CWI’s lectures on Digital Cultural Heritage

Where mathematics, computer science and humanities meet.

Publication date
21 Nov 2023

The importance of arts and cultural heritage is unquestionable, helping citizens to develop emotional and cognitive processes. The cultural sector faces a number of challenges, from digitalization of their collections to create digital surrogates, to curation and interpretation, to showcasing and exhibition. The traditional model of the cultural experience as passive observation is decisively shifting to active, interpretive engagement. Cultural heritage institutions are rethinking and reworking their spaces to promote deeper understanding of their collections and mission, greater interactivity with their audiences, a fuller range of activities, and a more advanced usage of immersive technologies. They are exploring as well how to make their collection accessible remotely.

This trans-disciplinary field, digital cultural heritage, requires knowledge and technology from mathematics and computer science, as highlighted by the human-centric vision of the European Commission for a digital society to empower citizens and businesses. As a National research institute in the field of mathematics and computer science, CWI is in a pivotal position to conduct and facilitate research in digital cultural heritage. On 16 November 2023, the institute organized a day of lectures on this topic, providing an overview of the most recent developments and current state of affairs in that field. Guest speakers included experts from both the academic research field as well as the world of digital cultural heritage (British Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza museum).

group picture organizers and speakers lectures 2023
Organizers and speakers of the CWI lectures on Digital Cultural Heritage 2023

Mathematics & Computer Science for Cultural Heritage

Pablo Cesar, co-organizer of the event and group leader Distributed and Interactive Systems at CWI explains the reason for the organization of this event, a collaboration with CWI research groups Computational Imaging and Human-Centered Data Analytics: “The lectures provided a unique trans-disciplinary environment for fostering collaboration to adequately address the issues faced by cultural heritage institutions. The joint effort between three research groups of the institute, allowed us to take into consideration several disciplines and research fields within mathematics and computer science.”

Ton de Kok, director of CWI reflects on the importance of mathematics and computer science for the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage:”The viewpoints of many different scientific disciplines are enabled by data gathered by technologies that capture the artefacts studied, creating images that are stored, interpreted and visualized, in pictures, tables and graphs. In each of these steps mathematics and computer science play a part. At CWI we do fundamental research on the interface of mathematics and computer science. Such research is the foundation of the digital society as we see it evolve. Such research is also the foundation of the digital society as we want it to evolve.”

The Lectures on Digital Cultural Heritage included as well an overview of the current research initiatives in the field in which CWI participates (5DCulture, Cultural AI, HAICu, IMPACT4ART, TRANSMIXR).

The full program of the event can be found here.

More information

audience lectures 2023