EU-LAC Museums is an international team of 35 museum professionals, researchers and policy makers across the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
Since 2014, this international collaboration has jointly developed new wisdom about museum community development, youth work, and digital curation, to examine and promote a vision of museums focused on community needs. To date, this project has successfully set-up exchanges and improved relations between154 countries with 108,365 people engaging in person or online with the project activities and its web portal.
The impressive scale of the initiative is ensured by funding of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme. Project partners include the University of St Andrews in Scotland (Coordinator), ICOM, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, National Museum of Costa Rica, Austral University in Chile, University of the West Indies, University of Valencia in Spain, and National Archaeology Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Jury praises the value of the intercultural, intercontinental and international relations created and sustained by EU-LAC Museums: “EU-LAC is a well-established international network that shares cultural values through the management and care for cultural buildings and monuments. Not only do they represent an international collaboration between expert organisations, the network gradually built a community with many smaller organisations in several cultural sectors in different parts of the world, creating a common language through the identification of a common goal.”
One of EU-LAC’s many achievements is their own international and interdisciplinary museum education programme. They have delivered to policy makers — including UNESCO and EU-level organisations — new scenarios for re-thinking the definition of museums and community museums in ways that accentuate their social role and potential for local development. This is increasingly relevant in the context of the current health crisis and for post-crisis recovery. Such scenarios were co-created by 125 community workshops held between September 2016 and July 2020 in all partner countries. Notably, these community workshops focused on the importance of intangible or ‘living’ heritage transferred between generations, particularly among communities in remote locations, and management in environmental crises.
Over the years, EU-LAC Museums has undertaken many initiatives with great intra- and intercultural community impact, such as the Bi-Regional Youth Exchange Programme (September 2016 – August 2018), engaging 7 community museums and 72 young people from Costa Rica, Portugal and Scotland. During the Bi-Regional Youth Exchange Programme, 42 workshops were organised with volunteers, community elders and young people who exchanged and shared practicesacross regions and opinions on issues facing their communities, e.g. climate resilience and depopulation. Another example is the international dialogue established through Caribbean museums and Higher Education in the form of exhibitions, recordings and publications on Caribbean migration to the UK.
“The EU-LAC project succeeded in developing an international network with a great impact in local areas, reaching over 1 million people, including online participants. In the form of community-led museums EU-LAC addresses interaction among civil societies on an international scale, particularly in developing countries where improved community resilience is a necessity in the face of global imbalances and rapid change.,” the Jury noted.