Background: The coronavirus crisis is seen as an opportunity to revitalize the connection between Higher Education (HE) and society and enable them to assume even more energetically their role and responsibilities towards European citizens. The project aims to realise the potential of universities to contribute to the recovery of a sector that has been most severely hit, the cultural and creative sector (CCS), specifically small and medium-sized cultural heritage organizations (CHOs).

AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH: The project encourages HE institutions to adopt open innovation tools to address the challenges faced by CHOs. It contributes to the recovery of the HE sector as a pillar of diversity, social Inclusion and social responsibility in modern societies, helping HEIs re-consider their relationship with society and become more agile in tackling the crisis in important sectors of socio-economic activity, such as the cultural sector, that have been severely hit by the pandemic.

MAIN ACTIVITIES: eCHOIng addresses HE staff and students in the field of Cultural Heritage, from a wide range of relevant research fields, including Cultural Studies, (Art) History, Memory studies, Digital Humanities, Cultural Economics and software engineering. It trains them in inducing, governing and leveraging open innovation interventions, such as hacktivism, digital crowdsourcing and co-creation. These methods and activities teach students how to take sustainable and economically viable decisions when engaging in open innovation projects for the benefit of the Cultural Heritage sector. In order to optimize efficiency, eCHOIng maps and critically assesses current practices regarding economic and social sustainability criteria. The project also develops and tests innovative approaches HEIs can adopt in reviving the cultural heritage sector, benefiting from good practices already in place in European institutions that will help to highlight the relevance and power of collaborations between HEis and CHOs.

Targets: While the cultural heritage professionals of tomorrow – HE staff, undergraduate and graduate students, are a vital target audience both in terms of developing and transferring the insights gained through the project, members of small and medium-size CHOs will be involved in eCHOIng too, such as governing boards, working staff and volunteers.