At the same time as the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Europeana organizes two Presidential Conferences each year, with the Member States holding the Presidency, focusing on heritage policy. The events bring together high-level policymakers from European ministries of culture, cultural actors and professionals, experts in the field, representatives from the European Commission and the DCHE expert group to ensure the reach of the network for EU member states and to discuss topical issues of the sector’s focus digital heritage and the Europeana initiative.
The first step was to review the results / documentation of past presidency events. Subsequently, post-event questionnaires were sent to participants in the 2019 Presidency events at the time of the event and therefore before the planned impact assessment. These data were checked (the sample was very small). Together with Europeana colleagues, a change pathway was developed using the Impact Playbook method. A framework has been put in place for future data collection that includes a registration survey, revised post-presidency event surveys, and a follow-up for event attendees, which must be broadcast at least six months after the event.
We wanted to test the Croatian Presidency event as the first event where we start monitoring the social demographics of the event attendees when the event is registered. We created four questions that can be used to measure the diversity of event attendees: age, gender, country they represent, and disability.
The events consisted of invited participants, most of whom had previously attended Europeana events. Although the level of practical awareness of the Europeana framework varied slightly, this is not unexpected for an event that will be attended by both high-level policy-makers and experts from other fields.
The strategic nature of the event was an influencing motivation for the participants and most of the participants report that they contributed (and thus developed) the discussion on the policy area as a driver for their participation.
The event appeared to satisfy all cohorts (a combined satisfaction rating of 7+ out of 10 across the topics we examined). While the network development was not a big driver for the participants, all but one respondent stated that they would make new contacts, while two stated that they were consolidating their existing network. In the future, we should examine more closely – and appreciate – the possibility for participants to consolidate and strengthen their networks at events, especially if the guests are more familiar (e.g. political decision-makers or members of the digital cultural heritage expert) [DCHE] Group).
Limitations due to COVID-19
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we asked to send a follow-up questionnaire to attendees at the 2019 Presidency events, our impact assessment plan had to change. It was deemed inappropriate to place an additional burden on attendees at the 2019 presidential events, as it is likely that their attention will be needed elsewhere in the first few months of the crisis. A similar approach has been followed in other evaluations. For this reason, this report does not contain the intended longer term perspective that we hoped for.
A framework was put in place to support impact assessment for future Presidency events, including the development of indicators and question types for future registration, post-workshop questionnaires and follow-up questionnaires for participants. This should be embedded for future Presidency events.
Validation and next steps
The development of this framework has contributed to the general development of questions to monitor demographics and diversity of attendees, the creation of a standardized question bank, and the standardization of the processes for collecting data from event attendees.
This report has been validated internally within the Europeana Foundation. Future reports on the impact of presidential events will be externally validated.
You can download and read the full report from the link below.