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Farewell Lecture Utrecht University
Faculty of Humanities
Media and Culture Studies
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Meneer de rector, dear family, friends, colleagues, and students
The European Union has declared 2018 the European Year of Cultural
Heritage. It celebrates the past to build the future and its aim is (quote)
“to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's diverse
cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common
European space”.
Cultural heritage seemingly is considered a valuable source to create
narratives about the past of Europe to build the future (see also EU
Strategic Research Agenda - on Cultural Heritage, 2010).
Today I would like to highlight European digital television heritage and
navigate with you its possible routes. The core idea of my lecture is how
digital European television heritage offers a gateway to a future European
television, and ideally to a future Europe.
3
These are shots of television/archive buildings across Europe: you may
recognize the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision (top left). Bottom
left = Luce/Cinecitta in Rome, next = Greek TV headquarters (and archive,
see flag), top right Czech TV and archive.
The buildings show archives as physical places, as what we use to call ‘sites
of memory’. We can go and visit them to experience the past, and I actually
did. And this is what you find: historical objects, such as television and radio
programmes, pictures showing the ‘behind the scenes’, notes and policy
papers about the production, the circulation and reception of television and
radio, and if you are lucky, material objects (a TV set). Each building
represents a practice of remembering, dynamic and ongoing (Bottici &
Challand 2013; Hagedoorn 2016). What has been kept in a way reflects
public values attached to national television: worth preserving and worth
sharing with us, the audience (Stanton 2007).
4
However the matter is a bit more complicated as we are dealing with
television heritage. Television heritage by definition involves issues of
ownership and copyrights, hindering public distribution at large (Schroff
2017). Moreover, archives in general do not per se represent the past. I
mean, with archiving, cultural heritage is being constructed; selections
always have to be made (Hal Foster (2004). And when stored in a national
archive, cultural heritage provides institutional representations of a shared
past (Cameron 2007; Derrida & Prenowitz 1995). That is why we need to
acknowledge ‘the politics of heritage’, asking ourselves ‘whose heritage’ are
we dealing with and what would cultural heritage look like beyond dominant
remains of the past (Hall, 2005). There are plenty of chances, as I hope to
show, especially given that a lot of cultural heritage has been digitized.
Our Italian colleague Milly Buonnano already almost ten years ago pointed
out: Television is the only one of the large media to set up a living museum
of itself (Buonnano 2008, 21). With digitization, television shows itself again
as a medium of transition no matter its continuities. Television’s history
demonstrates how much the medium has always been tied up with
technology and innovation. At many stages it reinvented itself, for example
by adopting new technologies, from mechanics to an electronic support
system, and eventually to the digital. In its digitized form television has
developed into an archive. It now offers new opportunities for creating
access to the richness of its own history. At a national level, but – more
interestingly - at a European level. For me the latter is very important. Why
is this?
5
Television heritage is cultural memory, a vital component of historical
knowledge and an equally important component of European cultural
heritage (Scannell 2009). Moving images are the most prominent tools for
cultural expression and transmission of information. Should we really
embrace the European project, which in my view we should, Europe’s
television heritage comes as a primary source from which to establish
common European ground. I am not talking about essentialism or a
European canon; rather it is about being European in the cultural sense,
about belonging to cultures and about having access to these; for me what
matters is an awareness of the bigger cultural space of Europe that we live
in and its relationship to our own local cultural space within that.
6
Unfortunately, we observe much unawareness of the bigger cultural
European space when reading the newspaper, watching television and
listening to politicians. Such unawareness feeds Euroscepticism, so it seems
(and this is how cartoonists reflect on it). Euroscepticism is very much
informed by fear; fear about losing one’s identity, and as a consequence it
is very much about reclaiming: reclaiming language f.e. (an example is
Catalonia). Again, is this legitimate within the context of Europe? It might,
and clashes will always be part of our history. But even then, there is much
in favour of developing what I suggest as a sense of rooted Europolitanism.
I paraphrase Ulrich Beck’s notion of rooted cosmopolitanism here (Beck
2003). Little elaboration is needed before I get back to European television
heritage that in my view is vital to this sense of rooted Europolitanism.
The wording ‘Europolitanism’ has been used before to discuss EU politics,
EU economics and EU institutions; you may recognize these as the
dominant discourses of the EU. I prefer to approach it from a cultural
historical perspective (Sarikakis 2007; Seyhan 2014).
As the late sociologist Ulrich Beck has pointed out, cosmopolitanism refers
to a dual identity and loyalty: by birth we are all rooted in the cosmos, one
cosmos (nature) and at the same time in the polis (in different cities, states,
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religions, ethnicities, etc.). He sees this as an inclusive plural membership.
We are equal and different at the same time, part of the universal and the
particular.
Individual nations seem to deny the long historical experience of
cosmopolitanism in Europe. European culture itself was always a way of
combining the universal and the particular, inclusive of a cultural variety
and cultural Others.
The statue of Spinoza in Amsterdam represents this: especially the rose-
ringed parakeets on his coat, symbolizing strange birds, colourful foreigners
settled in their new place.
When I use the term Europolitanism then, I mean to acknowledge the
identity of the common ground (in this case Europe) and of the polis:
places, spaces, each of which has its own identity. At the same time these
places and spaces (here, there) reproduce and reconfirm Europe’s tradition
and culture as a varied and plural ground.
I am also inspired by the works of the late philosopher Vilém Flusser, in
particular by his notion of closeness. In his book The Freedom of the
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Migrant. Objections to Nationalism (2003) he argues for a science of
closeness. In this context Flusser discusses the concept of proximity, which
for him involves Love for your neighbour instead of Humanism in general.
Following Flusser, a new Europe would require to virtually breaking Europe
down into its component parts and then to network these parts by means of
crisscrossing connections. The tearing down of the Berlin Wall perfectly
fitted his idea. He goes however further and suggests the abolishment of
nation states and instead allowing people to enter into freely chosen
associations; for example between regions (he mentions Provence,
Catalonia and Tuscany (Flusser 2003, 73).
When referring to Flusser we need to take into account that his philosophy
was very much drawing on his experiences as a German-Jew from Prague,
who fled via London to Brazil in 1940. In 1972 he returned to Europe, living
in France. A migrant himself he didn’t bother much about ‘Heimat’: the
German concept that is currently being reintroduced into German politics.
Flusser bothered more about home: being there with the people you love
and care for. Closeness and proximity, the love-for-your-neighbour
approach, for him comes to replace nationalism, as according to Flusser the
crisis of identity is permanent. I am not sure whether Flusser would agree
with me, yet for me the notions of rooted Europolitanism and closeness
converge. That is, we are to be engaged in the local, the closeness and the
European at the same time. European television is the medium par
excellence to make this happen.
