VAST partner Marco Berni, Museo Galileo – Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, presented the paper Advanced Digitization for the Promotion of the Moral Values Underlying the European Union in the EVA 2021 Florence (Electronic Imaging & the Visual Arts), which was held online on 14 June 2021.

The paper was created by the Museo Galileo – Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza team which consists of Marco Berni, Natacha Fabbri, Elena Fani, Carmen Gagliardi and Sofia Sasopoulou and focuses on the VAST project that will contribute to the promotion of the moral values that the European Union shares with its members from the beginning of its history along with its cultural heritage, using advanced digitisation, based on three distinct time periods of the past. Also the Museo Galileo will combine a storytelling platform with crowdsourcing, facilitating the platform’s users to create their stories and re-use the provided contents, disseminating these moral values.


The first VAST research survey was conducted in the beginning of June around the past of values in Ancient Drama, one of the VAST pilots.


The audience was consisted of both specialised and general public and the quantitative method that is used is a questionnaire that was created by the partner National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and more specifically by Emeritus Professor Theodore Grammatas and his team.

The registered participants, 105 in total, were invited to watch online the Greek Tragedy Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus, directed by Cezaris Graužinis, a production staged by the National Theatre of Northern Greece and subsequently to fill in the questionnaire.

The survey aims to identify, capture and study the values ​​of European culture (e.g. freedom, democracy, human dignity, human rights, etc.) as they were formed across time from Ancient Greece until today. Additionally, the survey seeks to highlight the way in which these values ​​shaped modern European culture, to detect, identify and study how these values ​​are perceived by specialised and the general public through relevant programmes and to create a relevant data repository that will be available to the research community for further research.


The University of Milan (UMIL) is the largest University in Lombardy and one of the most dynamic and internationally-oriented EU regions, with a teaching staff of about 2.200 tenured professors and with almost 60.000 students. Established in 1924, its mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of teaching/education and research at the highest international levels of excellence. It is the only Italian member amongst the 23 prestigious Universities of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The University of Milan offers several study programmes covering three macro-disciplinary areas: i) Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, ii) Medicine and Healthcare and iii) Natural Sciences. In addition to its excellent level of Education provision, the University of Milan has an established reputation as one of the institutions most strongly committed to basic and applied Research in Europe.

The University of Milan joins the VAST project with a multi-disciplinary research team from the Computer Science and Historical Studies departments and leads WP5 Quality assurance: Pilot design, evaluation and assessment. Dr Stefano Montanelli is the lead person responsible for UMIL, while Dr Alfio Ferrara is the technical manager of the VAST project and Dr Giulia Giannini is promoting and leading the Values in Scientific Revolution texts pilot activities in WP2 Research: Researching Values across Space and Time. The goal of UMIL is to coordinate the design and development of the VAST pilots to ensure a uniform and coherent application of the VAST methodology. Quality assurance actions will be applied and coordinated by UMIL to ensure monitoring, analysis, and evaluation of the pilot impacts. UMIL brings in VAST expertise on Computational Humanities Research with particular emphasis on historical content digitisation, knowledge modelling for humanities, and collaborative content creation. UMIL provides technical contribution to the design of the VAST architecture where the team is responsible for semantic annotation services on historical sources with the aim of supporting the creation of the VAST knowledge base.

UMIL is primarily involved in the design of the VAST ontology where the annotation-driven knowledge about values is expressed in a semantic-web formalism to represent the emerging interpretations and transformations of values across places (space) and historical periods (time). In particular, the UMIL team focuses on the pilot about the Values in Scientific Revolution texts. UMIL aims to investigate how natural philosophers of the 17th century perceived moral values, how values were transformed and reinvented, and how they reconstructed a new image of the self and the world in the early modern period. The Team is also involved in promoting educational programmes and further events such as talks, debates, and museum nights. By leveraging on the expertise about crowdsourcing and storytelling, UMIL aims to involve educators, students, and museum visitors in general, to share their view about the values of the Scientific Revolution in today’s society.

Semantika is an innovative software development company based in Maribor, Slovenia with experience in Software Development, Web Solutions, Mobile and Multi-Touch Applications, specialising in high security and data intensive applications. Semantika is primarily active in the area of research and development of advanced software solutions, especially for the cultural heritage sector, including two in-house developed products:

  • Galis – a collection management system, used by more than 70 institutions in three countries and
  • Dynamic Data Development Platform, which enables us to quickly deliver custom build data intensive software for a wide variety of clients, which is currently used in a range of sectors.

Semantika’s team is also the author of MUSEUMS.EU – the largest portal for museums and galleries across Europe. This vast resource features hundreds of thousands of records, from collections and objects to exhibitions and events.

