Cultural Heritage Innovation Labs in Africa

2019-08-20T09:11:03Z (GMT) by Milena Dobreva Fidelity Phiri
Innovation Labs in cultural heritage institutions emerged in the last years as specialized units which help researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, innovators and any interested citizens and communities to use digital collections in innovative ways. These labs answer two major needs, helping discovery in vast digital collections, and applying new analytic/visualization tools by a wider user base, a process which stirs creative use and reuse of collections and innovation.

Most active innovation labs are located in Europe and North America.

This dataset was compiled using published reports on innovation labs and internet sources from the public domain between May 2019 and July 2019 by Fidelity Phiri, a visiting researcher at UCL Qatar for projects coordinated by Dr Milena Dobreva. The dataset helps to understand the cultural heritage innovation labs landscape in Africa. While at the time of publishing (20 August 2020) there are no active innovation labs in cultural heritage institutions, one library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt) and one museum (Livingstone museum, Zambia) are planning to open such labs.

Within this specific setting, the research on Africa aimed to identify stakeholders which can support the setting of innovation labs in cultural heritage institutions. Innovation centres, business incubators and fablabs can play such a role. The rationale for including these institutions is that they could be instrumental for setting up cultural heritage labs on a continent where more work is needed to overcome the digital divide.