Posted on 05 December 2019
One of the training sessions held at the Historical Archives of the European Union during the EDC conference
The Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute co-hosted the largest conference ever for the network of European Documentation Centres (EDC). It is the first time in several years that the conference has attracted so many members from all corners of the European Union. 250 participants took part in the event, some of which took place in Villa Salviati, home to the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) at the EUI.
The aim of the meeting is to strengthen the ties between the centres, with a particular focus on collaborating with the academic community and other organisations, engaging more actively in outreach activities. The day’s talks also focused on cooperation between academics and archivists in the same institution, international cooperation among centres and efforts to maximise outreach.
During the opening evening, EUI Secretary General Vincenzo Grassi stated that participants were united by ‘a common goal: to prove that documentation centres are not just dust and paper, but the living memory of European integration’.
Alessandro Giordani, Head of Unit, Local Networks in the Member States Unit, Directorate-General for Communication at the European Commission, said the event is an important reaction to the ‘ambitious programme’ established by the new European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen.
The European Commission is urging European Documentation Centres to focus on outreach and engage academics into debates in public life. Academic engagement will be key in the discussion surrounding fundamental new policies, such as the Green New Deal. The plan also emphasises how European policies have an impact on citizens’ everyday life. These new initiatives expand the current role of the European Documentation Centres, whose work has mainly revolved around the compiling, preserving and disseminating of material.
The Historical Archives also presented an upcoming exhibition project on the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which paved the way to the founding Treaty of the European Community for Coal and Steel. The itinerant exhibition will be produced from the numerous collections of written and audio-visual material of the Archives and displayed in EDCs across Europe in 2020.
Dieter Schlenker, Director of the Historical Archives at the European University Institute, said the Historical Archives and the EUI library together provide a unique resource for research on all facets of European integration.
A second day of events took place on the 3rd of December in Florence’s Palazzo dei Congressi.