General Partner Meeting EHRI 2018
On Wednesday 27 June, EHRI held its annual General Partner Meeting, an event where almost everyone who is involved in EHRI gets together for a whole day of presentations and discussions. Every year the meeting is hosted by one of EHRI’s 24 partner institutions, and this time the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, opened its doors to the consortium. Over sixty attendees from 17 countries were welcomed by Kamile Rupeikaite, director a.d. of the Vilna Gaon Museum.
After the meeting was opened by project director Conny Kristel, the first part was dedicated to an update on the state of the project: Management, sustainability and our core business, such as data integration,the EHRI Portal,dissemination
and training. This was followed by a session on EHRI’s more recent new departures: The interactive Online Course in Holocaust Studies and EHRI Online Editions, which involves tools for publication of digitised archival material within the EHRI infrastructure, together with guidelines and examples of good practice. The Online Course is already fully booked for the year to come, but plans for expanding in the future were discussed. Meanwhile, participants were treated to a first preview of the online editions which are still a work in progress. The editions will go live within the EHRI infrastructure very soon.
Future of the project
The future of the EHRI project, whose second phase will come to an end in 2019, ran like a thread throughout the day. How and in what form can we sustain what we achieved? What are the plans for the future? The second part of the General Partner Meeting was therefore devoted to interactive sessions, where three groups, each led by a chair, brainstormed about activities EHRI should undertake in a new phase of the project. The interactive sessions were preceded by “A short history of EHRI”. Members of the Executive Team, all involved from the start of EHRI in 2010, gave their account of what had motivated the foundation of EHRI at the time. This introduction paved the way for lively discussions within the three groups and many ideas on how EHRI could develop and sustain in a new phase. Again the sessions also showed the high engagement level of all involved in EHRI. At the end all chairs shared the outcomes of their session with the consortium in short presentations.
The General Partner Meeting of 2018 ended with closing remarks by the deputy project director, Reto Speck, and a general sense of optimism for EHRI’s future. To the delight of the consortium, this optimism was rewarded only two days later, when it was announced that EHRI was adopted on the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) roadmap, which means that EHRI can transform itself into a long-term organisation and a more permanent home for the transnational integration of Holocaust research and archives.
Read more on EHRI and the ESFRI Roadmap
Images: Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum