European Mobile Storytelling
EU Grant Programme Initiative
€250M EU funding Programme for preservation, study and promotion of
European cultural heritage through the emerging storytelling market

1. What is it about?
The EuroStory Programme addresses the policy applied by the European Commission when supporting attempts of cultural & heritage projects to leverage on the evolving mobile technologies.

Smartphones nowadays are technically capable to tell stories wherever we go: in streets, museums, parks and even highways. On this assumption, hundreds of projects were funded in order to develop the apps and technologies which could make it happen.

But after a decade of substantial public investments in mobile technologies, storytelling is still far from being ubiquitous.

In the meantime private businesses have successfully launched open platforms and apps which make stories accessible to everyone, for free. Despite that, smartphones are still not used much in museums, archaeological sites and, in general, in the cultural heritage scene.
How comes?

Our guess is that, although cultural institutions have all valuable information, the efforts of transforming it into high quality stories is rather high. Just think about the power of great movies or books. The experience the visitor gets in the museum or at the historical site should deliver similar inspiration. And that requires resources.

We believe it's time to actively support storytelling instead of technologies, which already available.


2. What is our goal?
We – the EuroStory Initiative Group – want to populate the whole Europe with great stories, accessible at every corner, in every language and via any app, chosen by the traveler. It could be a smart phone, or a car navigation system, they all get access to stories via open storytelling platforms, similar to the way we access video via the Youtube platform.

The developments in other industries will benefit as well. E.g. autonomous cars will need new ways of entertaining for passengers, and geo-located audio stories will perfectly meet this need.

We will leverage on the fact that the channels to deliver these stories already exist: open platforms and free mobile apps, as well as existing museum apps. With this strategy we will request public funds to nurture the amount and the quality of the storytelling content, rather than developing clone apps. Unlike technologies, stories do stand the test of time and live for decades; in the same way as music has outlived each and every system: from vinyl records to MP3 players and cloud technologies. This longevity makes stories sustainable and justifies long-term investments by the EU public funds.
We believe that an investment of €250M makes it is possible to cover the majority of the museums, roads and cities in Europe, with stories in 10-15 languages.

This will change the way people travel and learn.

The cultural & heritage world will be able to bring the value of stories to the tourism and transport industry, which, in return, will bring billions of travellers to museums, archaeological and historical sites. Museums, storytellers, hotels, car navigation systems, agro-farms, GSM operators, tour operators, cruise ships, universities, regional promotion agencies, all of them would then be able to join forces and leverage on the millions of stories the EuroStory Programme will deliver.

This will give rise to thousands of local storytelling businesses, specialised in transforming the information cultural institutes keep on their shelves, into amazing quality stories.

The European Commission has proposed 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. It is a perfect time to join the forces and come up with the EuroStory Petition.
3. What results do we expect?
When implemented, the EuroStory Programme will bring the following changes:
  • It will provide global access to the European Cultural Heritage through storytelling.
  • With millions of stories created, European market will attract more storytelling platforms, increasing the quality of products via competition
  • Travellers will be engaged into continuous educational process
  • It will change the way people travel, as smartphones will "tell" stories everywhere – in cars, trains, streets, museums etc – and attract travelers to new adventures
  • It will bring to life thousands of small storytelling businesses, providing new jobs in the cultural and heritage sector of Europe
  • European citizens, guests and refugees will better understand European history and values, fostering integration and mutual respect.
  • Europe will strengthen its unique and very competitive position in the global travel market
  • It will foster crowdsourcing, as millions of travellers will also start to add and share their own stories
  • European museums will develop new forms of co-operations with the tourism industry
  • The Programme of this scale will attract matching funding from corporate sector
4. What will the Programme do?
The Programme will invest €250M into numerous projects, with the aim to develop a vast amount of stories for European museums, roads and destinations. Stories will be delivered in 10-15 languages and will cover:
  • 120,000 km of European highways and 350,000 km of scenic roads
  • 50 top European cities (~100 guided tours and ~20 museums per city), supported with powerful promotion via Tourist Info Offices, hotels, etc.
  • 500 smaller European towns with less amount of stories and promotion
The Programme will also include the support of educational and research programs.
These projects will be implemented with help of EuroStory grants by consortiums of stakeholders, operating in the cultural sector and travel industry.
The scope of the EuroStory Programme will be further developed in open collaboration with professionals representing different public and private interests, co-ordinated by the Initiative Group.
5. How can you contribute?
You can contribute in two ways:
1. You can answer 5 questions HERE expressing your opinion on the mobile projects which you have participated in or witnessed.

2. If you want to take an active role, please join the Initiative Group, and help us develop the Programme further! We are currently working on the Petition for the European Commission, to collect signatures to initiate the Programme. Please write an email to info@eurostory.org
Please feel free to share this initiative with your colleagues and the professionals you know.
6. Who is behind it?
The project is initiated and supported by the unpaid efforts of the Initiative Group members, which includes representatives operating within the European cultural heritage and travel markets, who believe in the potential of European Mobile Storytelling:
Museums:
  • Marijke Oosterbroek, Amsterdam Museum, Netherlands
  • Carina Jaatinen, Espoo City Museum, Finland
  • Catherine Le Berre from Museum of Air and Space, Paris, France
Mobile technology providers:
  • Alex Tourski, izi.TRAVEL, Netherlands
  • Bechara Yared, RSF, Belgium
Universities:
  • Franco Niccolucci, University of Florence, Italy
  • Ruben Smit, Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • George Cassar, University of Malta
Tourist authorities:
  • Milou Aarts, VVV Gooi & Vecht, Netherlands
  • Olivier Levefre, Federation of Tourism, Luxembourg
7. What will happen next?
By the end of 2016, we will take the following steps:

  • Announce the Programme during several professional conferences and gatherings, in order to get support and recruit new members of the Initiative Group
  • Adjust and complete the Programme concept, as well as the Petition for the European Commission
  • Initiate the collection of signatures of Cultural & Heritage and Travel & Transportation professionals to support the Petition
  • Contact European funding bodies: EC Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (Horizon2020), EUROSTARS-EUREKA Programme and others

From the beginning of 2017, we aim at having a stable dialogue and cooperation with these funding parties in order to get the official support and acceptance of the EuroStory Programthe EuroStory Program.
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