What about European television then dear listeners? What do we mean by
it? And what about globalization? After all, everything seems to be
interconnected: the local, the national, the European and the global; so
again, what do we mean when we speak about European television? There
is no final answer to this. That maybe somewhat disappointing, but I hope
to show a way out later. Firstly I would like to take you back into history.
9
Dutch television pioneer Erik de Vries, who started his career with Philips
industry in 1930, already in the 1930s acknowledged the power of television
as a technology to cross borders (de Leeuw 2008). De Vries started from
the mediums characteristic ‘liveness’: the very notion of television as Tele-
Vision: seeing far (away) into other spaces. In his view television’s potential
to even contribute to world peace lies in its ability to let people look across
their borders into the cultures and lives of others.
De Vries with the Philips caravan to introduce television travelling the
Balkan and Eastern Europe: Bucharest June 1938
According to De Vries exchanges of programmes should be at the heart of
television programming to help people understand others, firstly in Europe,
secondly across the world. As you may imagine, such exchange at a global
scale was not very easy to realize in those days. At a European level there
was more chance to make this happen: with Eurovision indeed.
10
As a division of the European
Broadcasting Union (which
connects public service
broadcasters from across the
globe), Eurovision was founded
in 1954. It is most famous for
its Eurovision Song Contest
(since 1956) and this:
Hear the trumpets that happily announce a new Europe!
Eurovision from the start was seen as a true instrument in European
integration, engaging more and more countries every year. It was
considered to increasingly enable a better mutual understanding and a
better relationship between the European nations (Degenhardt & Strauss
1999). More or less according to the ideal articulated by Erik de Vries.
Due to technical problems, language and copyright issues, Eurovision
focused primarily on the exchange of news, sports programmes and
concerts; culture remained neglected (Bourdon 2007). From the 1980s on
however, television in Europe was confronted with increasing global
challenges, f.e.: globalizing media industries such as the international trade
in media formats (with Endemol as strong player), deregulatory policy
regimes, the multiplication and convergence of delivery platforms, the
fragmentation of media audiences, etc.
European media politics replied to these global trends with the protection
and promotion of European broadcasting as a cultural entity in itself. It
began by the mid 1980s with The Television Without Frontiers Directive.
This Directive was the world’s first international agreement on transnational
broadcasting (Chalaby 2009). Broadcasting in Europe, was, according to the
European Commission, no longer an exclusively national issue. The idea was
to move towards a European audiovisual arena. In order to achieve this,
free circulation of programmes across European borders was encouraged.
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Again a bit like Erik de Vries had in mind.
In theory this allowed for a truly transnational building of European
television; however we hardly see this being effectuated due to – again -
language barriers and copyright issues that work against a trans-European
approach.
We scholars have been trying to conceptualize European television and
some of us have taken on a European television historiography (Bignell
and Fickers 2008; Papathanassopoulos and Negrine, 2011).
Only with digitization in the last decade possibilities are available of
creating a truly European cultural space, shaped by television heritage.
There are many accounts of how television will change in the face of
globalization pointing to economics, to industries and to audiences (Barker
1999; Chalaby 2016; Couldry & McCarthy 2004; Moran 1998). It is telling
that none of these accounts refers to television in terms of heritage.
No surprise it is here that I see chances for a future European television and
television historiography. With the establishment and continuously
developing of EUscreen - the European television heritage portal - it is fair
to say that we made a start.
A few provisos before I get there: When speaking about digital television
archives, I as a matter of fact mean public broadcasting. Commercial
broadcasters do not give access to researchers, no matter the state of
digitization (Knapskog 2010). Basically it means they do not consider
themselves to be part of cultural heritage in the making. This has
implications for the television history that we tell. Yet there are also
provisos for public television heritage, as a lot, but not everything has been
digitized. Also, digitization comes in unequal volumes across Europe. It
means we still cannot do without analogue research. On top of that digitized
television heritage is not freely and publicly accessible across Europe,
despite digitization. Again, copyrights remain a complex issue when it
comes to television material.
12
The EUscreen portal
Copyright was one of the reasons that Johan Oomen at Beeld en Geluid and
I at Media and Culture Studies started designing a European project back in
2005. Dear listeners, remember this was before YouTube was launched. The
project eventually developed into what is now EUscreen. At the university,
my colleague Andreas Fickers and I chose the conference of the
International Federation of Television Archives in Paris back in 2004 to get
in touch with television archivists. Also there we launched the European
Television History Network we had just founded.
Looking at the history of television, as we knew it by then, we felt there
were enough reasons to go across borders and to explore the many
similarities and differences in its historical development; this way doing
justice to the medium. I give you an example: the question whether
television staff exchanges helped to create something like a European
television space. We now know there were such exchanges indeed even in
times of Cold War politics and the Iron Curtain (Mustata 2011). Basically,
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we intended to take up the challenge of integrated access and trans-
European (re) search. At the time, from 2000 on, television broadcasters
started digitizing their collections and apart from following their own
agendas they very much wanted to know what potential users, researchers
in the first place, would like to work on. We at our end had experienced very
limited and restricted access across borders; some even none at all. Both
archivists and researchers thus felt an urgent need for close cooperation
across Europe (O’Dwyer 2008). Archivists had content in which part of the
cultural memory of Europe is stored; researchers saw the potential of trans-
European searching of that content so as to develop a cultural comparative
approach to European television history. I hope by now you understand that
creating a portal and bringing television material from across Europe
together on the portal was and still is the only possibility for studying
European television heritage. Even though many broadcasters have digitized
their holdings (and increasingly are putting things online), it remains
impossible to get access from your home computer in the Netherlands to
the digitized collections of all European television archives. An example is
the Austrian television archive.
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Again, the main reason is copyright, which remains a very national policy
issue. But there’s more that we wanted to tackle with a European project.
First of all, for a truly cross-European search and analysis it is crucial that
metadata (data about programmes) are harmonized (Knapskog 2010); that
is to say they need to be comparable in extension and in description to
make cross-archival search meaningful.
Metadata schema developed in EUscreen
Secondly the data should be able to speak to each other. This requires a
sophisticated level of interoperability within the digital infrastructure that
such portal represents (the black box of EUscreen). Thirdly and finally, to
encourage use of digitized material, use-case scenarios, examples of digital
journeys if you like, are key: a storytelling approach to the material.
