GLAMhack 2023

The 2023 Edition of the Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon took place on September 29 & 30 2023 in Geneva in collaboration with the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève.

Tracking down colonial and racist traces in Geneva

create an interactive map of Geneva to track down the racist and colonial traces in the city of Geneva

DATASETS: Database derived from the report “Temps, espaces et histoires; Monuments et héritage raciste et colonial dans l’espace public genevois : état des lieux historique” by Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamedou et Davide Rodogno

EXPLICATION: The idea is to create an application to visualize the "Time, Space, History" report in map form in order to make its content accessible to a wider audience. The aim of this project is to enable the residents of Geneva to re-consider the city's urban space from the perspective of its colonial and racist heritage. This application is an essential tool for making the data in the report accessible to people who are unfamiliar with this theme in urban space.

The challenge is to make the data attractive and arouse the public's curiosity and desire to consult it. Visuals, illustrations and user-friendliness are central to the success of this application.

Each monument or street mentioned in the report would be represented by a dot on the map of Geneva. It would then be possible to zoom in on the map to discover a particular area. When you click on a monument or street name, a historical note opens with the text of the report and historical information.

In the report, the monuments are classified according to different keywords. It would be possible to reflect these categories using a colour code on the map, or to allow monuments to be 'sorted' by keyword.

We'd like to add images of the different locations to the historical notices. We could perhaps use Wikipedia/Wikimedia images for that.

This map will be shown on a touch station in the central area of the next temporary exhibition at MEG "Remembering. Geneva in the colonial world" (03.05.2024-01.05.2025). The map would also be accessible online on the digital platform (the digital version of the physical exhibition) and on the City of Geneva project website "Monuments and racist heritage in public areas" (

INSPIRATION: The website “bern-kolonial”:

SOURCES: Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamedou et Davide Rodogno Temps, espaces et histoires Monuments et héritage raciste et colonial dans l’espace public genevois : état des lieux historique

CONTACT: Marina Berazategui (MEG)

Click here to access the report in pdf format

Click here to access the report in word format

Click here to access the excel database extracted from the report

Monuments et héritage raciste dans l’espace public :

Accessibility of Cultural Events

Making accessibility-related information about the venues and the events themselves available in a standard format.

The association, in cooperation with several event data platform providers, is in the process of setting up a new working group on Open Event Data. One of the principles of the proposed Open Event Data Manifesto addressed at event producers and organizers as well as intermediaries providing data-related services reads as follows:

Promote the accessibility of your events by making accessibility-related information about the venues and the events themselves available in a standard format.

This greatly facilitates the orientation for people with special needs (physical, cognitive, mental health related, etc.) and allows them to more widely participate in social activities, thus contributing to a more inclusive society.

We suggest taking this as a starting point to reflect on different approaches to improve the information about the accessibility and inclusiveness of cultural events in Switzerland. Eventually, the goal will be to develop best practices and a roadmap for standardization and technical implementation that facilitate the dissemination of accessibility-related information pertaining to events.


Some initial ideas what could be worked on:

  • Proof of Concept for the interlinking of venues referenced in the Ginto/Sitios database and Wikidata
  • Proof of Concept for the inclusion of accessibility-related information on existing event platforms (interlinking of venues via Wikidata)
  • Best Practice for the referencing of accessibility-related information on Wikidata: venues, events, exhibitions (e.g. also in a museum context)
  • Creation/release of freely licensed icons matching the different (standardized) accessibility features of venues and events; publication on Wikimedia Commons
  • Proof of Concept for applications bringing accessibility-related information to interested users

Author of the challenge:

  • Beat Estermann ( / Bern Academy of the Arts)

Decolonise the MEG inventories

Create a programm for transversal research and tagging of racist, violent and discriminative information

GOAL: Decolonising the MEG's inventories through research and analysis of semantic violence : create a programme to tag MEG inventories and identify racist and discriminative terms or problematic provenance indications.


CONTEXT: MEG offers online consultation of the 70,000 objects in its collections, using inventory sheets supplemented by one or more photographs of each item, a "cartel" or "list" description and links to the various digitised old inventory registers.

Far from being neutral and objective, metadata has inherited the information contained in the inventories that preceded it, and is always historically situated.

An OCR scan of the MEG inventory registers, which were drawn up between 1901 and 1993, can be used to search by keyword for colonial, racist or disrespectful terms, or indications of an acquisition context that is ethically reprehensible today.

