Professor Luigina Ciolfi of Sheffield Hallam University presented CultureLabs at the symposium “Feeling the Past – Empathy, Heritage and the Museum” that took place at MShed in Bristol (UK) on December 4th, 2018.

The symposium was organised by Professor Steve Poole and his team in the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the University of the West of England (UWE). The event was part of the “Heritage Empath” project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project explores the importance of empathy and emotional involvement in experiencing heritage, and how digital technologies can convey and support such experiences. The project’s final installation, “Of Home and Each Other”, is an interactive storytelling experience on the theme of migration and empathy in the streets of Bristol, written by Zodwa Nyoni and realised by Splash and Ripple.

What was the thematic focus of the Symposium?

Visitors to museums and sites of heritage are frequently invited to immerse themselves in the lives of past generations. With a fresh emphasis on emotion, feeling and personal perspective, heritage professionals have sought new ways to engage audiences with affective stories about objects, people and places, bringing the past to life, making it more familiar, and making it matter to audiences. But empathy is much easier to talk about than it is to curate. Is it possible to step into the shoes of long dead historical actors and see or feel the world as they did? How have heritage sites and museums built emotional content into the visitor experience, and how have visitors reacted?” (from the Symposium programme).

Several invited speakers presented their work on the day, linking research in several heritage contexts in the UK and overseas that examines emotionally resonant visitor experiences.

Professor Ciolfi spoke of the vision of CultureLabs and of the challenges in understanding and supporting the process of engagement of migrant communities into the work of museums and other cultural institutions. While the importance and value of culture and heritage for social inclusion, empathy, and emotional wellbeing are broadly recognised, CultureLabs is developing knowledge and tools to make sure that such engagement can be realised and benefit both migrant and refugee communities and the general public so to engender dialogue and empathy.

Plenary Meeting in Helsinki, 5-6 Nov

In November the Plenary Meeting of the CultureLabs consortium gathered representatives of all the partners together in Helsinki to go over the progress and polish the details of the future plans of the project. The topics of the meeting held at the premises of the Finnish Heritage Agency ranged from the structure and suggested wireframes of the recipe creator and search functions of the CultureLabs platform to possible ways of promoting and establishing new collaborations with other projects and stakeholders.

During the meeting, the consortium members reached a general agreement on some of the main wireframes related to important functionalities of the CultureLabs platform, the metadata describing the published resources, and the types of search filters to be used for searching for past and ongoing participatory activities (recipes), cultural resources (ingredients), etc. The outcomes of the meeting will inform the implementation of an initial architecture and prototype of the CultureLabs platform that is currently under development.

The partners also explored the social and historical contexts of migration in Europe and their socio-cultural implications in today’s societies. Ideas were shared on how to communicate about these issues by integrating them with the activities and objectives of the CultureLabs project. One of the central topics were the surveys that will be started soon covering institutions of various sectors as well as communities with migrant background in order to find out about their experiences of participatory projects and their needs.

The Plenary Meeting was concluded with a guided tour in the inspiring exhibition Story of Finland at the National Museum of Finland (https://www.kansallismuseo.fi/en/exhibitions/suomen-tarina), which represents a new innovative way to build and curate a museum exhibition and provided great example of how digital technology can be used to add layers to the stories of an exhibition.

The meeting provided the consortium with useful feedback from each other and fresh, collaboratively cooked ideas to continue the work with.

“Is it still possible to speak about identity in a strongly globalized and contaminated context, marked by uprooting, mobility and migration? The re-emergence of nationalism reveals a new urgency concerning the sense of belonging that contradicts existing cultural hybridization.”

These and other issues will be discussed at the international seminar in Florence, organised by The Murate Contemporary Art Projects and the European University Institute on Thursday –  November, 22.

The event aims aims to provide insights, analysis and reflections about global identity dynamics, with particular attention to cultural production, the hybridization of languages ​​and postcolonial narratives.

The day is also an opportunity to examine the Europe and its cosmopolitan identity, the relationship between art, global and local dimension as well as the relationship between art and modern cities.

See the programme and the speakers on: http://www.lemuratepac.it/en/global-identities/

Uncovering the Hidden Heritage of Europe

With 98 stories submitted, the European Heritage Stories is one of the key initiatives of European Year of Cultural Heritage. By presenting Europe’s hidden heritage gems, it enables a wider recognition of less known heritage places and objects, highlighting the remarkable work of local heritage groups.

Moreover, the grants programme that will be available to ten selected stories is a way to support the ideas that can change Europe’s heritage landscape.

