Select Page

Workers Underground

An impact assessment journey — Europeana 1914-1918

A film, case study and dataset on how digital heritage connects and unites European citizens.

In the first half of 2016 we captured the impact of Europeana 1914-1918. We’ve narrated this in a film, supported by a case study and an anonymised dataset, showcasing how the service connects and unites European citizens.


Europeana 1914-1918, a digital heritage service run by Europeana Foundation, helps European citizens contribute, share and explore stories, films and historical material about the First World War from across Europe and beyond.

Find more information about impact assessment in the heritage industries at


Case study

We’ve published a case study explaining why, how, when and with whom we assessed the impact of Europeana 1914-1918. Check it out to understand this complex process.


We sanitised and anonymised the dataset with all the data of this impact assessment and published it for you to play with. Have a go and share with us what you find!

Unveiling the impact of Europeana 1914-1918

with pioneering storytelling combining human interest and data visualisation.

The first operationalisation of the Europeana Impact Assessment Framework.


Achieved goals

Assess and narrate the impact of Europeana 1914-1918 using the Europeana Impact Assessment Framework.


Unity. Connection. Understanding. Surprise.


Extra achievements

Enhanced understanding of ‘the’ European identity and of dominant community narratives surrounding the First World War.

Improving the Impact Assessment Framework.

Kickstarting the creation of a new standard on impact assessment and narration in the heritage industries.

Three promotional videoclips.


Capturing and co-creating the emotions of impact


Narrative discovery, operationalising the pre-existing academic framework into an applicable research, design of the research processes, survey design, transnational and multilingual qualitative and quantitive research through online and offline channels, surveying trainings and coordination, data management, -sanitation, -analysis and interpretation.

Narrative design, multiple iterative processes using pattern recognition and sensemaking techniques unveiling the narrative in the data and designing a compelling and engaging narrative for our audiences to internalise and understand the impact we captured.

Narrative production, shooting, editing, grading and mixing the film, co-writing and reviewing the case study.

Consultancy, improvement and development of impact assessment use cases and underlying (academical) frameworks.


A film, supported by a case study (pdf) and an anonymised and sanitised dataset. In addition we created 3 promotional videoclips.


valid responses

contributors of objects


hours of film

narrative iterations

cast & crew members

The objectives:

The primary objective of this study was to conduct the first application of the Europeana Impact Assessment Framework, exploring the social and cultural impact of a well-established digital heritage service: Europeana 1914-1918. Did it have an impact in this area? And, if so, how could this be made more tangible for Europeana’s stakeholders and the wider community? The commissioners secondary objective was to understand the process of impact assessment better, and use the findings to build a better understanding of this process in their network.

What did we do?

At the heart of the Impact Framework are five ‘lenses’; perspectives on impact as put forth by Professor Simon Tanner and the Europeana Impact Assessment Taskforce. In our process we have shaped and refined these and then used these to collect, review and analyse data collected directly from contributors, users and non-users of the service. The film ‘Workers Underground’ is the result of experimenting with capturing impact as it happens whilst meanwhile assessing it through thorough quantitative research. We’ve experimented with using visual storytelling techniques from a human interest narration combined with a data visualisation narrative. The film’s content is supported by a case study and a published anonimysed dataset.

What did we learn about Europeana 1914-1918?

We feel confident that the film we’ve made demonstrates that the service provided by Europeana 1914-1918 has achieved social and cultural impact. Some of the lenses we used to make these points show a very clear positive impact in the areas of community and legacy, while others indicate that there is still much to gain by improving areas of the service, in learning in particular. This process has revealed a lot about the service, and its impact, more than anyone expected.

What will you learn if you dive deeper?

You will read in the case study about why and how we have developed this case study. We describe the methodology we used for how we gathered, analysed and interpreted the data — first presenting each of the five lenses in detail, followed by describing the practical elements to collecting the data and delivering the film. Finally, we have written a report card analysing what went well (or not), what we learnt and how we will apply this to our next assessment.

We hope this study supports others in the cultural and creative industries struggling with the issues of impact, impact assessment and impact narration. We welcome your feedback and invite you to join us as we continue to build our understanding of this complex subjectmatter.

Ask Johan Sjöström

Ask Johan Sjöström

Narratologist, lead researcher
+46 73 084 91 27

Three videoclips

To help promote the film and the case study we additionally created three video clips containing remarkable quotes from contributors.

