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June 20, 2019

FocusThe Museum of Our Discoveries: Empowering Young Refugees in an Urban Context

There are nearly 25.9 million refugees in the world, over half of whom are under the age of 18. What can museums do for them?

On World Refugee Day, we invite you to discover “The Museum of Our Discoveries”, a project carried out by museum professional Marlen Mouliou to empower young refugees in an urban context.

The initiative aimed to connect teenagers from a small refugee community with the city of Athens using cultural sightseeing as a medium for creating meaningful socio‐cultural experiences and the sharing and exchange of past memories.

The sightseeing experience led to an impromptu exhibition in a refugee camp in the outskirts of Athens that was co‐created by a group of teenagers from Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan.

A close-up in the photographic and textual exhibits. © Marlen Mouliou

The article describing the experience, published in ICOM’s peer-reviewed journal Museum International, reports on the context and process of this undertaking and the challenges it entailed. The project proved an empowering experience for all those involved and a learning experience for future initiatives of this kind.

→ To read the full article, log in to your account and click on the following link

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About the author

Marlen Mouliou is Lecturer in Museology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens‑­NKUA (Faculty of History and Archaeology) and Scientific Coordinator of the Postgraduate Programme in Museum Studies, NKUA. For 16 years, she worked as an archaeologist‑­museologist at the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. At ICOM, she has served as Secretary and Chair of the International Committee for the Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities (CAMOC, 2010‑2016). Currently, she is coordinator of the project Migration: Cities/(im)migration and arrival cities (Mouliou, Leme and van Dijk 2017). Since 2016, she is also a member of the Panel of Judges for the European Museum of the Year Award and Vice Chair of UNIVERSEUM (European Academic Heritage Network).


Data from UNHCR

Main picture: “The invitation card to the inauguration of the pop-up exhibition, spreading a message of connection. © Marlen Mouliou”