Specifically, the Call for European Heritage Stories is a pilot initiative intending to identify the European Dimension of heritage sites and heritage work undertaken by the communities in Europe. It refers to past or existing “stories” that communities would like to share and potentially develop into a project to further contribute to their communities.

The Call is one of the key initiatives within the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) 2018, organised under the two slogans: “European Year of Cultural Heritage: The Art of Sharing” and “Our heritage: where the past meets the future”. In the framework of the joint vision of shared European values, the Call is also open to the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award winners and the European Heritage Label sites.

Source: www.europeanheritagedays.com/Home.aspx

CultureLabs - Meeting in Barcelona

Last 3rd and 4th of July, CultureLabs consortium gathered in an intense and productive two-day workshop at the huge ex-industrial-now-cultural “creation factory” Fabra i Coats in Barcelona.

The two-day meeting helped CultureLabs to be shaped as an increasingly more coherent project, in which actors share a common language and know each other’s understandings and goals for this three years journey.

The workshop has been conducted and defined the methodology and working methos around which the project will be structured: user-centered design, agile development, and co-creation to the environments of social innovation through Cultural Heritage.

The sessions were framed under the metaphor of cooking vocabulary used by CultureLabs: participants were building projects as if they were recipes, which made it much easier in terms of ingredients (anything needed for a collaborative project to turn out tasty and well prepared); addressing the needs of different target audiences.

The work finalised three examples of social innovation and social inclusion presented as recipes: Platoniq’s “Moving communities”, People’s History Museum’s “Community curating” and COOSS’s “Human library”; helping how to translate the different actions into a recipe.

 

Further information about the meeting was collected in our “Resources” section: please see the Workshop Facilitator’s Manual and the Ignition Workshop Report.

 

The Medici touch: exhibition shows how Florence fell for Islamic art

A range of educational proposals aimed at visitors to the Galleries, with particular attention to the Florentine public and new citizens, who will appreciate an extraordinary cultural and artistic heritage coming from the Islamic countries of the Mediterranean up to Persia.

This initiative promoted by the Uffizi Gallery is a sign of the continuity of exchanges and contacts between the Tuscan capital and the Islamic world in its many facets since the Middle Ages.

Source:

The International Committee for the Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities (CAMOC) in partnership with the Commonwealth Association of Museums (CAM) and the International Committee for Regional Museums (ICR) have launched their joint project Migration:Cities | (im)migration and arrival cities

 

The project is strongly related to migration and the current refugee crisis. How was the project born? What are its main aims?

The project Migration:Cities was organically born a couple of years ago in late 2014, when CAMOC decided that City Museums and Migration would be the theme to reflect on throughout 2015, the year CAMOC Committee celebrated its 10th year anniversary.  Read more

An “intercultural vision” of some masterpieces of the Uffizi Galleries

“Views from around the world” narrates the meetings of different cultures at the Uffizi Galleries.

The project is an opportunity to compare perspectives from several countries, a step towards building an intercultural dialogue.

“Views from around the world” discloses feelings, thoughts and memories originated from the encounter between art and people of different cultures, suggesting singular perceptions, enriching the cultural heritage and promoting an intercultural exchange.

With the purpose of fostering the social role of the museum, this project is the result of a research that involved local associations and citizens of different backgrounds.

People from different cultures offer their point of view, sharing a different way of seeing and experiencing the museum and its heritage.

Source: Galleria degli Uffizi

Culture Labs: image from kick-off meeting

What is CultureLabs?

CultureLabs is an Horizon 2020, funded under the Societal Challenges pillar, with the aim to develop novel methodologies and ICT tools that can facilitate the organisation and wider deployment of participatory projects for social innovation through cultural heritage.

CultureLabs’ case studies and pilots focus on different immigrants communities and seek to build bridges between their grassroots living culture and institutional cultural heritage.

 

How to build and encourage social innovation? A brief “cooking” lesson

The first step is to identify the needs of institutional stakeholders as well as of immigrants and the kind of resources – “ingredients” that will be collected in the CultureLabs and experimented/implemented during the pilots.

After collecting ingredients, the project envisages to define what a “recipe” should comprise and what kind of digital services can assist the succesful organisation of such recipes. How do partecipatory activities enable social inclusion? How to encourage it through cultural heritage?

Of course, there are “chiefs” that have already made existing recipes. In this regards CultureLabs would thank the participants of our kick-off meeting, speakers representing REACH project and Greek organisations active in the Cultural Heritage and social innovation fields:

 

Follow our magazine section to know these and new recipes for social innovation!