Future heritage and heritage futures. An exploration about meanings of digital cultural heritage


The research aims to investigate the role digital archives of cultural heritage can play for design, and to understand the reverse relationship: how design culture can foster the activation of archives to stimulate the production processes of new cultural expressions by other creative industries. The study was conducted with the help of a specific case study: the Europeana platform, the multi-thematic aggregator of European cultural heritage.

Heritage is a term with an extended meaning, whose value is mainly rooted in its use and in the capacity it can have to generate new culture: protection is no longer identifiable in the protection of the object itself, but of the process that allows its creation. We are therefore faced with an endiad in which consumption and production of culture are part of the same process that is historically fluid.
The advent of the digital has brought about intense changes in archival science, which has been faced with a substantial mutation of functions and purpose: archives are no longer places of passive preservation, but on the contrary, they become containers of information ready to be activated to support the creation of new cultural productions.

This research investigates the relationship and contamination that has always existed between the culture of the past and contemporary creativity, to explore the 'future of heritage' and the 'heritage of the future'.


Margherita TUFARELLI

Doctorate type


Year of completion


Case study type

Impact case study

Institution details

DIDA – Department of Architecture

Design ICAR/13