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The European Commission granted us for three projects in a row, from
2006-2016, allowing us to realize some of these ambitions. My colleague
Eggo Müller joined EUscreen to take on the scientific coordination of the
third project.
The EUscreen portal, being a mediated platform for comparative analysis,
has been made sustainable and is now connected to other digital databases,
first and foremost to Europeana, the European cultural heritage portal.
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Ideally connecting links to community archives too and to personal objects
would enrich our understanding of European television history. Once
achieved, we might even develop public television histories as digital
archival routes: an act of co-curating where academics, archivists and users
develop stories about the past: stories that reflect the potential
multivocality of interpretations. This so-called participatory archive (Huvila
2008) for example shows itself at Europeana Collection Days; people across
Europe, young and old, will be encouraged to contributing to and
exploring Europeana Migration by participating at events where they can
add their personal migration stories, with material such as pictures, diaries,
videos and letters, to the collection.
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This is not to say that heritage institutions no longer have responsibility.
They remain the prime keepers of the past (Noordegraaf 2010); however
giving meaning to the past should be a shared responsibility.
I have already pointed to the importance of precise and comprehensive
metadata for finding and comparing material (Knapskog 2010). Moreover in
order to make sense of the material, contextual information is key (de
Leeuw 2012; Snickars 2012.) To that purpose we developed VIEW, the
online scholarly journal on European Television History and Culture;
basically a multimedia journal in which we embed the digital sources we
speak about. Here too television archivists are collaborating with television
scholars.
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So far I hope to have indicated how complex the area of digital television
heritage is, and how much it requires a specific approach: collaborative, and
interdisciplinary. For the remaining I would like to elaborate on the
interdisciplinary and from here navigate into the future of digital European
television heritage. I see my farewell as an opportunity to present my view
on what is needed after today; some of which fortunately has already
started. I draw on our experiences with the ongoing EUscreen project and
Digital Humanities research to show the need to advancing our knowledge,
firstly on the archive; secondly on the use of tools to search heritage as
data – taking you to the field of Digital Humanities; and finally on Media
Archaeology as a means of conceptualising this act of searching. This I hope
will support my idea to navigate routes of European television with digital
television heritage.
It’s been quite some time since I did research in a physical archive myself:
often a dusty cellar in one of the broadcasters buildings. There I rummaged
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mostly non-catalogued piles of paper. Not the most attractive work and
hence not very popular among television scholars. This is also because the
archives contained just the paper trail, not the programmes, which,
exceptionally, I was allowed to watch at the offices of television editors.
Advances in digital technology have led to an ‘archival turn’ in humanities
scholarship. The notion of the ‘archive’ therefore deserves attention and
reflection.
In the digital age the ‘archive’ has become one of the most popular
metaphors for all kinds of memory and storage agencies. But let us not
forget that first of all the archive is a ‘very precise institution’ as media
scholar Wolfgang Ernst puts it (Ernst 2004). Ernst points to the differences
between archive and Internet, while at the same time acknowledging they
both represent a certain hierarchy: one through the archivist(s) or the
institution and the other through algorithms and their creators. The archive
is about selecting; the Internet is more about saving without any ordering,
offering arbitrary access to data. Both invite a critical analysis of its
construction.
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Having become data, digitized television materials require context - an act
of digital source criticism (Fickers 2012) that we need to perform. From
there we can develop narratives that speak to us (Ernst 2004), and that
are able to engage users with television material from the past: again the
storytelling approach: an example is the Freedom Express.
Freedom Express was an international campaign [organised by the ENRS]
to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the collapse of communism in
Central and Eastern Europe. Central was a travelling multimedia
exhibition, to which EUscreen contributed with a video collage by way of
archival route. The collage consists of television footage highlighting
decisive moments in the freedom movement in several Eastern European
countries from 1989 on.
It shows how much digital archival routes connect places and stories across
Europe. Making visible similarities and differences.
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There is a route in the making on the topic Migration (as I showed before: a
topic that by definition connects places and people) along different
storylines; one is constructed around personal stories across Europe many
of which are rooted in regional conflicts and another one could centre on
migration history within Europe: a starting point from where to build further
and contribute video collages to Europeana Migration.
Route Migration News report on the arriving of refugees from Sarajevo in
Ljubljana in 1992, Slovenian TV,20/11/1992
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Immigrants Communication. Documentary on the history of migration in
Austria, going back to the Habsburg Empire, ORF, 10/6/1974
The EUscreen portal
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The EUscreen portal then could be considered a digital television archive. I
already referred to the biased selection of archival material (Cook 2011).
Taking this further to EUscreen, we need to be aware how much selective
the content in the broadcasting archives is. When going through another
selection process (on what to provide to the EUscreen portal), archivists
made a second selection indeed.
Archival theory (Ketelaar 2001) provides the conceptual framework with
which to assess these selection processes. Therefore in my view, Archival
Theory would be the much-needed auxiliary discipline in television studies
to benefit from.
With a view to the future of European television and the study of it, we
could possibly follow Terrry Cook’s argument that we keep what we are and
vice versa we are what we keep. It means that no matter how biased
selections are, there is an implicit or maybe even unconscious process of
reproducing identities that we are most comfortable with. It goes without
saying that this is a dynamic process. I am not speaking about defining who
we are. Rather it is about assessing digitized television heritage as reflexive
of how we see ourselves. The archival buildings thus accommodate the
vaults of the unconsciousness, if institutionalized. It is our task to bring
these out and put them in an historical context. Eventually and ideally these
archives would be connected to participatory archives to diversify
storytelling about the past. The future is in digital transmedia storytelling
where the construction of a variety of narratives, archival routes, is central,
spread over different media forms.
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Finnish scholar Jussi Parikka (2012) stresses the centrality of the archive for
media studies. He talks about the archive as a key site of digital culture. It
cuts across what we understand as Digital Humanities.
Digital Humanities is concerned with the intersection of computing and the
discipline of the Humanities. It ranges from curating online collections (such
as in EUscreen) to data mining large cultural datasets. It combines the
methodologies from the traditional humanities discipline with tools provided
by computing, such as data visualization, information retrieval, data mining,
computational analysis, and digital publishing.
Digital Humanities hence is data driven research, as it works through broad
access to digital sources and research data (Robertson 2011). With the
privacy issues rising around Facebook’s data leakage and the new European
data privacy law, we are becoming more conscious about digital data. Data
driven research in Humanities is not necessarily ‘big data’ driven. Most
Humanities data are not big data, yet for us they are big enough anyway.
Digital Humanities then is about developing search tools to curate and
explore data (as with EUscreen), and about developing analysis tools.