The aim of this challenge is to create a programme to search and tag the MEG's metadata for discriminatory, racist and violent semantic traces in the description of its collections:

  • relating to the denomination or invisibilisation of the identity of their creators, the people depicted on the artworks and the cultural owners
  • relating to the description and supposed use of the object
  • relating to provenance, i.e. more precisely to the acquisition process (theft, looting, confiscation, unfair trade during colonial era).

As part of its commitment to transparency, the museum also has a duty to warn and guide users of its historical data so that they are not confronted with violent and racist terms without contextual warning.

The idea is that the disclaimers/tags appear on the online database of the MEG:

METHOD: -Create a thesorus of colonial, racist, problematic terms to be search in the database and OCR scan -Build a disclaimer system which could respond to different cases of semantic violences -Create a programm capable of producing a "decolonial" analysis of the ethically reprehensible information contained in the MEG database

Identifying colonial traces in early modern travelogues

Identifying colonial traces in early modern travelogues

Zentralbibliothek Zürich provides a text corpus of printed travelogues from the 16th to 19th century. Can you identify and extract colonial traces in these French and German texts? For instance, you could try describe the gaze on the "other" by tracking down mentions of geographic regions, different languages, certain ethnicities or one of the following semantic fields with NLP methods:

  • the concept of the "noble savage"
  • slavery
  • representation of dominance
  • hierarchies and structures of control

For instance, the last field could be looked at from an economic, military, cultural or political perspective. Starting from a military perspective, word clusters like "Truppe – Fortifikation – Kriegszug - verfolgt – Beute – Treueeid – schwören – Vasall – kniend - Tribut" could be interesting to search for inside the German texts.

Interactive Provenance Research of Chinese Paintings

Making provenance research into chinese collectors stamps interactive

With the Charles A. Drenowatz Collection, which it received as a gift in 1979, the Museum Rietberg owns one of the most important collections of Chinese painting from the 15th to 19th centuries, the Ming and Qing periods, in Europe. The collection is known worldwide and has a great reputation in art history. Thanks to a grant from the Federal Office of Culture, the museum has undertaken a project that takes an in-depth look at the collector Charles A. Drenowatz (1908-1979), who acquired his paintings in the 1950s-1960s, as well as the history of the works' transmission and the networks through which Drenowatz was able to assemble the collection.

Painting occupies a very special place in the Chinese art canon. Works by famous artists found their way into the palace collections of the imperial family as well as into the important private collections of members of the upper class. What is unique about Chinese painting is that often not only the artist put an inscription and his seal on the painting, but also the recipient of the painting, friends and acquaintances of the artist, but also later owners, famous art critics and other expert viewers. In the course of time, these additions became a fixed but continuously expanding component of the work of art. At the same time, they are extremely important documentary sources, which makes Chinese painting an ideal subject for provenance research.

Over the course of this project the information was gathered in the museums database. For each painting the seals, stamps (in this project referred as "Provenienzmerkmal" or "PM") and inscriptions were analysed, transcribed where possible and connected to the people who were the owner of those seals. This created a dense network of people, artworks and provenances that are documented in the database. Be aware, that these provenances are not by any means complete, or are following the traditional western idea of provenance as ownership. As written above, seal might have been added by connaisseurs who didn't own the painting. Nevertheless these clues give us an idea on the biography of the painting.

 Title  Title

The data will be delivered in four different .json files and a .zip archive with the fotos. Here you can download the data:\_drenowatz\_sammlung Apologies beforehand for the qualities of the images - and since a lot of the paintings are on long rolls with multiple scenes, fotos have been taken of the seperate scenes. There might be gaps, or it might be possible to stitch them togehter in one complete image.

Link MEG Letters and Objects

Link MEG Objects and the corresponding letters to improve provenance information

In the archives of the City of Geneva, there are a lot of letters from the MEG or to the MEG which include information about MEG Objects. Most of these letters have been digitized. By linking the objects to the corresponding letters, the information about the provenance of the objects could be improved.


Idea on How to proceed

For this object


There is a mention of J. Debarge in the field "Collection particulière".

In the index of letters, there are a couple of letters from Josette Debarge originating from Cameroun in ~1931

Capture décran du 20230920 173709.png

Here is a letter about this object.

Capture décran du 20230921 180628.png

Capture décran du 20230921 180651.png

But the letter is sent to Mosé Yéyap which is mentioned in the old inventory

Capture décran du 20230921 181054.png


  • The names are not written in the same way (see above : J. Debarge in the MEG Metadata and DEBARGE, Josette, Dr in the index of the letters
  • There are a lot of letters, so it is not easy to guess which one has relevant information (maybe the date of the letter and the date of the entry of the object in the collection could help)

Possible Outputs

  • A small website which could display the objects and the relevant letters (and link them). Maybe with some additional information about the persons who wrote the letters
  • A data table with the possible links
  • An extraction of the letters which have information about objects
  • ...

