Blog post

Europe at Work: explore industrial heritage and share your story of working life

Europeana’s new season, ‘Europe at Work’, brings stories of our personal working lives together with archive material on industrial and labour-related heritage.

Europeana Foundation

The working world we inhabit today is rich and varied, and tells the story of technological and societal changes over time. Starting today, Europeana’s new season, ‘Europe at Work’, brings stories of our personal working lives together with archive material on industrial and labour-related heritage.

Explore the new industrial heritage collection on Europeana - bringing together around half a million cultural heritage objects from around Europe - to discover and uncover fascinating industrial and labour-related heritage material. Over the next months, we'll be adding galleries and blogs exploring these themes. 

Work isn’t just what we do. It’s often who we are and where we’ve come from. It’s an integral part of our cultural heritage.

Working lives change over time, often driven by changes in technology. Books were once written out painstakingly by hand, then came the concept of printing, and the printing press and mass production, then came digital word processing and e-readers.

RELATED: Explore this gallery of working lives across Europe

The land was once worked by hand and beast, then came steam engines, tractors, GM crops, automated dairy parlours and intensive factory farming. Trades and skills develop at each turn and with them, people’s daily lives, family routines and attitudes.

Whatever you do, your work doesn’t stay within the office, the shop floor, the classroom, the construction site. Whenever we work, labour or volunteer, we’re part of a bigger picture. Your working life shapes your habits, your routines, your identity and your community. What happens in society and technology both shapes and is shaped by how and where we work.

And we want to record this - share your working life stories, past or present, with Europe at Work and see how you fit in to this rich and diverse working world.

Sharing your story

photograph of man working in a factory surrounded by machines, the words 'Share your story' and a logo saying 'Europe at Work' are above

You can join in by sharing a story about your working life, wherever you worked, either online now or at one of a number of collection day events across Europe in autumn 2019.

Think you have nothing interesting to share? Think again! Europe at Work is about all of us. Look at these example stories - from a modern dairy farmer to a shopkeeper in the 1890s.

From September to December 2019, Europeana along with museums, galleries, libraries and archives across Europe, will run a series of collection days which will record the stories of the people who have worked at industrial heritage sites across Europe.

The first event is in Luxembourg on 28-29 September 2019. It focuses on the Portuguese community of Luxembourg and will be held at Gare-Usines de Dudelange, Luxembourg. Thanks to partners Centre de Documentation sur le Migration Humaine and Instituto de História Contemporânea, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Further events will take place in France, Finland, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands. See full event listings

By Adrian Murphy, Europeana Foundation

Feature image: L M Ericsson Factory interior, Architecture and Design Center, Sweden, Public Domain