There are many European countries, which, at a national level, have
databases containing digitized television heritage; and in several countries
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tools have been developed to rework those. For example in the NL the
MediaSuite within CLARIAH, by colleagues Jasmijn van Gorp and Julia
Noordegraaf together with the colleagues of Beeld en Geluid.
The MediaSuite integrates several Dutch language data collections and is
crucial for intermedial exploration of Dutch heritage data. At a European
level there is DARIAH, the European Digital Research Infrastructure for the
Arts and Humanities. DARIAH intends to publish data collections and tools,
for further use at a European level.
Tools are there to help us explore, analyse, and represent these collections.
They are however never neutral, rather a construct, an interpretation of
user expectations and navigations. They play a role in structuring or even
determining what information we find, how we process it and how we
present it to different audiences. As a result, we are entering a new phase in
Digital Humanities research. This phase requires to not only acknowledging
26
the constructed nature of data, but also the constructed nature of digital
architecture. This may sound obvious to you, but many colleagues are not
aware of how much the interface defines their research. Within CLARIAH
this is now being addressed. Tools hence are not ‘automatic archaeologists’
(Barcelo 2007, 446). Rather they should be considered the result of human
action, like archives (Bron, Van Gorp & De Rijke, 2015).
In my view the Digital Humanities agenda therefore should prioritize
understanding of how technology transforms knowledge altogether
(Foucault 1972). To that purpose we need another auxiliary discipline, that
of Media Archaeology (Huthamo & Parikka 2011; Parikka 2012).
Media archaeology looks into the past through the lens of the unique
materiality of the tool. It ‘goes under the hood’ (Parikka 2012, 83) of
hardware and software and approaches the tool itself as archive: we need
to dig deeper and wider into the tool to identify its materiality, its different
layers, so as to understand their meaning. While carrying out some Media
Archaeology with my colleague Jasmijn Van Gorp, we learned that in spite
of the advent of digital tools, we still need the fundamental humanistic
27
activities of close reading (of the layers), interpretation, and historical
engagement (Sternfeld, 2011).
So the point that I am trying to make is that looking at archival material
and creating routes with it, help to construct another discourse of European
television: that of what I phrased earlier as rooted Europolitanism; it
involves representations of Europeanness as well as of the local, the
national, and of their interconnectedness.
To this purpose we need a new kind of research (collaborative and
interdisciplinary), as well as a new kind of researcher: one able to track and
trace and assess archival European television material as well as the tools
being used. At the same time the new researcher is a storyteller: equipped
to construct new archival routes by navigating the diversity of cultures as
well as the common ground. This would require already at schools and
universities thereafter education on the digital archive and on Europe: we
need curricula in which digital European history and culture are embedded
and discussed.
The keyword here, one that I haven’t used so far, but that I consider
crucial, is innovation. Universities that aim to rise to the challenges of future
research should invest in Digital Humanities in the first place, in Clariah, in
Dariah and in Digital Humanities literacy. Humanities Faculties in particular
should take responsibility for keeping digital European cultural heritage alive
and to research its meaning in an innovative society (Dutch National
Research Agenda/Route Living History 2017).
Maybe it al started with this in 1960:
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I am almost as young as television is in its institutionalized form. I have
seen its changing over the decades and its ability to re-invent itself and to
maintain its cultural potential; first and foremost by offering us
understandings of the past and the present and also the future as proven by
this clip from 1947 on French TV:
Television, the eye of tomorrow, INA 1947. Watching television on a mobile
device (not a phone).
29
At grammar school I considered studying classical languages. My Latin
teacher at the time advised me against it, as in his opinion, as a teacher of
classical languages I would definitively remain single. Also I considered
becoming an archaeologist, however in 1971 there were just very few
places to study archaeology and exactly where I didn’t want to go. So I
decided studying Dutch language and literature; not a big surprise, as I was
always into novels and poetry, inspired by my teacher of ‘Dutch’. Then I
moved on to the cultural practices of theatre studies and eventually to film
and television studies.
With digitization and a stronger EU research agenda, transnational
collaboration became relevant and possible, and turned out to perfectly fit
my character.
I am ending my career at the university more or less as an archaeologist,
digging into digitized television data. Exploring data to find new questions
and using these data at the same time (with the help of tools) to answer
these questions. But also I have been working on fiction, comedy, and satire
in particular and on the freedom of speech. All that came together in Dutch
and European projects, centring on the issue of identity construction.
I have been navigating my routes through Europe myself, within the context
of the EUscreen project and Digital Humanities, meeting up with colleagues
and exchanging thoughts on how to revitalize Europe’s televisual past.
Travelling through Europe and meeting up with colleagues enriched my life
enormously. I learned a lot and built strong friendships across Europe. Proof
is that my closest EUscreen family members are present here. I am very
grateful for that.
So what about my own future: frankly I don’t think either of those would fit
me completely:
30
I will continue some of my work on European television heritage and look
forward to continue working with my nearest and dearest colleagues here
and in Europe. For now, I would like to thank each and every one of you as
you all crossed my path and added to my professional and personal life. I
would also like to take the opportunity to express my enormous gratitude to
some in particular:
Andy, thank you very much for proof reading. And then for today’s
symposium: The Many Lives of Europe’s Audiovisual Heritage. All who
participated in it today, many thanks for this great honour; the lectures
demonstrated cutting-edge research and addressed the most relevant
challenges that research into digitized audiovisual heritage is facing. And not
only that; also new pathways were discussed to meet those challenges. I
am very pleased to see how dedicated you all are to this subject; it is the
future. So again many thanks Frank, Eggo, Berber, Alec, Dana, Jerome,
Pelle, Johan, Julia, Jasmijn, Andreas, Andy, Judith and John; you are
surprise to launch an issue of VIEW dedicated to my farewell.
excellent scholars and have become very dear friends. And then what a
31
The organizing team Eggo, Jasmijn and Alec; also for being such wonderful
colleagues here in Utrecht. The whole Television in Transition Team consists
of great people, all committed to the medium television indeed. I hope this
will remain and I wish you many more exchanges and debates.
I would like to thank Eggo in particular for keeping EUscreen on track. And
thank you dear Eggo for being my fellow traveller at the department over
many years. We all know how important it is to share at the work place
what’s on your mind with someone you can trust and to know that he will
understand and patiently will help finding a way out. Thank you, it made my
life easier.
Johan, thank you for the continuous support by Beeld en Geluid; it never let
us down. And personally thank you for travelling the EUscreen route
together. And what’s more, in all these years of collaboration, we have been
and are always on the same wavelength.
