Culture Vortex is an innovation program to encourage public participation in online cultural collections.

In the public and cultural sectors, collection holders have raised questions concerning the online distribution of creative material. Until the present moment, research and funding programs have focused mainly on the digitalization and licensing of large collections. On the side of the institution, the professional is wondering: How do I involve the audience in my online collections? And how do I inform the artists about the possibilities of sharing their works online? On the other side, artists are unsure about the added value of offering their works online.

The main question this Culture Vortex study seeks to answer is therefore:
How can an active audience be involved in online cultural material and an elaborate network culture be facilitated, in which participants will share, describe, review, tag, reuse or otherwise interact with the cultural works?

Three research questions can be formulated:
– What is the surplus value of online distribution of creative works and what are new distribution and income models for online distribution? (question raised by the professional artist and the collection holder)
– How can an audience be developed into an elaborate network culture, encompassing audiovisual collections and public institutions? (question raised by the collection holder)
– How can young professionals prepare for a media landscape in which works are shared and actively distributed online? (question raised by an HBO teacher/ teacher)

The RAAK program Culture Vortex aims to collaborate with professionals from the public, cultural and educational sectors to create an environment in which expertise on online collections and user cultures can be further developed and the above mentioned questions can be answered.
In 2008, the Institute of Network Cultures at Hogeschool Rotterdam, department of Interactive Media, initiated Video Vortex, a research program on the use of online video by artists, activist and the cultural sector. This resulted in a research network and conferences in Amsterdam, Brussels, Ankara, Split as well as the publishing of the Video Vortex Reader. Several years previous, in 2005, the Institute launched a research program on the use of the moving image in the public realm: Urban Screens. This brought forth a vibrant research network – now established within the Urban Screens Association, conferences in Amsterdam, Manchester and Melbourne and the Urban Screens Reader, published in December 2009.
Parties represented in the Culture Vortex program include professionals from public and cultural institutions, professionals from HBO (higher vocational) education, knowledge institutions and professional artists.

The RAAK program Culture Vortex focuses on three areas:
1. Network Cultures: The RAAK program aims to focus on supporting professionals in cultural and public organizations holding collections, who strive to facilitate their audiences in sharing, describing, reviewing, tagging or otherwise interacting with (parts of) those collections.
2. Public 2.0. User research: The RAAK program Culture Vortex aims to support professional artists in the online distribution of their works. Many artists and collection holders have a need for more knowledge about legal issues, the possibilities of online distribution and new income models.
3. The Digital Public Sphere: Finally, online cultural material is a rich source of information for research and education in the domains of new media, digital culture and design. The emphasis is on HBO (higher vocational) education and applied research within those institutions, since the focus is on current and future professionals.

These focus points have initiated three programs of the same name, further developed into projects. Each project has a coordinator from the consortium and several contributors from the collective of consortium members and program participants. To stimulate a circulation of knowledge within and between the various parties in the program, a so-called ‘Community of Practice’ will be established as the fundamental platform supporting the RAAK Culture Vortex program.

This Community of Practice will maintain after the Culture Vortex program and is therefore expressly also accessible to people not participating in the RAAK program.

Hogeschool van Amsterdam – Domein Media, Creatie en Informatie, HvA Interactieve Media

Program Leader:
HvA Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur

HvA Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur en MediaLAB Amsterdam, Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid, Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, Virtueel Platform, VPRO

Program Participants:
Amsterdam Stadsarchief, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, IDFA, Video Vortex netwerk en Urban Screens Association