Parthenos was launched on May 1st, the kick-off  will be held on Friday, July 3rd in Florence (read the official announcement here). 

It will officially inaugurate the project with a meeting of the the various WP leaders of 15 international partners. 
For the occasion, we offer this interview with the scientific coordinator Franco Niccolucci, PIN-Servizi Didattici e Scientifici per l’Università di Firenze.

Prof. Niccolucci, you are the coordinator of PARTHENOS project. Can you explain what PARTHENOS is aiming and how it want to achieve it?

PARTHENOS stands for “Pooling Activities, Resources and Tools for Heritage E-research Networking, Optimization and Synergies. It aims at supporting the efforts of several EU projects in the domain of cultural heritage, digital humanities and linguistics. It will exploit synergies and provide common solutions to similar problems. Not coincidentally we choose a name so symbolic starting from the concept of wisdom, civilization and inspiration of which the goddess Athena Parthenos was defender.

 How PARTHENOS’ idea was born?

The European Commission supports such “clusters” of EU projects. Discussing within DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities), the European Research Infrastructure (ERIC) on Digital Humanities, and later with CLARIN, the ERIC on Linguistics, it emerged that synergies and common solutions were feasible and would save time and money.

One of the key aspects of PARTHENOS is the bottom up approach. The involvement of the communities seems to be very central in the project’s design.

Yes, the project activities are directly inspired by the needs of the many communities operating in the various fields addressed by the project. Such needs will be collected and used to produce the requirements for what the project will produce.

The European Commission, and in general European institutions, seem to have identified in research, humanities, language and cultural heritage some of the key aspects in the H2020 strategy. How is PARTHENOS integrating with this choice?

PARTHENOS will create a common ecosystem to support Humanities, Language, Cultural Heritage, History and Archaeology Research. It will develop innovative tools and in general support and facilitate the scholarly use of digital technologies and methods in the sector.

Investing in research is investing in the future. Many Europeans, especially in the actual economic trend, may not see an immediate return for investments in sectors such as research, humanities, language and cultural heritage.

Culture is the root of our identity. Without culture we have no future. Furthermore, it has a substantial impact on economy, creating job opportunities, and beneficial societal effects as regards integration, mutual understanding and overall well being.

About Franco Niccolucci 

Franco Niccolucci has a background in Mathematics, he is a former professor at the University of Florence.  He later founded and directed the Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center in Nicosia, Cyprus, then moving back to Italy to coordinate of European Projects at Vast-Lab – PIN – Servizi Didattici e Scientifici per l’Università di Firenze. His research interests focus on digital archaeology and its semantic foundations.

Ilenia Galluccio contributed to this report