“Being the national gallery and main
art museum in Denmark , SMK carries an important
responsibility towards the entire country and beyond.
The vast collection of 700 years of art is common
national property and ideally, everyone who lives in
Denmark share a sense of ownership to this unique
“Our work is based on the conviction that the artworks
in our rich collection has a role to play in the society
that surrounds us, through its ability to deepen our
understanding of the world, its peoples and histories.
We believe that the development museums have
undergone in the past decades holds the key to engage far
more, and more different people than we reach today.
“Few politicians earnestly believe
that culture can be an economic investment
that acts as a catalyst for growth.
In most people’s opinion, culture is nothing more
than an expense which we can chose to prioritise
if we think that art and culture contribute
something of significance to society.
“Caring for cultural heritage used to be a
governmental, political task, but is slowly
eliminated from governmental obligations without
any politicians wavering. I’m concerned that what
is missing are powerful arguments explaining why
culture is a basic value supporting our society.
Mikkel Bogh, director of SMK
Politiken, April 2018
“I think it’s important to do more research into the effects
of art and culture. How does it influence our education, our
development of competencies, and our personal growth to
have access to culture? I think people need to be told that
culture has a utility value for their personal wellbeing and
development, ultimately also for the economic
bottom line of our society.
Cultural rapporteur, Danish Social Democrats
How does digitised cultural heritage
contribute to personal wellbeing
and societal development?
Impact area Social-cultural
Impact lenses Utility, Community
Users feel empowered by access to our digitised collections
They engage with them for learning, knowledge sharing, creativity, and pleasure
Users feel connected to art and to SMK
They participate in an open dialogue about art, and what it means to them
Primary target groups
Educational use of SMK art and knowledge in schools around the country
SMK open collections as a toolbox for DIY creativity
ULK + SMK Open
Young People’s Art Labs at the Young People’s Meeting
Make the invisible visible
Use open art as a stepping stone to
break taboos about mental and physical vulnerability
Open up dialogue, understanding and possible healing
by means of artistic co-creation
What do you think art can be used for?
It’s easier for me to express my emotions
through images or drawings, because then I
don’t have to explain everything. And then
other people can make their own sense of it
and relate to it in their own way.
It’s strange in a way, because those old
artworks have always felt like they were
sacred almost. But I think it’s a good idea
that everyone is allowed to see the artworks
even if they don’t feel like or have time to
visit the museum.
What does it mean when art is digitised
and made freely available?
It’s like art changes character when
you can touch it with your own
hands. You’re able to look at it up
close. It means a lot to be able to
hold the art between your hands
and touch it.
It’s awesome that we can use these artworks that were
once created and preserved, and make something new
out of them, make them our own, so to speak. That way,
you can bring something old with you into the new.
Do you talk with friends or family
about art and being creative?
Not really. We’re not that creative at home.
It’s not at all something that comes up in the
conversations we have.
We don’t really have creative classes at school
anymore. That was more of a thing when we
were in primary and middle school. Now it’s all
about books and computers.
Free access to digital cultural heritage seems to
evoke confidence to express oneself
increase understanding of the nuances and possibilities of visual
make cultural heritage feel more accessible
create a sense of ownership to cultural heritage
Challenges to tackle
communicate how art and creativity can play a role in (young)
reach out and engage young people and their families in artistic,
creative experiences and activities
influence schools and politicians to prioritise creative subjects
in the education system
SMK Open case study
Published late 2018 on the
Europeana impact site
A Culture of Digital Copies
University of Copenhagen, 15 November 2018