Semantika also has a registered research department that develops innovative algorithms in the area of data analytics and reporting and collaborates with the development team in all bigger projects with larger amounts of data that need to be analysed using modern artificial intelligence supported methods.

In the VAST project, Marko Kokol is the leading person responsible for the WP3: Develop and integrate – The VAST advanced digitisation platform. Semantika’s team will provide products, technologies, and tools to support the creation of the VAST platform, having the opportunity to test their commercial offerings and enhance them with new capabilities, as needed to support VAST requirements. In addition, Semantika will lead the commercialisation activities of the VAST platform, and contribute to its sustainability in close cooperation with the VAST consortium.

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) is a public University located in Athens, Greece. Inaugurated in 1837, it has been the first University in the newly established Modern Greek state, as well as in the Balkan and the Eastern Mediterranean area. Its role has been historically and socially decisive for education and promotion of cultural life in the country and beyond. The NKUA has 5 University Research Institutes, 3 University Hospitals, 70 Clinics and Departments under the auspices of the School of Health Sciences, 224 University Laboratories, 11 libraries, the History Museum of the University, the Historical Archive, and 13 thematic museums. For the academic year 2019-20, the NKUA offers 42 undergraduate programs as well as 188 postgraduate programs leading to a Master’s or a Doctoral degree. NKUA is not only an Institution dedicated to education but is also a research-intensive University.

Emeritus Professor Theodore Grammatas, Department of Primary Education of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, is the lead person responsible for the WP1 Co-design: Multi-disciplinary scientific methodology for advanced digitisation.

Within the frame of the VAST Programme NKUA’s team develops the methodological frame of the research, the way of the analysis of the Ancient Drama plays (Tragedies and Comedies), and takes care of the creation of the questionnaire for the pilot study of an Ancient Tragedy theatre performance and its reception and mnemonic recording in the conscience of the modern audience. The aim of the program he is scientifically editing is to give prominence to the timelessness and timeliness of the values and ideas of the Ancient Greek Drama and Theatre, as well as their reception and exploitation by the spectators of these performances within the context of the modern world.

Apart from the analysis of the Ancient Greek Drama plays and the questionnaire for the reception of the theatre performance, the research is extended to the exploitation of the qualitative and quantitative data that will emerge by the audience research, as well as the interviews with the creators and artistic contributors, such as directors, actors, visual artists and so on. An overall picture of the Past and the Present of the Ancient Greek Drama and Theatre Values that signify the orientation and enhancement of the Modern European and Global culture as a whole is expected to emerge through the result analysis.

The Fairy Tale Museum (FTM), the VAST partner located in Cyprus, offers youngsters and adults an interactive journey in the world of culture and tradition through fairy tales, myths and legends. FTM aims at preserving, promoting and disseminating cultural heritage that includes fairy tales, folklore tales, myths and traditions from Cyprus and Greece, fostering the universality of fairy tales, familiarising with other cultures through their fairy tales and enhancing the love for reading. The Museum offers educational programmes and workshops for schools, families and children and organises themed exhibitions, storytelling events and featured events for authors and illustrators.

Mrs Vicky Balomenou is leading the FTM team in the VAST project, which will principally act as one of the pilot partners undertaking the responsibility for the collection, digitisation and analysis of the experiences of the museum’s visitors through the educational programme which will be developed and will run at the Museum. The predominant goal of the educational programme is to allow the consortium to assess, through self-reported questionnaires and interviews, the understanding of the visitors on the different values (e.g., democracy, equality, justice, friendship) presented in the stories of the programme and also to understand the visitors’ views on how these values are transmuted into their daily life on a personal and societal level. For the purposes of the educational programme pilot, the Museum will engage a wide range of visitors aiming at achieving a demographically represented sample of parents, students and the general public. In order for the educational programme to run smoothly and successfully in all pilot partners, FTM will lead the training of all the piloting organisations’ personnel covering various aspects, such as their familiarisation with the tools of the project along with the guidelines for distributing, collecting and transcribing questionnaires for the visitors. The partner is involved in these work packages: WP1, WP2, WP4, WP5, WP6 and WP7.

Museo Galileo (IMSS), situated in the heart of Florence, Italy, is one of the leading international institutions in the History of Science. Founded in 1927, the museum is heir to a five century-long tradition of scientific collecting, started by the Medici and carried on by the Lorraine families. It preserves more than 5.000 items dated mostly from 15th to 19th century, about 1.000 of which are on permanent exhibit in the 18 rooms currently open to the public. The premises also host a specialised library that houses about 170.000 works concerning the history of science. The antique book collection, consisting of nearly 5.000 works, is supplemented by several 19th – 20th century editions as well as a contemporary collection, which has an annual growth of hundreds of new acquisitions. About 6.000 works of historical scientific interest, most of them rare and hard to find, have been published on the museum’s Digital Library. Museo Galileo has participated in several FP5, FP6, FP7, H2020 and Erasmus+ projects and contributed to Europeana and Google Cultural Institute portal.