OCR and linking of MEG inventories

Create a program to read and transcribe the handwritten MEG inventories and link the corresponding pages to the database

The first inventories of the collection of MEG are old handwritten inventory books. These books contain some very important information regarding the objects and their provenance. Not only do they inform about the date at which the object was collected or about the name of the person who collected it. They also provide sometimes some very useful contextualizing information about the biography of the object. Plus, they show how the objects were used by European institutions to produce colonial knowledge on colonized people and their material heritage.

The information provided by these documents hasn’t always been transferred to the digital database. Thus, curators and researchers spend a lot of time searching the old inventories to potentially find some more information on the objects they’re working on. Such a program would be really helpful for all (provenance) research to be done in the future on the MEG objects.

Traces of colonial knowledge production

The City of Geneva's ethnography collection was brought together in 1901 in a single exhibition site, which became the Musée d'ethnographie. The collection is made up of several collections from different public and private museums, including the Musée des missions and the Musée archéologique. These collections are described in original handwritten inventories, with specific numbering. When the Musée d'ethnographie was created, a new inventory grouping together the various collections was handwritten until 1973. Between 1973 and 1993, the continuation of this register was typed. At the same time, to facilitate consultation and protect the handwritten registers, the entire MEG inventory register (1901-1971) was also typed. The paper registers were subsequently replaced by computerised systems.


The inventory entry of the object ETHAF 034815, Victory at the Battle of Adwa (1896) is linked with two inventory book (see bottom of the inventory page).


The first inventory Copie dactylographiée en 13 volumes de l'Inventaire original MEG manuscrit (which is a typed copy of the other one) was digitized with an OCR system. So, in this case, it was possible to link the exact page of the inventory related to this object.

When you click on the link, you access the corresponding inventory entry:


The handwritten inventories however wasn't yet digitized with an OCR system. Thus, the link leads to the whole handwritten inventory book.


Instead of leading to the whole inventory book, we'd like the link to lead to the corresponding page of the inventory:


The idea of this challenge would thus be

  • to create a program to read and transcribe the handwritten MEG inventories
  • to link the page containing an inventory entry with the corresponding object page in the museum database.

One problem case to be faced during the challenge: The inventory sheet of the number 025988 extends overs five pages of the register. (See inventory book number 11, page 12. Inventorybook 11 pp 12.JPG

Ra - the world's oldest sundial

Bringing the 3200 year old timepiece from Egypt's Valley of the Kings to life again.

In 2013, archaeologists from the University of Basel conducting excavations in Egypt's Valley of the Kings unearthed a limestone tile (a so-called ostracon). Initially unremarkable, this piece of rock revealed its historical significance as one of the world's oldest sundials, dating back to the 13th century BC. The sundial features a central hole for a gnomon (a rod made of wood, bronze or lead) allowing it to cast a shadow, and fan-shaped lines rendered in black pigments onto the limestone surface.

"Ra" was developed to bring this 3200 year old artifact to life. The project showcases the sundial's functionality, as a shadow moves across its surface to indicate the time. Numerals from 6 AM to 6 PM denote the hours. View (simulation, ostracon front, ostracon back), shadow and dial (original, equinox, winter solstice, summer solstice, today, today Luxor true solar) as well as the numerals (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, eastern Arabic, Arabic) can be toggled by means of hieroglyph buttons. The astronomical modes have been calculated for a latitude of 25.5° (Luxor).

ra kl.gif

Launch Ra, the world's oldest sundial!



Logo, Media


Visualize Portrait Gallery

Visualize Lucerne Portrait Gallery

Gallery of remarkable people of Lucerne

In the library hall of the ZHB Lucerne you find 260 painted portraits (oil on canvas) owned by the "Korporation Luzern" about remarkable persons of the history of Lucerne (the so called "merkwürdige Luzernerinnen und Luzerner") The portraits are digitized and open access available via, the repository for the digital cultural heritage of Central Switzerland hosted by ZHB Lucerne. 240 portraits are already available under public domain, 21 portraits are still under copyright and only available at ZentralGut.

Biographies about the "merkwürdige Luzerner:innen"

Along the portraits the library has a collection of short biographical notes about each portraited person. The so called "Kurze Lebens-Notizen zu der Portrait-Gallerie merkwürdiger Luzerner auf der Bürgerbibliothek in Luzern" are digital available at ZentralGut( but furthermore we made a double-checked fulltext transcript using WikiSource as crowdsourcing platform. These corrected biographical notes are stored also in the portraits metadata at ZentralGut and made the portraits a little bit more retrievable.

