Concept Idea, partners involved and European added value
What are the challenges of a museum located in a peripheral area or in a geographical center but cultural periphery? What strategy is the Director expected to implement in order to reach new audience? Art and food are two necessities of life and a strong vehicle of local identity: how can local community cooperate with the peripheral museum to reinforce the synergy between art and food? In-NovaMusEUm wants to answer these questions.
Visual arts have always had a special bond with the topic of food and the ritual of eating together. The rituals and symbols of foodstuff have crossed all forms of art, from antiquity onwards. Food was represented in ancient Greek and Roman art, was predominantly employed in allegorical constructs in the Middle Ages, continued through the Renaissance painting and prevailed in modern and contemporary art. The representative value of food is also the core theme of EXPO Milan 2015 which, among others, has inspired the exhibition “Arts & Foods. Rituals since 1851” dedicated to the places of food and its representation in paintings, sculptures, furniture and objects. This strong synergy between art and food suggested us to build a project around the importance of food for the art, the development of cultural identity and the enhancement of the territory.
In the 2015 publication “Museums’ 4 Values – Values 4 Museums” the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) stated the important role of museums in improving people’s lives, building communities, strengthening society and protecting the environment. Yet, according to the latest Eurobarometer Special Survey 399 on “Cultural Access and Participation”, issued in November 2013, there has been an overall decline in visiting a museum or gallery due to lack of interest, compared to 2007 survey. By analyzing these data and the most recent EU reports on audience development (including the EU Call for a Study on Audience Development lately closed), we decided to focus our project on European museums with outstanding collections that, due to their location in peripheral areas or due to the lack audience development strategies fail to exploit the touristic advantages of their location, therefore remain off the main tourist flows and do not often tickle the local community participation and involvement in their cultural services.
These museums (from now on “peripheral museums”) encounter two levels of issues:
- Lack of audience development approaches and methods to meet the needs of existing and potential audiences
- Low number of annual visitors
- Low participation of local community to museums collections and programs.
Peripheral museums can reach, on the other side, full potential both in terms of their collections and their social, educational and economic impact, in particular:
- Potential impact on cultural tourism and citizenship
- Art collections linked to local traditions
- Connection to the history of territories and citizens
- Art collections representing local food tradition
- Strengheting community ties and a sense of belonging by an organic relation to cultural heritage.
Against that background, in accordance with InNova Museum vision, the main challenge areas are:
- to codify audience development strategies of EU peripheral museums,
- to develop the audience development skills of EU peripheral museums
- to encourage visitors to come back to the EU peripheral museums starting from the local community (intended as people living, working or studyng in the museum territorial area). The link with the territories and the food tradition of the territories is the basis to imagine and experiment new types of interaction between the museum and the local citizens.
The project, lasting for 18 months, is structured into five work packages, including: training and research activity on audience development strategy for peripheral museums; participatory events with the local community and artists; digital engagement pilots; European networking activities; dissemination.
The partnership is made of 5 partners, each of them experienced in a specific field related to the project scope. The distribution of roles and responsibilities is shared according to the specific know-how of the partners.
In particular, Innova Museum directly involves 2 partner Museums (Skoklostersslott Castle in Sweden and Theodoros Papagiannis Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece and 5 associated partner Museums: Palazzo Chigi di Ariccia (Italy), Museu Bordalo Pinheiro (Portugal), Kilkis Museum (Greece), National museum George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (Kruja, Albania) Muzeu Arkeologjik Durres (Albania).
Stakeholder networks of museums in Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Albania and Greece are indirectly also involved.
The creative and participative lab Tirana Ekspress (Albania) and the CICANT R&D Unit of Universidade Lusofona of Lisbon act as technical partners, together with the associated Department of Cultural Heritage Management & New Technologies – Dr. Christos D. Merantzas, of University of Patras (Greece).
The partnership is led by Centro Europeo per il Turismo, lo Spettacolo e la Cultura – CET (Italy). CET’s greatest strength lies in the ability to increase the value of cultural heritage and to stimulate the development of culture through events that enhance the value of historical monuments and boost audience development.
The potential impact of the project at European level is mainly ensured by:
- the support provided to EU peripheral museums to become more audience-centric within their own organizations and structures, and externally in their relations with public authorities, patrons, sponsors, etc.
- innovative audience development skills and approaches developed, codified and tested by partners located in different EU countries
- building a new network of EU museums and cultural organizations
- making EU peripheral museums aware of their role in European life. They preserve and disseminate core values on behalf of society as a whole, using their collections as a basis to achieve reflective and social outcomes. They understand the importance of their role in the creation of knowledge and lifelong learning.
- promoting the museums regions, as a base for economic innovation from the point of view of culture, tourism and creativity.