The Past’s Future: Digital Transformations and Cultural Heritage Institutions

Closed project. Project period: 2015 - 2017.

Promoting individual freedom and empowerment and yielding important development benefits, education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights.

The Past's Future: Digital transformations and cultural heritage institutions

Today, more and more of the world’s cultural and educational resources are produced, distributed and accessed in digital form rather than on paper. Cultural heritage institutions are significant stakeholders in the digital transformations, and they currently allocate many resources to scanning, metadata editing and presenting texts and other cultural artifacts.

Education and the future of the past

Digitization creates new possibilities for making culture accessible, for creating public access to historical knowledge, and for presenting culture as the collective memory of society. However, it also raises complex questions in relation to methods of interpreting and using knowledge. 

Collaborating with three Danish national cultural heritage institutions – the National Gallery, the National Museum and the Royal Library – and with Professor Jeffrey Schnapp, Director of metaLab at Harvard University, we wish to analyze the concept and framework of education in light of the digital transformations – and how these transformations affect the future of the past as collected, preserved and disseminated by cultural heritage institutions.



















Name Position Affiliation
Porsdam, Helle Professor and Project Leader for The Past's Future Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen
Kuisz, Jaroslaw Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen
Thylstrup, Nanna Bonde Postdoc Saxo Institute and Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen
Schnapp, Jeffrey Professor Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Teilmann-Lock, Stina Associate Professor Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark



The project has been granted 5.9 million DKK by the VELUX FOUNDATION.

The VELUX FOUNDATION is a non-profit foundation and part of the VELUX FOUNDATIONS, founded by Villum Kann Rasmussen - Founder of Velux and other companies in the VKR group.

Read more about the VELUX FOUNDATION

Project period: 2015-2017

Unleashing and confronting stories of Bildung: Remediations of cultural-natural heritage

The Past's Future project hosted a conference in December 2017. The conference speakers discussed botany in the digital age, citizen science and cultural Bildung.

See videos from the conference



Helle Porsdam
Professor and Project Leader
The Saxo Institute
University of Copenhagen