions and consulting services in order to pave the way for efficient and effective access and communication with various heterogeneous information and services. In the area of digital content and more specifically e-culture, UBITECH has successfully executed the implementation of the web-portal for the ‘Centre for Asia Minor Studies’ and the design and implementation of the ‘European Cultural Centre of Delphi (ECCD)’, offering digital content management and information presentation of the organization.

click to open/closeWRO Art Center (Poland)

WRO was founded in 1989 as an international festival of media art, which has surpassed its role of just a cyclical event, and since 1998 has been operating as the WRO Center for Media Art Foundation. It is the first in Poland, and one of the largest surveys of media art in Central and Eastern Europe, taking up issues of contemporary art in the perspective of culture and communication. Since 2008, the Foundation has run the WRO Art Center, a public gallery that offers exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures and workshops featuring Polish and international art.


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