"All Our Yesterdays": Europeana and the Phenomenology of Photographic Experience through the Framing of Digitization


  • Fred Truyen
  • Sofie Taes


EuropeanaPhotography is a CIP project aiming at contributing over 430.000 high-quality early photographic images to Europeana. A consortium consisting of 19 photo agencies, museums and archives - e.g. both private and publically-funded organizations, with the care of photographic heritage as a common goal - will digitize masterpieces from the first 100 years of photography. The project promoter is KU Leuven; the technical coordinator is Promoter srl. This paper will, on the one hand, describe the project as it was conceived and is unfolding as a typical Digital Humanities Project, and on the other hand focus not on strictly technical questions but dig deeper into the core humanities topics at hand, such as the impact of digitization and IPR issues. It will talk about selection, digitization, metadata, preservation and dissemination – with special attention given to the exhibition, which is meant to be attractive as a cultural event for a broad public, but at the same time to spread the Europeana message to European citizens, and to function as a thought-provoking statement, through the radically unconventional way in which the historical photographs are showcased in the exhibition.

Author Biographies

Fred Truyen

 Prof. dr.Frederik Truyen, born in 1961, is a professor at the Faculty of Arts of Leuven University (KU Leuven). He publishes on e-Learning,ICT Education, Digitisation and Epistemology, and is Head of ICT Services at the Faculty of Arts. In charge of CS Digital, the mediaLab of the Institute for Cultural Studies, he teaches Information Science at the BA and Online Publishing at the MA level. He is active in ICT at several levels of the University, mostly related to Web technology and e-Learning. Fred is involved in many projects on Open Educational Resources, such as Net-CU, OCW EU and LACE, and on projects in digitization of Cultural Heritage, such as RICH, EuropeanaPhotography, and Europeana Space. He is currently programme director of the MA in Cultural Studies and Task Force leader for Digital Humanities at the Faculty of Arts KU Leuven.

Sofie Taes

 Sofie Taes is an alumna of KU Leuven, where she graduated in musicology (Master, 2004) and Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Advanced Master, 2005). She worked as a research assistant at the Musicology Research Unit of KU Leuven (Alamire Foundation) and as a dramaturge at the Antwerp concert hall AMUZ, before embarking upon a new professional venture. Since March 2013 she has, on the one hand, joined the Institute for Cultural Studies (CS Digital) at KU Leuven as a research assistant (among others, collaborating on EuropeanaPhotography, Europeana Space and PHOTOCONSORTIUM). On the other hand, she has embarked on a trajectory as a dramaturge and head of communication at Jos van Immerseel’s period orchestra Anima Eterna Brugge. Sofie Taes is also active as a freelance writer on a variety of topics related to music, and has published a book tracing the steps of the early music movement in Flanders.




How to Cite

Truyen, F., & Taes, S. (2015). "All Our Yesterdays": Europeana and the Phenomenology of Photographic Experience through the Framing of Digitization. Uncommon Culture, 5(9/10), 56–72. Retrieved from https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/UC/article/view/6036



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