And finally, Richard, thank you for being by my side for already over forty
years, for your love and care, your creativity, constructive thinking along
with me and for putting things into perspective with your special sense of
humour.
32
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References
Barcelo, Juan Antonio. 2007. Automatic Archaeology: Bridging the Gap between Virtual
Reality, Artifical Intelligence and Archaeology. In Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage, eds.
Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine. Cambridge, MA: MIT Pres: 437-455.
Barker, Chris. 1999. Television, globalization and cultural identities. Buckingham: Open
University Press.
Beck, Ulrich. 2003. Rooted Cosmopolitanism: Emerging from a Rivalry of Distinctions. In
Global America? The Cultural Consequences of Globalization, eds. Ulrich Beck, Natan
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Navigating Digital Archival Routes through European Television

  • 1. 1 Farewell Lecture Utrecht University Faculty of Humanities Media and Culture Studies
  • 2. 2 Meneer de rector, dear family, friends, colleagues, and students The European Union has declared 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage. It celebrates the past to build the future and its aim is (quote) “to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's diverse cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space”. Cultural heritage seemingly is considered a valuable source to create narratives about the past of Europe to build the future (see also EU Strategic Research Agenda - on Cultural Heritage, 2010). Today I would like to highlight European digital television heritage and navigate with you its possible routes. The core idea of my lecture is how digital European television heritage offers a gateway to a future European television, and ideally to a future Europe.
  • 3. 3 These are shots of television/archive buildings across Europe: you may recognize the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision (top left). Bottom left = Luce/Cinecitta in Rome, next = Greek TV headquarters (and archive, see flag), top right Czech TV and archive. The buildings show archives as physical places, as what we use to call ‘sites of memory’. We can go and visit them to experience the past, and I actually did. And this is what you find: historical objects, such as television and radio programmes, pictures showing the ‘behind the scenes’, notes and policy papers about the production, the circulation and reception of television and radio, and if you are lucky, material objects (a TV set). Each building represents a practice of remembering, dynamic and ongoing (Bottici & Challand 2013; Hagedoorn 2016). What has been kept in a way reflects public values attached to national television: worth preserving and worth sharing with us, the audience (Stanton 2007).
  • 4. 4 However the matter is a bit more complicated as we are dealing with television heritage. Television heritage by definition involves issues of ownership and copyrights, hindering public distribution at large (Schroff 2017). Moreover, archives in general do not per se represent the past. I mean, with archiving, cultural heritage is being constructed; selections always have to be made (Hal Foster (2004). And when stored in a national archive, cultural heritage provides institutional representations of a shared past (Cameron 2007; Derrida & Prenowitz 1995). That is why we need to acknowledge ‘the politics of heritage’, asking ourselves ‘whose heritage’ are we dealing with and what would cultural heritage look like beyond dominant remains of the past (Hall, 2005). There are plenty of chances, as I hope to show, especially given that a lot of cultural heritage has been digitized. Our Italian colleague Milly Buonnano already almost ten years ago pointed out: Television is the only one of the large media to set up a living museum of itself (Buonnano 2008, 21). With digitization, television shows itself again as a medium of transition no matter its continuities. Television’s history demonstrates how much the medium has always been tied up with technology and innovation. At many stages it reinvented itself, for example by adopting new technologies, from mechanics to an electronic support system, and eventually to the digital. In its digitized form television has developed into an archive. It now offers new opportunities for creating access to the richness of its own history. At a national level, but – more interestingly - at a European level. For me the latter is very important. Why is this?
  • 5. 5 Television heritage is cultural memory, a vital component of historical knowledge and an equally important component of European cultural heritage (Scannell 2009). Moving images are the most prominent tools for cultural expression and transmission of information. Should we really embrace the European project, which in my view we should, Europe’s television heritage comes as a primary source from which to establish common European ground. I am not talking about essentialism or a European canon; rather it is about being European in the cultural sense, about belonging to cultures and about having access to these; for me what matters is an awareness of the bigger cultural space of Europe that we live in and its relationship to our own local cultural space within that.
  • 6. 6 Unfortunately, we observe much unawareness of the bigger cultural European space when reading the newspaper, watching television and listening to politicians. Such unawareness feeds Euroscepticism, so it seems (and this is how cartoonists reflect on it). Euroscepticism is very much informed by fear; fear about losing one’s identity, and as a consequence it is very much about reclaiming: reclaiming language f.e. (an example is Catalonia). Again, is this legitimate within the context of Europe? It might, and clashes will always be part of our history. But even then, there is much in favour of developing what I suggest as a sense of rooted Europolitanism. I paraphrase Ulrich Beck’s notion of rooted cosmopolitanism here (Beck 2003). Little elaboration is needed before I get back to European television heritage that in my view is vital to this sense of rooted Europolitanism. The wording ‘Europolitanism’ has been used before to discuss EU politics, EU economics and EU institutions; you may recognize these as the dominant discourses of the EU. I prefer to approach it from a cultural historical perspective (Sarikakis 2007; Seyhan 2014). As the late sociologist Ulrich Beck has pointed out, cosmopolitanism refers to a dual identity and loyalty: by birth we are all rooted in the cosmos, one cosmos (nature) and at the same time in the polis (in different cities, states,
  • 7. 7 religions, ethnicities, etc.). He sees this as an inclusive plural membership. We are equal and different at the same time, part of the universal and the particular. Individual nations seem to deny the long historical experience of cosmopolitanism in Europe. European culture itself was always a way of combining the universal and the particular, inclusive of a cultural variety and cultural Others. The statue of Spinoza in Amsterdam represents this: especially the rose- ringed parakeets on his coat, symbolizing strange birds, colourful foreigners settled in their new place. When I use the term Europolitanism then, I mean to acknowledge the identity of the common ground (in this case Europe) and of the polis: places, spaces, each of which has its own identity. At the same time these places and spaces (here, there) reproduce and reconfirm Europe’s tradition and culture as a varied and plural ground. I am also inspired by the works of the late philosopher Vilém Flusser, in particular by his notion of closeness. In his book The Freedom of the
  • 8. 8 Migrant. Objections to Nationalism (2003) he argues for a science of closeness. In this context Flusser discusses the concept of proximity, which for him involves Love for your neighbour instead of Humanism in general. Following Flusser, a new Europe would require to virtually breaking Europe down into its component parts and then to network these parts by means of crisscrossing connections. The tearing down of the Berlin Wall perfectly fitted his idea. He goes however further and suggests the abolishment of nation states and instead allowing people to enter into freely chosen associations; for example between regions (he mentions Provence, Catalonia and Tuscany (Flusser 2003, 73). When referring to Flusser we need to take into account that his philosophy was very much drawing on his experiences as a German-Jew from Prague, who fled via London to Brazil in 1940. In 1972 he returned to Europe, living in France. A migrant himself he didn’t bother much about ‘Heimat’: the German concept that is currently being reintroduced into German politics. Flusser bothered more about home: being there with the people you love and care for. Closeness and proximity, the love-for-your-neighbour approach, for him comes to replace nationalism, as according to Flusser the crisis of identity is permanent. I am not sure whether Flusser would agree with me, yet for me the notions of rooted Europolitanism and closeness converge. That is, we are to be engaged in the local, the closeness and the European at the same time. European television is the medium par excellence to make this happen. What about European television then dear listeners? What do we mean by it? And what about globalization? After all, everything seems to be interconnected: the local, the national, the European and the global; so again, what do we mean when we speak about European television? There is no final answer to this. That maybe somewhat disappointing, but I hope to show a way out later. Firstly I would like to take you back into history.
