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EU-LAC-MUSEUMS project (2016-2020)

Tuesday 29 November 2016


Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability

in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean

Dr Karen Brown, Lecturer in Art History and Museum and Gallery Studies and Director of the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute, is leading a new EU-funded international project exploring the important role played by small, community-run museums in their communities. The EU-LAC-MUSEUMS project was conceived under the auspices of ICOM (the International Council of Museums: in 2014 and will run from 2016-2020. It has received funding of 2,422,406 euro from Horizon2020, the EU’s biggest ever research and innovation programme.

EU-LAC-MUSEUMS will see eight international organisations in Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru and the West Indies come together to address questions of sustainability, identity and community empowerment in museums. Young people from these regions will have the opportunity to take part in a Youth Exchange, and a bi-regional curatorial team including Dr Brown, Dr Catherine Spencer (USTAN), Alissandra Cummins (University of the West Indies) and Verle Poupeye (National Gallery of Jamaica) will organise an exhibition of Caribbean Contemporary Art and Migration to tour the Caribbean and Europe from 2017 to 2020, including representation in the 2019 Venice Biennale.

The basis of the project is that community museums in Latin American and Caribbean countries allow under-represented communities to stake a place in history, as well as contribute to environmental sustainability and community empowerment. Over the next 4 years researchers will investigate 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 (Image 1). Both are open-air museums encouraging visitors to explore the natural landscape and traditional structures. Here, young people will work together to carry out an oral history project with community elders, and produce a virtual exhibition on the theme of societal change being facilitated by Open Virtual Worlds.

(Image 1: A traditional Boruca home in the Rey Curré Ecomuseum, and the Quiraing Hills at Skye Ecomuseum.)

Dr Brown spoke about the EU-LAC-MUSEUMS project to the Advisory of the 2016 ICOM triennial conference, held in Milan. She will also lead a Round Table discussion on ‘Bravery and a Sense of Place in Abandoned Lands: The Role of Community Museums’ during the Museums Association conference in Glasgow, November 2016. The 30 international researchers and museum professionals involved in EU-LAC-MUSEUMS will meet in Lisbon in late October for the official project Kick-Off.

The project website is currently under construction: 

(Image 2: Dr Karen Brown speaking about the EU-LAC-MUSEUMS project at the 2016 ICOM conference, Milan.)

EU-LAC-MUSEUMS: “This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693669”


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