Nordplus is the Nordic Council of Ministers’ collaborative programme that fosters the cooperation and exchange in the area of lifelong learning and training in the Baltic and Nordic region. To address the current regional needs, every second year Nordplus introduces a new thematic focus for the application call. The highlight of the 2019-2020 round was placed on the advancement of digital competence and computational thinking in the region. According to the recent Nordplus news release, this year 500 applications were submitted with a total budget of € 21.532.072 – more than double the overall available Nordplus funding. As a result, only 362 applications were proposed for funding (47% success rate), including the collaborative development project “DigMus: Empowering Museum Professionals with Digital Skills” within the framework of Nordplus Adult.

The abbreviation DigMus stands for a DIGital MUSeum and aims to provide digital skills for museum professionals in the Baltic and Nordic region. The past decade has witnessed an increasing digital shift, and there has been a growing demand for information about the digitisation of, access to, and the preservation of museum collections. Drawing on this perspective, museums have amassed substantial digital content, but its potential in fostering education, research, and visitor engagement has not been fully exploited. 

To incorporate and harness burgeoning digital collections in new and various ways, museum professionals require digital literacy skills and a different mindset to work with digitally-born artefacts. Empowering museum professionals with digital skills will advance museums in their function as institutions of education and research, thereby promoting innovation and sustainability in developing and maintaining digital facets and as well as accommodating the needs of the evolving digital society. Through the collaboration of universities, museums and government institutions, the project promotes sustainable partnerships, based on the research-based knowledge from the Baltic and Nordic development of new guidance tools for museum professionals.

The idea of the project was proposed by Nadzeya Charapan (Uppsala University, Department of ALM) and developed in collaboration with the expert team from the Estonian National Heritage Board, County Museum of Gävleborg, Lithuanian Art Museum, Lithuanian Integral Museum Information System and Vilnius University (Faculty of Communication). The partners see a need to cooperate across the Baltic and Nordic region in order to collect expert knowledge, know-how, best practices and the development of training materials through analysis, comparison and reflection.

In addition to the main agenda, during the two-year duration project the consortium aims to build and develop a professional network that spans over educational and cultural sectors which are connected with researchers and policymakers as well as practitioners from museums and cultural heritage institutions across Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania. 

As Nadzeya Charapan, a project coordinator, says: “We target to not only benchmark and share the existing gap in digital skills and competences, but also bridge the gap between theory and practice in the cultural sector, create practical value through professional lifelong training and foster synergy from the participating institutions”.

The project will start in September 2020, the updates will be communicated through an upcoming website and on social media.