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June 5, 2020

ConferenceEU-LAC Museums Project – Webinars: Community-based Museums in Times of Crisis

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its catastrophic effect on museum and heritage communities, three webinars will focus on the topic of community-based museums in times of crisis.

Consisting of four or five speakers in each session, the online discussions, open to all, are created in the context of reinforcing cultural relations between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, in the frame of the Horizon2020 EU-LAC Museums project.

Since 2016, this research project has supported community-based museums in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean in partnership with the European and Latin America and Caribbean Regional Alliances of ICOM. However, in each year of our project’s existence we have weathered a number of difficult circumstances, including the impact of El Niño Costero in Peru in 2017, the hurricanes in Costa Rica and the Caribbean in 2018, the civil unrest in Chile in 2019, and most recently the last-minute postponement of our final General Assembly in Costa Rica owing to the travel restrictions of COVID-19.

Our years of working bi-regionally have demonstrated that, by highlighting their social function, museums can take on a relevant role in the containment, reflection, and memory of crises – when they are over. The project has already demonstrated that museums cannot only plan and prepare for disaster, but can also be reliably called upon to help communities recover when disaster strikes (both in the short and long term). By responding to crisis situations, museums involved in EU-LAC Museums are helping their museum and heritage communities to grow in resilience as a result. The COVID-19 pandemic represents a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate how – while working close with community museums and local leaders – we can together overcome adversity, survive, and later thrive.

The five speakers invited to participate in the first webinar are members of the EU-LAC Museums Steering Committee and Advisory Board. Drawing on a wide expertise in community-based museums and social resilience, the webinar speakers have contributed to the project compendium “On Sustainable and Community Museums”.

The session will be chaired by the Project Coordinator, Karen Brown (University of St Andrews), and is jointly organised by Lauran Bonilla-Merchav (ICOM Costa Rica; University of Costa Rica) and Jamie Allan Brown (University of St Andrews).

During the second webinar, researchers from Latin American museums will share insights from EU-LAC Museums affected by crises. The third and last webinar will be specifically devoted to the role of digital technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

List of Speakers invited to speak for 10 minutes each, followed by a Q&A:

Webinar 1: Friday 12 June, 4 p.m. (UK BST)

Topic: Community-based museums in times of crisis
Co-moderators: Lauran Bonilla-Merchav and Karen Brown
Languages: English; moderation in English and in Spanish

Keynote: Hugues de Varine (France)

Speaker: Luís Raposo (Portugal); Beatriz Espinoza (Chile); Teresa Morales (Mexico); Samuel Franco Arce (Guatemala)

Technical specifications:

  • All three webinars will be hosted on zoom. A zoom link for each webinar will be provided through EU-LAC Museums Facebook Page
  • Webinar 1 will be co-moderated by Karen Brown and Lauran Bonilla-Merchav, who will be taking questions from the Live Chat on zoom by the end of the webinar
  • The webinars will be archived with subtitles in Spanish for future viewing, and will be uploaded on the EU-LAC Museums
    Youtube Channel “Museos Comunitários”

The “Community-based Museums in Times of Crisis” webinars are hosted by the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI), School of Art History, University of St Andrews in collaboration with the EU-LAC Museums project, ICOM-Europe and ICOM-LAC.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693669.