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H2020

EU-LAC-MUSEUMS Report Summary

Project ID: 693669
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EU-LAC-MUSEUMS (Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

EU-LAC-MUSEUMS: Concepts, Experiences and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean brings together a consortium of museum experts through the networks of the European and Latin American Regional Alliances of ICOM (http://icom.museum). We are a team of academics, museum professionals and policy makers working in Scotland, Portugal, Spain, France, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica and the Caribbean who are committed to community museology making a difference in the world.

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, under the auspices of the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute in the School of Art History [https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/arthistory/research/mgci/].

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 will work 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 will create a common vision for sustainable, small to medium-sized local and regional museums and their communities, and reinforce 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.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Our plan of action falls into the following four areas of EU-CELAC enquiry:

a) Technology and Innovation for Bi-Regional Integration
b) Museums for Social Inclusion and Cohesion2028
c) Fostering Sustainable Community Museums2028
d) Exhibiting Migration and Gender

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.

Other major results also include the University of Austral, Chile report on the ubiquitous “Round Table of Santiago de Chile” (1972), measuring its relevance today in the context of Latin America and specifically in relation to their case study of the Region of Los Rios. Having developed their work plan, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, following devastating floods in the remote parts in which they are working, have recovered to work closely with a diagnosis and workplan for Trujillo and Lambayeque to develop two models of intervention. Similarly in Spain, the ETEPA team in the University of Valencia have researched existing models of small, local museums to build on this knowledge in the design of a comprehensive Strategic Plan for the museums and sites they are working with: initiatives relating landscape, cultural heritage, tourism and territorial development in La Huerta de València. In the Caribbean, research has been carried out into community museums, and 2145 submissions have been received from students of the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine) in their Caribbean Civilization programme.

Bi-regional 3D workshops, led by the University of St Andrews, have toured the entire EU-LAC-MUSEUMS consortium, facilitating workshops in community museums and digitising “community icons” for hosting on a custom-made website and on the project website involving over 20 museums across 9 countries with over 350 attendees, and digitising 150 objects and over 30 virtual tours of museums and their surroundings: http://eu-lac.org/virtual-museums/. The University of St Andrews and National Museum of Costa Rica have also facilitated the first Europe to Latin America bi-regional youth exchange in July 2017, in partnership with the National Museum of Archaeology in Lisbon. Young people from Boruca, Rey Curré and San Vicente in Costa Rica, 6 young people from Scotland from the rural island of the Isle of Skye in the north west of Scotland and 6 from Portugal’s rural communities of Barcelos, Penafiel and São João da Madeira took part in the exchange: https://eulacmuseumsyouthscotland.wordpress.com.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Impacts from our research are therefore affecting all levels, from society, to academia, to policy, by means of community empowerment through museums. Achieving a new model of museum taking particular account of local economic development through strategic planning has been the priority of much of our research. Through innovation and entrepreneurship, ESTEPA's document of Model of Owned Strategic Planning involved technical and integrated diagnostics, as well as emphasising the role of business strategic planning into the model which builds on principals of museum types developed in past decades, including the ecomuseum. The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru is also developing a model of sustainability by engaging with a group of regional museums including Chan Chan, Huacas del Sol y La Luna and Tucume and Sican, involving local authorities in developing policies and instruments for long-term sustainable development and strengthening of the local community are essential to combating vulnerability in this context.

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