Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EU-LAC-MUSEUMS (Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean)
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-02-28
The aim of our research is to provide a better understanding of the cultural, scientific and social dimension of the relationship between the EU and LAC, thus supporting the process of EU-CELAC cooperation outlined by the EU-CELAC Action Plan in defining a common vision for the years to come.
The project is Coordinated by the University of St Andrews in Scotland [https://mgci.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/].
EU-LAC-MUSEUMS seeks to carry out a comparative analysis of small to medium-sized rural museums and their communities in the EU and LAC regions, and to develop associated history and theory. The basis of the project is that community museums in Latin American and Caribbean countries in particular allow under-represented communities to stake a place in history, as well as contributing to environmental sustainability and community empowerment. Over 48 months, researchers are investigating how these institutions can inform museum practice, particularly for remote and island locations. Museums involved include Ceumannan - Skye Ecomuseum in Scotland, and the Rey Curré Museo Comunitario in Costa Rica, run by the native Boruca people. Both are open-air museums encouraging visitors to explore the natural landscape and traditional structures. Here, young people have been working together to carry out oral history projects with community elders, and debate the theme of societal change.
Museums hold an unequalled responsibility to communicate the shared history and “cultural, political and economic ties” between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Museums have enormous capacity to reach all levels of community, from towns to remote villages, and can be neutral spaces for building social cohesion and reconciliation in a variety of contexts. By focusing on the theme of Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, EU-LAC-MUSEUMS is creating a common vision for sustainable, small to medium-sized local and regional museums and their communities, and reinforcing mutual understanding and cooperation between regions.
The overall objectives are to:
1: Increase the knowledge area of EU-CELAC relations in the museum world by researching the concepts and experiences of sustainability in museums and communities in the two regions, with a special focus on heritage technologies and histories of migration as they relate to these communities.
2: Enhance sustainable development and social inclusiveness in the museum sector in remote rural and island locations through dialogue between academics, policy makers, museums, and local communities.
3: Create a common and sustainable vision for community museums ratified by ICOM, and in line with EU-CELAC and JIRI actions.
4: Make available and to celebrate knowledge generated by the project to all potential users, museum professionals, and decision makers through an ambitious web portal and an extensive dissemination programme.
5: Ensure rigorous evaluation of project methods and outcomes for future EU-LAC platforms, and to build long-term sustainable relationships between institutions in EU and LAC, and especially within our partner countries.
Our bespoke project website and database (http://www.eulacmuseums.net) harvests information about community museums and related Intangible Cultural Heritage in each partner country and beyond in EU and LAC.
Major results include Chile's report on the ubiquitous “Round Table of Santiago de Chile” (1972), measuring its relevance today and specifically in relation to the Region of Los Rios. Having developed their work plan, Peru, following devastating floods in the remote parts in which they are working, recovered to work closely with a diagnosis for Trujillo and Lambayeque to develop two models of intervention. Similarly in Spain, the ETEPA team researched the design of a comprehensive Strategic Plan relating to landscape, cultural heritage, tourism and territorial development in La Huerta de València. Bi-regional 3D workshops have toured the entire consortium, facilitating workshops in community museums and digitising “community icons”. The consortium continues to consolidate as a bi-regional team. St Andrews held the project second General Assembly and an international conference on Defining the Museum of the 21st Century in collaboration with ICOM ICOFOM. They have worked closely with Chile to engage students and school pupils with Latin American museum objects. Collaboration between Peru, Chile and Spain has also facilitated sharing research approaches and methodologies concerning entrepreneurship and innovation for heritage territories. Meanwhile, the UWI has forged ahead on research into migration and gender, producing a traveling exhibition on Windrush, and collaborating with St Andrews on a Virtual Museum of Caribbean Migration, and a new exhibition of contemporary Caribbean art, Arrivants.