In VAST project, Dr Marco Berni is the leading person responsible for the WP4 Co-Create & Digitise: Continuous co-creation to provide cultural, socio-historical and experiential context. Among the IMSS team’s tasks, the museum will implement educational activities as part of the VAST pilot named Values in 17th century books of natural philosophy and utopian thought. The scope is to trace if the past’s values, inherent in the scientific instruments and texts, still exist nowadays and make comparisons with reference to the popular existing image of science. Public views on these values and their meaning’s evolution will be aggregated and digitised through different monitoring processes. Remote learning activities and in-person visits will benefit from engaging multimedia resources, model reconstruction kits and captivating activities carried out by personnel in costume. In particular, Museo Galileo’s work will focus on the early modern idea of the discovery of new lands and new earths in the sky, the 17th century lunar travels and utopian thought, as well as the emergence of the concept of tolerance and equality in scientific writings, based on three main sources: scientific instruments preserved in the permanent exhibition, texts, and visual materials (i.e. engravings, maps, paintings).

Our project VAST (Values Across Space and Time) is now showcased on the Community Research and Development Information Service website (CORDIS).

CORDIS is the European Commission’s primary source of results from the projects funded by the EU’s framework programmes for research and innovation (from FP1 to Horizon 2020).

You can read it here:


The VAST project participated in the first cluster meeting of the sibling projects, which were funded by the European Union under the same call DT TRANSFORMATIONS-12: Curation of digital assets and advanced digitisation.

The workshop which took place virtually on Wednesday 10 February was headed by Project Officers from DG Connect and DG REA brought all sibling projects together for the first time aiming for an initial exchange of ideas to explore collaboration opportunities.  Projects VAST, INTAVIA, MINGEI, ODEUROPA, POLIFONIA, VHH presented themselves aiming to achieve a better understanding of each project’s objectives, activities to enhance visibility, synergies so as to achieve higher impact and gain better results.

Capture from the first cluster meeting of the sibling projects under the DT TRANSFORMATIONS-12 topic.

More specifically, the six projects presented their profiles and provided more information regarding their goals throughout their term and at the same time, they highlighted their commonalities and identified common ground for future collaborations between them.

Capture from the presentation of VAST project coordinator Dr. George Petasis.

In December 2020, a new H2020 European research project named VAST kicked off. The acronym VAST stands for Values Across Space and Time and will study the transformation of the fundamental moral values of the European Union, across space and time. An emphasis will be placed on those values considered fundamental for the formation of sustainable communities and enabling citizens to live well together, such as freedom, democracy, equality, tolerance, dialogue, human dignity, and the rule of law.

The project envisions to bring European values to the forefront by using cutting edge technologies to create a digital platform and a knowledge base which will include narratives from three areas: Theater (focusing on ancient Greek Drama), Science (focusing on Scientific Revolution and natural-philosophy documents of the 17th century) and European Folktales (focusing on folktales/fairytales).

Through advanced techniques and digital tools, researchers will study how the meaning of specific values has been expressed, transformed, and appropriated through time, going back to the stories that helped shape part of the European culture. VAST will examine narratives and user experiences that represent significant moments of European culture and history such as the classical period, and the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, when the conceptual, methodological and institutional foundations of modern science were first established, to the modern era.

To track European values through space and time, to enable the comprehensive understanding of the evolution of these values, and to study how these values are appropriated by audiences, partners will be employing methodologies and tools such as content analysis, interviews, questionnaires and other material found in press or online, theatrical plays, stories and narratives in video, oral or written forms. The community which will provide this content varies from scholars, researchers, and practitioners to a wider audience, such as artists, curators and storytelling experts, spectators, museum visitors, students, as well as the general public. VAST aims to digitise and preserve stories, findings and experiences as intangible assets linked to iconic/significant theatrical reproductions, and museum educational programs and exhibits, consolidating digital artefacts and providing additional context for analysis and semantic evaluation of digital assets and resources of cultural heritage.

The VAST project is an international collaboration between eight partners from five countries: the National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos (Greece), Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), Universidade NOVA de Lisboa – NOVA (Portugal), Fairytale Museum (Cyprus), Semantika (Slovenia), Museo Galileo (Italy) and the Athens & Epidaurus Festival (Greece).

This digitisation and preservation of the European cultural heritage, enhances the understanding of our cultural history, a key driver for the economic, social, environmental growth and sustainable development.