  • 9. 9 Dutch television pioneer Erik de Vries, who started his career with Philips industry in 1930, already in the 1930s acknowledged the power of television as a technology to cross borders (de Leeuw 2008). De Vries started from the mediums characteristic ‘liveness’: the very notion of television as Tele- Vision: seeing far (away) into other spaces. In his view television’s potential to even contribute to world peace lies in its ability to let people look across their borders into the cultures and lives of others. De Vries with the Philips caravan to introduce television travelling the Balkan and Eastern Europe: Bucharest June 1938 According to De Vries exchanges of programmes should be at the heart of television programming to help people understand others, firstly in Europe, secondly across the world. As you may imagine, such exchange at a global scale was not very easy to realize in those days. At a European level there was more chance to make this happen: with Eurovision indeed.
  • 10. 10 As a division of the European Broadcasting Union (which connects public service broadcasters from across the globe), Eurovision was founded in 1954. It is most famous for its Eurovision Song Contest (since 1956) and this: Hear the trumpets that happily announce a new Europe! Eurovision from the start was seen as a true instrument in European integration, engaging more and more countries every year. It was considered to increasingly enable a better mutual understanding and a better relationship between the European nations (Degenhardt & Strauss 1999). More or less according to the ideal articulated by Erik de Vries. Due to technical problems, language and copyright issues, Eurovision focused primarily on the exchange of news, sports programmes and concerts; culture remained neglected (Bourdon 2007). From the 1980s on however, television in Europe was confronted with increasing global challenges, f.e.: globalizing media industries such as the international trade in media formats (with Endemol as strong player), deregulatory policy regimes, the multiplication and convergence of delivery platforms, the fragmentation of media audiences, etc. European media politics replied to these global trends with the protection and promotion of European broadcasting as a cultural entity in itself. It began by the mid 1980s with The Television Without Frontiers Directive. This Directive was the world’s first international agreement on transnational broadcasting (Chalaby 2009). Broadcasting in Europe, was, according to the European Commission, no longer an exclusively national issue. The idea was to move towards a European audiovisual arena. In order to achieve this, free circulation of programmes across European borders was encouraged.
  • 11. 11 Again a bit like Erik de Vries had in mind. In theory this allowed for a truly transnational building of European television; however we hardly see this being effectuated due to – again - language barriers and copyright issues that work against a trans-European approach. We scholars have been trying to conceptualize European television and some of us have taken on a European television historiography (Bignell and Fickers 2008; Papathanassopoulos and Negrine, 2011). Only with digitization in the last decade possibilities are available of creating a truly European cultural space, shaped by television heritage. There are many accounts of how television will change in the face of globalization pointing to economics, to industries and to audiences (Barker 1999; Chalaby 2016; Couldry & McCarthy 2004; Moran 1998). It is telling that none of these accounts refers to television in terms of heritage. No surprise it is here that I see chances for a future European television and television historiography. With the establishment and continuously developing of EUscreen - the European television heritage portal - it is fair to say that we made a start. A few provisos before I get there: When speaking about digital television archives, I as a matter of fact mean public broadcasting. Commercial broadcasters do not give access to researchers, no matter the state of digitization (Knapskog 2010). Basically it means they do not consider themselves to be part of cultural heritage in the making. This has implications for the television history that we tell. Yet there are also provisos for public television heritage, as a lot, but not everything has been digitized. Also, digitization comes in unequal volumes across Europe. It means we still cannot do without analogue research. On top of that digitized television heritage is not freely and publicly accessible across Europe, despite digitization. Again, copyrights remain a complex issue when it comes to television material.
  • 12. 12 The EUscreen portal Copyright was one of the reasons that Johan Oomen at Beeld en Geluid and I at Media and Culture Studies started designing a European project back in 2005. Dear listeners, remember this was before YouTube was launched. The project eventually developed into what is now EUscreen. At the university, my colleague Andreas Fickers and I chose the conference of the International Federation of Television Archives in Paris back in 2004 to get in touch with television archivists. Also there we launched the European Television History Network we had just founded. Looking at the history of television, as we knew it by then, we felt there were enough reasons to go across borders and to explore the many similarities and differences in its historical development; this way doing justice to the medium. I give you an example: the question whether television staff exchanges helped to create something like a European television space. We now know there were such exchanges indeed even in times of Cold War politics and the Iron Curtain (Mustata 2011). Basically,
  • 13. 13 we intended to take up the challenge of integrated access and trans- European (re) search. At the time, from 2000 on, television broadcasters started digitizing their collections and apart from following their own agendas they very much wanted to know what potential users, researchers in the first place, would like to work on. We at our end had experienced very limited and restricted access across borders; some even none at all. Both archivists and researchers thus felt an urgent need for close cooperation across Europe (O’Dwyer 2008). Archivists had content in which part of the cultural memory of Europe is stored; researchers saw the potential of trans- European searching of that content so as to develop a cultural comparative approach to European television history. I hope by now you understand that creating a portal and bringing television material from across Europe together on the portal was and still is the only possibility for studying European television heritage. Even though many broadcasters have digitized their holdings (and increasingly are putting things online), it remains impossible to get access from your home computer in the Netherlands to the digitized collections of all European television archives. An example is the Austrian television archive.
  • 14. 14 Again, the main reason is copyright, which remains a very national policy issue. But there’s more that we wanted to tackle with a European project. First of all, for a truly cross-European search and analysis it is crucial that metadata (data about programmes) are harmonized (Knapskog 2010); that is to say they need to be comparable in extension and in description to make cross-archival search meaningful. Metadata schema developed in EUscreen Secondly the data should be able to speak to each other. This requires a sophisticated level of interoperability within the digital infrastructure that such portal represents (the black box of EUscreen). Thirdly and finally, to encourage use of digitized material, use-case scenarios, examples of digital journeys if you like, are key: a storytelling approach to the material.