Other materials

Background of this work

On the stories, peoples & places connected


Categories Design, Discovery, Production, Consultancy


Tags Heritage, Europe, First World War, Europeana, Impact assessment, Impact narration, Impact Assessment Framework


Subtags Film, Case study, Dataset, Quantitative research, Qualitative research, Narrative design, Filmmaking

George BECK

George BECK


Portland’s Regimental Sergeant Major George Beck was the soldier who wrote about the Christmas truce — the ceasefire on the Western front of the First World War in 1914, when soldiers came together to play football.

To us, George Beck has been a true inspiration on the importance of preservation and reuse of digital cultural heritage and a champion of connecting of uniting European citizens across cultures.

More on George Beck >

How and why we name things

People & partners involved

More than 73 people from 11 nationalities aged 15 to 91!

Commissioned by


Harry Verwayen Europeana Deputy Director, commissioner
Ad Pollé Europeana 1914-1918 Programme Lead, delegated-commissioner Prague
Małgorzata Szynkielewska Europeana Content & Media Coordinator, delegated-commissioner Poznań
Julia Fallon IPR & Policy Advisor, delegated-commissioner case study

Based on

Europeana Impact Assessment Framework by Europeana Impact Assessment Taskforce as derived from Balanced Value Impact Assessment Model by Professor Simon Tanner, Kings College London.



Maria Pankros
Maciej Grygier
Jiří Maria Sieber
Michaela Fovaiabová
Vincent Jendrichovský
Jile Micka Jarmila
Ema Tousková
Elżbieta Sobiak-Rybarska


Created & produced by


Whalebone & Greenstone

Jeroen Wilms Director, producer & researcher
Johan Sjöström Researcher & coordinator
Coen Leuven Director of photography & editor
Marcel Ooms Animations
Sjoerd Limberger Audio design

with support from
Oscar Bastiaens Chief & Narrative designer
Linda Schrik Project administration support
Jakub Karsky Legal advisor

and with thanks to 
Lizzy Komen, Elin Viberg, Zorba Huisman, Joyce Bokhoven, Marc Berends, Thomas Vroege, Eef Hilgers, Eva Nijsten, Rik Verlinden, and non-featured interviewees

as well as
the support teams at Surveygizmo and Wipster, and the Marcanti Collective



Julia Schellenberg Project support & visual design
Nobuhle Mumba Communications support
Panagiotis Kyrou Technical support
Aleksandra Strzelichowska Marketing support
Shadi Ardalan Director support    

Supported by

Facts & Files

Frank Drauschke Programme lead
Hans-Christian Bresgott Main researcher


Elco van Staveren Sketchartist


Captured at

Kino NFA Ponrepo, Prague, Czech Republic

Karolína Heroldova Prague location coordinator

with support from
Matěj Hejkal, Lada Kapickova, Wojcieck Candrowski

with thanks to
Participants of the Communiy collection event, City of Prague, Czech National Film Archive


Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center, Poznań, Poland

Marcin Werla Poznań location coordinator
Błażej Betański Poznań location support

with thanks to
Participants of the Communiy collection event, City of Poznań, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu

Translated and interpreted by

Katarina Stropkova Czech local interpreter
Petr Hora Czech postproduction interpreter
Jakub Karsky Polish interpreter

Surveyed by


Tereza ŠtěpánováOtto UrbanEma DiblíkováKatarina StropkovaBarbora Samiecová


Martyna MichałowskaAlexandra StaniewskaZofia KędzioraWojciech CendrowskiPiotr Zalewski

With reused materials from

Icons by Flaticon and the Noun Project
European map by Willem Janszoon Blaeu, courtesy of Royal Dutch Library
Imagery of Ypres by Coen Leuven    

Places connected

These works we're created across more than 8 locations in 5 European countries!

Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center

Kino NFA Ponrepo

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery

W&G Belgium

W&G Sweden

W&G Headquarters

Europeana Headquarters

W&G Netherlands

Reuse & licensing

Creative CommonsBy Attributionsa-trans.largeThe film, videoclips, case study, anonimysed dataset and any related materials are licensed by Whalebone & Greenstone and Europeana Foundation under the terms of a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 International license.


Photography of images used on this page was done by Harry Verwayen & Jeroen Wilms.
Texts used on this page we’re on part written by Julia Fallon.

Interested in working with us?