Museum in dialoog/Musée en dialogue

Credits: Egmond Dobbelaere

As part of the Aesthetic Experience, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Evens Foundation have launched a new initiative in partnership with FMDO vzw that aims to explore and unlock the potential of artistic heritage to foster encounter and dialogue.

The partners in this project have invited a group of people from different social and cultural backgrounds to form a learning community that explores if and how the museums and their collections could be transformed into a space of encounter and dialogue.

In our increasingly diverse societies, where questions of European identities and European values are raised, it’s interesting to examine the places where these notions have been articulated and represented. European art history in general and our museums in particular conserve precious testimonies of aesthetic, ideological and political visions and battles. They display the specificities of European cultures, values and aspirations, the construction of often competing national narratives, and, at the same time, continuous dialogue with other cultures, mutual cross-fertilization, and contradictions, bearing traces of patriarchal or colonial visions, and persisting power relations.

Open-ended and diverse

Museum in Dialoog/Musée en Dialogue engages with recurring challenges and constraints that cultural institutions face, such as the imperative to produce specific results and deliverables, and seeks to shift the focus on to more open-ended processes and, more importantly, reaches out to a diverse audience.

The learning community is the central node of the project, working in close collaboration with the responsible staff of the museum, the Foundation and FMDO vzw and two facilitators.

The group will try to understand if and how, through both sensitive and critical inquiry, a museum and the masterpieces it houses can serve as a productive space for questioning, thinking together and belonging. At the end of the research period, the group will formulate possible approaches and contribute to the design of new mediation and education tools.

The process will be documented so that we can reflect on and share our learnings with other institutions and colleagues.

As part of the Aesthetic Experience, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Evens Foundation have launched a new initiative in partnership with FMDO vzw that aims to explore and unlock the potential of artistic heritage to foster encounter and dialogue.

The partners in this project have invited a group of people from different social and cultural backgrounds to form a learning community that explores if and how the museums and their collections could be transformed into a space of encounter and dialogue.

In our increasingly diverse societies, where questions of European identities and European values are raised, it’s interesting to examine the places where these notions have been articulated and represented. European art history in general and our museums in particular conserve precious testimonies of aesthetic, ideological and political visions and battles. They display the specificities of European cultures, values and aspirations, the construction of often competing national narratives, and, at the same time, continuous dialogue with other cultures, mutual cross-fertilization, and contradictions, bearing traces of patriarchal or colonial visions, and persisting power relations.

Open-ended and diverse

Museum in Dialoog/Musée en Dialogue engages with recurring challenges and constraints that cultural institutions face, such as the imperative to produce specific results and deliverables, and seeks to shift the focus on to more open-ended processes and, more importantly, reaches out to a diverse audience.

The learning community is the central node of the project, working in close collaboration with the responsible staff of the museum, the Foundation and FMDO vzw and two facilitators.

The group will try to understand if and how, through both sensitive and critical inquiry, a museum and the masterpieces it houses can serve as a productive space for questioning, thinking together and belonging. At the end of the research period, the group will formulate possible approaches and contribute to the design of new mediation and education tools.

The process will be documented so that we can reflect on and share our learnings with other institutions and colleagues.

News

All partners finalised their part of the short publication about the process. It will now be complemented by the views of three relevant external actors – Culture et Démocratie, Demos and Open Museum – before being edited.

The podcast working group will commence 9 June and in Autumn we are planning to launch both the publication and the podcasts. The project will be presented during the next ICOM CECA annual conference in October 2021.

News

At the end of the first phase the group selected a couple of actions that are in the process of being implemented. One working group is currently preparing a podcast for visitors addressing the main question of the initiative. They are being accompanied by De Veerman. Another group will share their experiences with other departments of the museum in order to raise awareness internally. In parallel, a joint publication is being prepared to share the insights and lessons we have collectively learnt throughout the process.

News

Despite the pandemic, the group managed to gather four times in autumn and winter 2020, both offline and online, to visit the museums and share their reflections and ideas about how the institute and its collections could be transformed into a space of encounter and dialogue. As a result of these meetings, the group selected a couple of actions that are currently in the process of being implemented.
In parallel, a joint publication is being prepared to share the insights and lessons learnt throughout the process.

News

After a series of stimulating online conversations with the participants of Museum in Dialogue, the whole group gets together for the first time on 27 June 2020 in Brussels to meet each other and already discover the museum at a glance.