Hack Your Photo Heritage


We ask developers to hack the massive photographic heritage content on Europeana, E-Space and other public repositories to mash them up with user-generated smartphone photos and stories, creating a new environment to experience our cultural past, using apps, websites and virtual environments.


25, 26 and 27 February 2016

FabLab, Celestijnenlaan 300, 3001 Heverlee


Photographers in Valle di Pompei, Italy, 1965 Erich Andres
Photographers in action. Valle di Pompei, Italy, 1965.
Erich Andres

A 3-day event targeting developers, cultural heritage professionals, designers, creative entrepreneurs, photographers and photo-amateurs. Learn how to tap the power of huge resources such as Europeana and Europeana Space, Flickr Commons and MediaWiki to build innovative apps re-using photographic heritage. Mix images from the past with smartphone selfies. Connect old and new generations by making apps bridging centuries. Develop web environments for teachers, educators and museum curators to bring true public access to photographic cultural heritage. Learn how to convert photo imagery to 3D-prints and new materials.

It’s all about telling stories, tapping into emotions and exploring new business models involving photography.

New opportunities for the creative industries

During the Hackathon developers will have access to the vast public photographic heritage now available on resources such as Europeana (see the API’s at Europeana Labs), Wikipedia and Flickr, while at the same time having access through the Europeana Space API’s to copyright protected content to experiment with. Through the WITH environment API, users can login and user data can be stored together with the data from other sources. Also, The Blinkster app will be available and the JPSearch API.

At the FABLAB KU Leuven, 3D-printers, laser cutters and a small joinery will be available for use.

The value of open access and open source

The hackathon is made possible by the Open Access policies of sources such as Europeana, which are so important to develop new business models in GLAM.  We will of course tap on the availability of Open source software; foreground code developed for the Hackathon is also to be licensed as  Open source. Of course proprietary background could be used and the IP of the developers will be protected.


DSC01916Any app or website that uses photographic heritage in a technologically innovative way can qualify, as long as it integrates an clear concept of a business model. We are looking mainly to the business innovation aspect, and the way the project enables new Intellectual Property generation while coping with existing IP. The focus is on the project’s potential applications rather than the content used. The jury looks at several aspects of each concept:

  • Relevance and value to the cultural heritage Sector. Does the proposition offer a new application or perspective on the use of the digitized (photographic) cultural heritage content and/or the services made available by Europeana and similar repositories? Does the proposition use, re-use, or facilitate the use or re-use of digitalized cultural heritage material? It is important to remember that these projects are not only confined to the museum space. Participants are free to choose their own field for exploration.
  • Business potential & job creation objective. Does the proposition hold a strong position against current and likely competitors? What is the composition and size of target market(s) for this proposition?
  • Likelihood of success. How likely is the proposition to be adopted by users? Does the team have the skills and capacity to successfully accomplish and launch a new business concept?
  • Innovation & quality & uniqueness. How innovative, new, or original is the idea?  (New technology, original approach, potential uptake by target users) What is the quality of the concept? (Form, function, aim)
  • Antonella Fresa
  • Simon Cronshaw
  • John Balean
  • Jan Baetens
  • Fred Truyen


Hackathon: Thursday February 25 – Saturday February 27, FabLab, Celestijnenlaan 300, 3001 Heverlee.

  • Day 1:
    • 14:30 Registration and coffee
    • 15:00 Introduction to E-Space by Antonella Fresa
    • 15:15 The Photography pilot  and the goals of the Hackathon by Fred Truyen (Demonstrators, Practical organization, jury, judging criteria)
    • 15:45 Introduction to the toolkits, hardware and FabLab infrastructure (Frederik: JPSearch and hardware, Roxanne/Naeem on the WITH API, Marc on FabLab Infrastructure)
    • 16:15 Demonstrations, Meet & greet opportunity, formation of teams
    • 18:00 to 19:00 Drinks & Bites
    • 19:00 to 20:00 Inspiring Ideas with the following speakers:
      • Simon Cronshaw (REMIX Summits) – Business Modelling Workshop
      • Frederik Temmerman (iMinds)- Photographic investigation of Artworks
      • Jan Baetens (KULeuven) – Learning from Kenneth Goldsmith?
      • Yannick H’Madoun (Open Knowledge Foundation) – Creative Commons
      • Fred Truyen (KULeuven) – All Our Yesterdays
      • Yannick H’Madoun (Open Knowledge Foundation) – Creative Commons
      • Ides Bauwens (Nazka Mapps) – Nostalgeo
      • Stefano Caneva and Derek Gireoulle (Wikimedia Belgium) – GLAMwiki, Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Art
  • Day 2:
    • 10:00 to 20:00 Work Session in the FabLab
  • Day 3:
    • 10:00 to 16:00 Work Session
    • 16:00 to 18:00 Final Pitches & Award Ceremony
    • 18:00 to 19:30 Drinks & Bites


The 3 best concepts will win a trip to London for the Business Modelling Workshop. The BMW will generate a single winner who will be introduced to the incubation phase by Remix.


Register here to participate to the Hackathon. You can register as an individual, create a team or join an existing team.

Images courtesy of Fred Truyen and United Archives.