Bridging the <gap> in Ancient Writing Cultures: ENhance COmpetences in the Digital Era






Unibo structure involved: Department of History and Cultures - DiSCi
Scientific Manager: Alice Bencivenni
Unibo Scientific Team: Carla Salvaterra, Fabian Lothar Walter Reiter, Marco Franceschini, Marta Fogagnolo (research-grant holder), Irene Vagionakis (research fellow)
Administration: Licia Proserpio, Emmanuel Di Tommaso
Project Web page: 
Erasmus+ Action type: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices Strategic Partnerships for higher education
Project reference: 2020-1-IT02-KA203-079585
Start Date: 1 September 2020
End Date: 31 August 2023
Budget:       Total € 447,882         UNIBO € 104,785 



Digital transformations in the cultural heritage sector have empowered the work of curation, made it easier for people to use cultural heritage for education, research, creation and recreation, and contributed to an open and knowledgeable society. Specialized disciplines in the humanities like papyrology, epigraphy, paleography, dealing with ancient written artefacts, embraced digital change developing tools for new forms of participatory research and collaborative publishing: these innovations require new competences and training both for graduate students and researchers in the rapidly evolving field of Digital Humanities and AI, in order to prepare new professionals contributing to preserving and giving access to the intercultural heritage of ancient texts spelled in multiple ancient languages and writing systems.

The ENCODE project aims at bridging the existing gap in the teaching/learning domain of ancient writing cultures between the peculiar humanistic training and the now essential digital competences required for study, research and employment. Three objectives (OBJ), touching societal, educational, institutional needs respectively, are set:

  • OBJ1: to promote collaborative, participatory and intercultural digital approaches to ancient written heritage through new professional profiles and focused training of skilled graduates.
  • OBJ2: to meet learning needs of graduates in the field of highly specialized digital skills applied to the study of ancient writing media in old European, Asian and African languages through innovative teaching modules.
  • OBJ3: to strengthen the crucial cooperation between higher education and cultural heritage institutions supplying materials for teaching and self-training to academics and providing stakeholders with support services.

The project foresees the implementation of the teaching modules through 7 transnational events – 4 open international workshops and 3 Intensive Training Events for members of the project – which will train up to 80 international graduate students and academics and up to 51 graduate students and academics from partner universities. 7 International Multiplier Events, connected to the aforementioned and supported by an intense activity of dissemination, will involve in addition up to 210 international graduate students, researchers and stakeholders/employers.

At the end of the project the modules will be made available online so that they may be used, implemented and customized according to different European contexts and teaching/learning needs. From the methodological point of view, they will:

  • be based on an internationally shared definition of learning outcomes, taking into account the relevant European Frameworks;
  • use innovative pedagogies, enabling mutual learning among trainees and teachers, lifelong learning for both (being designed as trainees-centered modules), and research-based learning (being conceived as modules that foster problem based learning, creative planning and hands-on work which replicates the forms of knowledge creation and dissemination in professional areas);
  • enable modular integration into courses according to training needs and contexts and bear future development and implementation according to evolution of technologies and training practices;
  • foster the inclusion of the training sets inside the university study curricula, increasing attractiveness through ICT-enriched learning and real-world-applications.

ENCODE brings together 6 partners from 4 European countries – Università di Bologna, Universität Würzburg, KU Leuven, Università di Parma, Universität Hamburg, Universitetet i Oslo – who will cooperate to realize 6 Intellectual Outputs:

  • O1. Report on Digital competences, Learning outcomes and best practices in teaching and learning (responsibility UWürzburg)
  • O2. Teaching modules ENCODE basic level (resp. UNIPR)
  • O3. Teaching modules ENCODE advanced level (resp. UHamburg)
  • O4. Guidelines for teaching academic staff (resp. UiO)
  • O5. MOOC/introduction for teaching academic staff (resp. KULeuven)
  • O6. Platform for alumni community and stakeholders/employers (resp. UNIBO)

ENCODE results:

  • A shared definition of needed digital competences of graduate students in the programmes focusing on written cultural heritage: this will orient transnational training activities and constitute the base both for the implementation of a specific platform for employers and employable graduates and for strengthening the cooperation between higher education institutions and stakeholders.
  • Design and test of innovative and customizable teaching modules, basic and advanced, improving participatory and intercultural approaches to heritage as well as educational initiatives aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue.
  • A full guide to the teaching modules, including a MOOC, that will enhance the importance of innovative digital training and digital applications, including AI, in the academic and professional environment.