  • 15. 15 The European Commission granted us for three projects in a row, from 2006-2016, allowing us to realize some of these ambitions. My colleague Eggo Müller joined EUscreen to take on the scientific coordination of the third project. The EUscreen portal, being a mediated platform for comparative analysis, has been made sustainable and is now connected to other digital databases, first and foremost to Europeana, the European cultural heritage portal.
  • 16. 16 Ideally connecting links to community archives too and to personal objects would enrich our understanding of European television history. Once achieved, we might even develop public television histories as digital archival routes: an act of co-curating where academics, archivists and users develop stories about the past: stories that reflect the potential multivocality of interpretations. This so-called participatory archive (Huvila 2008) for example shows itself at Europeana Collection Days; people across Europe, young and old, will be encouraged to contributing to and exploring Europeana Migration by participating at events where they can add their personal migration stories, with material such as pictures, diaries, videos and letters, to the collection.
  • 17. 17 This is not to say that heritage institutions no longer have responsibility. They remain the prime keepers of the past (Noordegraaf 2010); however giving meaning to the past should be a shared responsibility. I have already pointed to the importance of precise and comprehensive metadata for finding and comparing material (Knapskog 2010). Moreover in order to make sense of the material, contextual information is key (de Leeuw 2012; Snickars 2012.) To that purpose we developed VIEW, the online scholarly journal on European Television History and Culture; basically a multimedia journal in which we embed the digital sources we speak about. Here too television archivists are collaborating with television scholars.
  • 18. 18 So far I hope to have indicated how complex the area of digital television heritage is, and how much it requires a specific approach: collaborative, and interdisciplinary. For the remaining I would like to elaborate on the interdisciplinary and from here navigate into the future of digital European television heritage. I see my farewell as an opportunity to present my view on what is needed after today; some of which fortunately has already started. I draw on our experiences with the ongoing EUscreen project and Digital Humanities research to show the need to advancing our knowledge, firstly on the archive; secondly on the use of tools to search heritage as data – taking you to the field of Digital Humanities; and finally on Media Archaeology as a means of conceptualising this act of searching. This I hope will support my idea to navigate routes of European television with digital television heritage. It’s been quite some time since I did research in a physical archive myself: often a dusty cellar in one of the broadcasters buildings. There I rummaged
  • 19. 19 mostly non-catalogued piles of paper. Not the most attractive work and hence not very popular among television scholars. This is also because the archives contained just the paper trail, not the programmes, which, exceptionally, I was allowed to watch at the offices of television editors. Advances in digital technology have led to an ‘archival turn’ in humanities scholarship. The notion of the ‘archive’ therefore deserves attention and reflection. In the digital age the ‘archive’ has become one of the most popular metaphors for all kinds of memory and storage agencies. But let us not forget that first of all the archive is a ‘very precise institution’ as media scholar Wolfgang Ernst puts it (Ernst 2004). Ernst points to the differences between archive and Internet, while at the same time acknowledging they both represent a certain hierarchy: one through the archivist(s) or the institution and the other through algorithms and their creators. The archive is about selecting; the Internet is more about saving without any ordering, offering arbitrary access to data. Both invite a critical analysis of its construction.
  • 20. 20 Having become data, digitized television materials require context - an act of digital source criticism (Fickers 2012) that we need to perform. From there we can develop narratives that speak to us (Ernst 2004), and that are able to engage users with television material from the past: again the storytelling approach: an example is the Freedom Express. Freedom Express was an international campaign [organised by the ENRS] to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. Central was a travelling multimedia exhibition, to which EUscreen contributed with a video collage by way of archival route. The collage consists of television footage highlighting decisive moments in the freedom movement in several Eastern European countries from 1989 on. It shows how much digital archival routes connect places and stories across Europe. Making visible similarities and differences.
  • 21. 21 There is a route in the making on the topic Migration (as I showed before: a topic that by definition connects places and people) along different storylines; one is constructed around personal stories across Europe many of which are rooted in regional conflicts and another one could centre on migration history within Europe: a starting point from where to build further and contribute video collages to Europeana Migration. Route Migration News report on the arriving of refugees from Sarajevo in Ljubljana in 1992, Slovenian TV,20/11/1992
  • 22. 22 Immigrants Communication. Documentary on the history of migration in Austria, going back to the Habsburg Empire, ORF, 10/6/1974 The EUscreen portal
  • 23. 23 The EUscreen portal then could be considered a digital television archive. I already referred to the biased selection of archival material (Cook 2011). Taking this further to EUscreen, we need to be aware how much selective the content in the broadcasting archives is. When going through another selection process (on what to provide to the EUscreen portal), archivists made a second selection indeed. Archival theory (Ketelaar 2001) provides the conceptual framework with which to assess these selection processes. Therefore in my view, Archival Theory would be the much-needed auxiliary discipline in television studies to benefit from. With a view to the future of European television and the study of it, we could possibly follow Terrry Cook’s argument that we keep what we are and vice versa we are what we keep. It means that no matter how biased selections are, there is an implicit or maybe even unconscious process of reproducing identities that we are most comfortable with. It goes without saying that this is a dynamic process. I am not speaking about defining who we are. Rather it is about assessing digitized television heritage as reflexive of how we see ourselves. The archival buildings thus accommodate the vaults of the unconsciousness, if institutionalized. It is our task to bring these out and put them in an historical context. Eventually and ideally these archives would be connected to participatory archives to diversify storytelling about the past. The future is in digital transmedia storytelling where the construction of a variety of narratives, archival routes, is central, spread over different media forms.
