Cultural Heritage & Innovation Center
Welcome to the EPFL Cultural Heritage & Innovation Center
Known as “Metamedia Center” from 2010 to 2020, the principal objectives of the team are twofold:
1. Digitize and preserve audiovisual collections and heritages of major importance in Switzerland or all accross the world.
2. Enrich and add value to such collections, organizing research and innovation projects with EPFL laboratories, start-ups, and partners.
When digitized, the collections are turned into Research Infrastructures. They become a unique material in education and research, available as a playground to the students and to the innovation communities at EPFL and all around the world.
The EPFL Cultural Heritage & Innovation Center has been in charge of the Montreux Jazz Digital Project since 2010. This project aims to preserve and add value to the famous collection of concert recordings from the Montreux Jazz Festival. Made up of a trans-disciplinary team integrating competences in several fields such as audio/video engineering, software development, databases, archiving, documentation, musicology and sociology, the centre directs the operational aspects of the project (inventory, digitization, quality control, indexing, storage, preservation, valorization) and defines the innovation projects carried out within the various laboratories, start-ups and partner institutions, both academic and private.
Preserving Swiss Heritages via Innovation
The concept, as initiated with the Montreux Jazz Digital Project, associates a major cultural heritage to the EPFL competences and ecosystem in innovation, research and education. With the help of donors, sponsors, and research fundings, the model has been practiced and developed all along the last 15 years, bringing a successful collaboration for both the cultural partner and the academic institutions (EPFL and its Swiss and worldwide partners).
This model is considered beneficial to both partners: the cultural institution and its collections are being enriched through numerous research and innovation actions, while the researchers can exploit precious real world datasets and get motivation and public visibility for their work. The strategy is now being further developed with other Swiss institutions and memories, in fields like classical music, spatial, radio, dance, or sport.
More information from a talk presented at the Digital Transformation in Culture conference, Riga, July 6th 2021:
The Montreux Jazz Digital Project is the leading project of the Center since 2010. Defined in collaboration with the Claude Nobs Foundation, it aims to digitize and preserve the famous audiovisual recordings of the festival which were inscribed in 2013 to the UNESCO Memory of the world register. The project drives activities in many labs and partners of EPFL, with hundreds of researchers involved, addressing a large range of domains from technology and engineering to archiving, social and human sciences, or artistic creation.
In 2019, as part of a collaboration with the Swiss Space Center and the Swiss Space Office, our Center launched the project to digitize the archive of Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier. Entering its last phase, this work will make the content available to the entire space community, Swiss and international. As a testimony, the collection will highlight the trajectory of Claude Nicollier. It will give rise to future collaborations involving EPFL and its partners, in the service of education and research.
EPFL and the Verbier Festival launched the ECHO project in 2021, in order to digitize, preserve and add value to the archives of the festival, with the ambitious objective of bringing back high interests for classical music in younger generations. With a 30-years audio and video recording collection, including prestigious pictures and considering the famous library of music score sheets annotated by the best conductors in the world, the Verbier Festival archive is unique in Europe.