On February 22nd 2022, University of Patras (Dept. of Environmental Engineering) organized a stakeholder meeting within the framework of project CD-ETA. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and exchange ideas with the regional stakeholders about effects of COVID-19 on culture and heritage as well as to answer to the question of how digital media can be used to address these effects.
Initially, Project Manager, Prof. Vagelis Papadakis, had a brief review of the project and mentioned the effects of the pandemic on monuments and cultural organizations. He described good practices of responding to the new conditions and ways of managing the access requirements created by the pandemic from the cultural institutions and organizations in Greece and in the regions-partners of the project.
The meeting attended online Mr. Konstantinos Antonopoulos, Archaeologist from Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia, who presented the effects of the pandemic on historical monuments and museums as well as the very important activities concerning the digital representation and depiction of cultural monuments in the archeological site of Ancient Olympia. The results of the work are freely accessible through the online platform https://olympiacommongrounds.gr/explore . Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia has implemented a series of activities in order to address the social consequences of the pandemic through digital actions in collaboration with the higher and secondary education, facilitating remote access to collections via Internet and the development of content on social media. In addition, the Ephorate edited, designed and delivered to the public four new websites dedicated to a) Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity (www.ancientolympicsmuseum.com ) b) Ancient Ilida. The Cradle of the Olympic Games (https://elismuseum.com/) c) Spiros Louis (winner of the first Marathon) prize exhibition, https://louisprizes.ilia-olympia.org and d) at the Olympic Herbal Garden, next to the Cronios hill of Olympia (https://olympiabotanicalgarden.ilia-olympia.org/ ). The last three of the above tributes framed the event of the Ephorate for the International Museum Day, which both years of the pandemic was celebrated all over the world with digital actions oriented mainly to the educational community.
In addition, at the stakeholder meeting participated Prof. Chrysostomos Stylios, Director of the Institute of Industrial Systems, who addressed the great development of intelligent systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as the knowledge and capabilities provided by the Institute in order to assist national and regional actors in their efforts to integrate innovation and develop new products and services in the cultural sector, both to overcome the obstacles of the pandemic and to develop new opportunities.
On behalf of Regional Development Fund of Region of Western Greece, Responsible body for the Policy instrument, Mr. Stathis Papachristopoulos analyzed the results of developmental projects of the Region in the field of cultural management and the development of Cultural and Creative Industries. In addition, he highlighted the new opportunities for support of business development through the thematic incubators of culture that will be created in the Region, but also the financial opportunities provided by the current programming period of the Regional Policy Instrument of Western Greece 2021-2027.
On behalf of the companies activating in the field of digitization and promotion of cultural and tourist content, in the meeting participated the heads of the company "PIKEI - New Technologies" Mr. Dimitris Karadimas, Electrical Engineer and Christos Panagiotou, Computer Engineer. They presented recent projects, such as the cross-border project Greece-Italy CI-Novatec https://interregcinovatec.eu , the initiative of the Region of Western Greece with the internet portal https://www.menoumedytikiellada.gr and the website https://discoverkalavrita.gr , in which visitors can see remarkable efforts of digitization and promotion of the cultural heritage in Western Greece. Finally, they stressed the need for an integrated management of the scattered digital information about the monuments and the natural and cultural resources in Western Greece as well as the importance of integrating the experiential experience in the digitization of the cultural heritage.On behalf of researchers of University of Patras, a short intervention was made by Dr. Konstantinos Antonopoulos, who pointed out the need to expand the scope of digitization by including visual and audio data through commonly accessible platforms with the participation of local agencies and the local government, as well as a targeted information campaign for local cultural heritage and stakeholders.Finally, a greeting message was sent by Dr. Anastasia Koumousi, Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Achaia and member of the committee of stakeholders of the CD-ETA project.