  • 24. 24 Finnish scholar Jussi Parikka (2012) stresses the centrality of the archive for media studies. He talks about the archive as a key site of digital culture. It cuts across what we understand as Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities is concerned with the intersection of computing and the discipline of the Humanities. It ranges from curating online collections (such as in EUscreen) to data mining large cultural datasets. It combines the methodologies from the traditional humanities discipline with tools provided by computing, such as data visualization, information retrieval, data mining, computational analysis, and digital publishing. Digital Humanities hence is data driven research, as it works through broad access to digital sources and research data (Robertson 2011). With the privacy issues rising around Facebook’s data leakage and the new European data privacy law, we are becoming more conscious about digital data. Data driven research in Humanities is not necessarily ‘big data’ driven. Most Humanities data are not big data, yet for us they are big enough anyway. Digital Humanities then is about developing search tools to curate and explore data (as with EUscreen), and about developing analysis tools. There are many European countries, which, at a national level, have databases containing digitized television heritage; and in several countries
  • 25. 25 tools have been developed to rework those. For example in the NL the MediaSuite within CLARIAH, by colleagues Jasmijn van Gorp and Julia Noordegraaf together with the colleagues of Beeld en Geluid. The MediaSuite integrates several Dutch language data collections and is crucial for intermedial exploration of Dutch heritage data. At a European level there is DARIAH, the European Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities. DARIAH intends to publish data collections and tools, for further use at a European level. Tools are there to help us explore, analyse, and represent these collections. They are however never neutral, rather a construct, an interpretation of user expectations and navigations. They play a role in structuring or even determining what information we find, how we process it and how we present it to different audiences. As a result, we are entering a new phase in Digital Humanities research. This phase requires to not only acknowledging
  • 26. 26 the constructed nature of data, but also the constructed nature of digital architecture. This may sound obvious to you, but many colleagues are not aware of how much the interface defines their research. Within CLARIAH this is now being addressed. Tools hence are not ‘automatic archaeologists’ (Barcelo 2007, 446). Rather they should be considered the result of human action, like archives (Bron, Van Gorp & De Rijke, 2015). In my view the Digital Humanities agenda therefore should prioritize understanding of how technology transforms knowledge altogether (Foucault 1972). To that purpose we need another auxiliary discipline, that of Media Archaeology (Huthamo & Parikka 2011; Parikka 2012). Media archaeology looks into the past through the lens of the unique materiality of the tool. It ‘goes under the hood’ (Parikka 2012, 83) of hardware and software and approaches the tool itself as archive: we need to dig deeper and wider into the tool to identify its materiality, its different layers, so as to understand their meaning. While carrying out some Media Archaeology with my colleague Jasmijn Van Gorp, we learned that in spite of the advent of digital tools, we still need the fundamental humanistic
  • 27. 27 activities of close reading (of the layers), interpretation, and historical engagement (Sternfeld, 2011). So the point that I am trying to make is that looking at archival material and creating routes with it, help to construct another discourse of European television: that of what I phrased earlier as rooted Europolitanism; it involves representations of Europeanness as well as of the local, the national, and of their interconnectedness. To this purpose we need a new kind of research (collaborative and interdisciplinary), as well as a new kind of researcher: one able to track and trace and assess archival European television material as well as the tools being used. At the same time the new researcher is a storyteller: equipped to construct new archival routes by navigating the diversity of cultures as well as the common ground. This would require already at schools and universities thereafter education on the digital archive and on Europe: we need curricula in which digital European history and culture are embedded and discussed. The keyword here, one that I haven’t used so far, but that I consider crucial, is innovation. Universities that aim to rise to the challenges of future research should invest in Digital Humanities in the first place, in Clariah, in Dariah and in Digital Humanities literacy. Humanities Faculties in particular should take responsibility for keeping digital European cultural heritage alive and to research its meaning in an innovative society (Dutch National Research Agenda/Route Living History 2017). Maybe it al started with this in 1960:
  • 28. 28 I am almost as young as television is in its institutionalized form. I have seen its changing over the decades and its ability to re-invent itself and to maintain its cultural potential; first and foremost by offering us understandings of the past and the present and also the future as proven by this clip from 1947 on French TV: Television, the eye of tomorrow, INA 1947. Watching television on a mobile device (not a phone).
  • 29. 29 At grammar school I considered studying classical languages. My Latin teacher at the time advised me against it, as in his opinion, as a teacher of classical languages I would definitively remain single. Also I considered becoming an archaeologist, however in 1971 there were just very few places to study archaeology and exactly where I didn’t want to go. So I decided studying Dutch language and literature; not a big surprise, as I was always into novels and poetry, inspired by my teacher of ‘Dutch’. Then I moved on to the cultural practices of theatre studies and eventually to film and television studies. With digitization and a stronger EU research agenda, transnational collaboration became relevant and possible, and turned out to perfectly fit my character. I am ending my career at the university more or less as an archaeologist, digging into digitized television data. Exploring data to find new questions and using these data at the same time (with the help of tools) to answer these questions. But also I have been working on fiction, comedy, and satire in particular and on the freedom of speech. All that came together in Dutch and European projects, centring on the issue of identity construction. I have been navigating my routes through Europe myself, within the context of the EUscreen project and Digital Humanities, meeting up with colleagues and exchanging thoughts on how to revitalize Europe’s televisual past. Travelling through Europe and meeting up with colleagues enriched my life enormously. I learned a lot and built strong friendships across Europe. Proof is that my closest EUscreen family members are present here. I am very grateful for that. So what about my own future: frankly I don’t think either of those would fit me completely:
  • 30. 30 I will continue some of my work on European television heritage and look forward to continue working with my nearest and dearest colleagues here and in Europe. For now, I would like to thank each and every one of you as you all crossed my path and added to my professional and personal life. I would also like to take the opportunity to express my enormous gratitude to some in particular: Andy, thank you very much for proof reading. And then for today’s symposium: The Many Lives of Europe’s Audiovisual Heritage. All who participated in it today, many thanks for this great honour; the lectures demonstrated cutting-edge research and addressed the most relevant challenges that research into digitized audiovisual heritage is facing. And not only that; also new pathways were discussed to meet those challenges. I am very pleased to see how dedicated you all are to this subject; it is the future. So again many thanks Frank, Eggo, Berber, Alec, Dana, Jerome, Pelle, Johan, Julia, Jasmijn, Andreas, Andy, Judith and John; you are surprise to launch an issue of VIEW dedicated to my farewell. excellent scholars and have become very dear friends. And then what a
  • 31. 31 The organizing team Eggo, Jasmijn and Alec; also for being such wonderful colleagues here in Utrecht. The whole Television in Transition Team consists of great people, all committed to the medium television indeed. I hope this will remain and I wish you many more exchanges and debates. I would like to thank Eggo in particular for keeping EUscreen on track. And thank you dear Eggo for being my fellow traveller at the department over many years. We all know how important it is to share at the work place what’s on your mind with someone you can trust and to know that he will understand and patiently will help finding a way out. Thank you, it made my life easier. Johan, thank you for the continuous support by Beeld en Geluid; it never let us down. And personally thank you for travelling the EUscreen route together. And what’s more, in all these years of collaboration, we have been and are always on the same wavelength. And finally, Richard, thank you for being by my side for already over forty years, for your love and care, your creativity, constructive thinking along with me and for putting things into perspective with your special sense of humour.
  • 32. 32
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