Wikidata-fication of the potrait gallery

Every portraited person has already its own Wikidata-Item. These items has different statements, according to the data already stated in wikidata or available using different sources, starting with the short biographical notes. The following Query returns all biographical items, with image and URL into the Wikisource transcript of the biographical note.

Portraits uploaded to Wikimedia Commons

The 240 portraits under public domain are already uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and linked to the wikidata item of the described person, unless there was already a satisfied image stated. The addition or exchange of images in different Wikipedias is a currently ongoing task (2023-09).


ZHB Luzern provides a more or less fully "wikified" dataset of biographical information, a digitized biographical source, interoperable and linked biographical items and decent portaits of the so-called remarkable people from Lucerne. According to the different statements avaialble in Wikidata a lot of different queries could be build and those group of people therefore analyzed. E.g. search for relative, people became the same political position, member of the same religious order enz.

  • Buidling a variety of analysis (and visualisations) on the biographical informations of the portraited persons
  • Add more granular information about differnet people (e.g. political parties, religion, relatives) or links to external sources
  • Think about a (3-d) virtual visualization of the library hall and its portrait gallery.



Visualizing Collections & Enabling Collaborations

Data visualisation to develop collaborative provenance research projects with concerned communities

Visualizing Collections & Enabling Collaborations

Zurich Ethnographic Museum


This challenge is based on a very practical real-life problem: we want to develop collaborative provenance research projects with concerned communities - but the collections at the Ethnographic Museum in Zurich are currently not accessible online


This means external partners both here in Switzerland and abroad are unable to look up what is currently held in the museum. To find out about the collection they have to email a member of staff.


Sharing data - sharing stories: provenance research as a broker for new collaborative endeavors. Visit of delegation from Nigeria to the Zurich Ethnographic Museum



The museum is currently addressing this and has decided to make its database accessible online.  But it is early days, and this will most probably require us shifting to a new collection management software and will take time and resources.


In the meantime, having recently joined the institution as the museum’s provenance researcher, I would like to have a quick and creative solution that communicates to the general public where our collections come from and during which period they arrived in the museum.



Engaging the general public in provenance research

Photo Caroline Krajcir


This prototype does not need to communicate all of the information that one would normally find in a museum database but should provide a basic overview, ideally in the form of a visualization, or mapping so that external partners get a good sense of what is in the collection.


The intention is that making this data available in a user-friendly format could foster further collaborations between concerned communities and the museum. This would fill an important gap whilst the collection is still off-line.  


Inspiration: Cartography of Heritage from Cameroun in Europe -

Source Atlas der Abwesenheit Kameruns Kulturerbe in Deutschland - 2023 


Difficulties: Whilst the geographical regions have pre-defined country and area codes, the provenance data when available is in an open text schema. Actors names from acquisitions over the last 30 years would need to be protected.

Outlook: Such a prototype could be the start of a collaboration with hackathon participants, which based on available resources could be further developed together. It could even be that the prototype inspires us to adopt certain principles and creative solutions as we work on putting the full database online.

We hope you are willing to jump on board and with your tools and skills set help us develop a solution to this challenge!




Atlas der Abwesenheit – Kameruns Kulturerbe in Deutschland



Digital Benin


Mapping Philippine Material Culture


Africa Art Archive 


Past GlamHack projects

The spatial evolvement of a Museums’ collection - GLAMhack 2021 (




Data storage: Data will be available as an excel file on the UZH Switch Drive – available through a password protected link.


Data fields: The data fields would be the object name, inventory number, continent, region and country, and then the date of entry and provenance actors.  


Karteikarte: Name Objekt, Inventar-Nr, Kontinent, Weltregion, Land, Geographische Region. History: Eingangsdatum, Von, Sammler, Provenienz


Decolonizing objects using audio on wiki comons

Local Contexts on Wikimedia Commons



    A thread to position myself

    Help create a digital interactive exhibition installation on slavery for the online platform of the exhibition ‘Memories'

    In this repository, created at the GLAMhack 2023 event in Geneva, we are creating a digital interactive exhibition installation on slavery for the online platform of the exhibition ‘Memories'.


    We built this project using the open source P5.js, with OpenProcessing and OpenAI to accelerate the process.

    Our inspirations included:


    🦸 Grégoire et 🧑‍🎨 Valerio