From 15-18 November 2018, the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) gathers museum professionals in the 2018 European Capital of Culture Valletta, Malta, for its 26th annual conference to explore the crossover impact of museums at the newly inaugurated MUŻA.
NEMO has invited museums from all over Europe to investigate the different forms of values that are created when museums cooperate with other sectors, such as the learning, the social or the creative sector. Museums and their missions, responsibilities, and modes of engagement within their communities are in a constant process of transformation in response to social and economic development at local, national, and global levels.
About 200 museum professionals, culture professionals and policy makers are attending the conference. 24 speakers from 11 different countries, among them Annemies Broekgaarden, Head of Public and Education Department at the Rijksmuseum, and Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, have been invited to share their knowledge with the conference participants. The conference affirms that museums create different kinds of values to other sectors such as the social, tourism and health sector, just to name a few. NEMO advocates for museums to be fully acknowledged and given increased support to encourage those collaborations across sectors and supports the concept of mainstreaming heritage becoming a reality across EU, national, local and regional levels.
Several activities are offered at the conference including workshops, museum study visits and panel discussions, and the Children in Museums Award Ceremony will mark the end of the programme. The European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) acts as a central theme throughout the conference and NEMO will give the stage to five projects that all have been awarded with the EYCH 2018 label in the European Project Slam of EYCH 2018.
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, opened the conference. He reaffirmed museums’ significant role in society:
“Museums have an important role in building a cohesive Europe. They hold our cultural treasures and are vital in educating people, encouraging creativity, and providing incentives for the creative and cultural industries. As custodians of a range of diverse collections, all museums are in a powerful position to present stories that can build bridges between communities, regions and countries – and between the past and the future. This is a central aim of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and of the European Action Plan for Cultural Heritage, which I intend to present towards the end of the year to ensure that culture and cultural heritage remain at the top of the EU’s political priorities well beyond 2018. I am pleased that the Year has brought out so much enthusiasm across the Union, at all levels, to explore and connect all citizens with our shared roots, to raise awareness of our common history and values, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space.”
The Chair of NEMO, David Vuillaume, elaborated and suggested future possible collaborations across sectors:
“The social sector will be the main collaboration partner for museums in the future. The growing social differences and the integration of refugees are challenges which museums have to meet.”
Networks such as NEMO are necessary to empower museums; to make sure their needs are recognised, and solutions realised. NEMO’S Secretary General Julia Pagel said:
“No museum is an island! Together we are more than just the sum of us. Museums that see and act in a larger framework of partners and colleagues, across borders, are the most likely to succeed in the future. And that is want we want to provide them with through NEMO: let us bring museums together, learn from each other, discuss trends, and to jointly face our challenges.”
Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici whilst welcoming all to the conference recalled, “It is with fond memories that I recollect the official announcement jointly with President David Vuillaume in this courtyard way back in June 2015 when this project was still in its initial phases. So much has happened since then, not least to mention the termination and conclusion of this milestone project which I am pleased to note that NEMO had way back acknowledged as being in line with its vision and which it occasionally also supersedes. We look forward to continue investing in much needed innovation which MUŻA represents, and in projects that can be considered as being truly out of the box by connecting and bridging with varied stakeholders, including those that are on the margins of contemporary societies.”
The conference is held in the 2018 European Capital of Culture’s highly anticipated and newly opened MUŻA museum. Sandro Debono, Project Lead of MUŻA, emphasises the added value that the new museum and initiatives such as the European Capital of Culture brings to a city like Valletta:
“Valletta 2018 has placed Malta and Valletta on the map through greater exposure and a strong year-long cultural programme featuring major events throughout the year. Were it not for the European Capital of Culture and the need for a legacy infrastructure, MUŻA might have never materialised.”
More information about the conference can be found at www.ne-mo.org/ac18
NEMO - Network of European Museum Organisations
The Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) was founded in 1992 as an independent network of national museum organisations representing the museum community of the member states of the Council of Europe. Together, NEMO’s members speak for over 30.000 museums across Europe (www.ne-mo.org).