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Unfolding the MeLa Critical Archive (22-23 November 2014 | Venice, Architecture Biennale 2014 | Padiglione Centrale, SalaF)

Within its final weekend, the Architecture Biennale 2014 will host the launch of the MeLa Critical Archive: a two-day event will be dedicated to a preview of the contents and the architecture of the digital platform aimed at cohering, conveying and sharing the multidisciplinary investigations produced within the four year long Research Project. 

The MeLa Critical Archive has not been conceived as a mere repository of the research outcomes, but rather as a multipurpose tool. As a communicative project, it aims at representing the complexity of the approaches developed by MeLa, and illustrating its findings as a unitary jet multifarious cultural proposal. As a research instrument, it has been implemented in order to enhance synergies among the different research activities and outcomes, fostering interdisciplinary cooperation and opening further perspectives. The design of the digital platform was developed to provide multiple possibilities in accessing its contents, which can be browsed through an index, or explored through the main interface. The latter exploits the metaphor of a sky map, and offers an unstructured navigation allowing the reconfiguration of contents. Due to its experimental nature, the Critical Archive is an in-progress tool which is supposed to continuously evolve along with the Project’s advancement.

The event will take place at Padiglione Centrale (Sala F) of the Biennale, from Saturday 22nd November at 12.30 pm, until Sunday 23rd November at 3pm.

The scholars involved within the MeLa Project will be available to present and discuss the research outcomes on Saturday 22nd from 3 to 4 pm, and on Sunday from 11 am to 1 pm.                                       With the participation of: Luca Basso Peressut POLIMI, Gennaro Postiglione POLIMI, Chris Whitehead  UNEW, Victoria Walsh  RCA, Perla Innocenti GU, Eleonora Lupo  POLIMI, Francesca Lanz POLIMI, Elena Montanari POLIMI,  Muñoz Maite MACBA,  Jakob Bak CIID, Catherine Descure  CIID.

Portraits of Cultural Relations in the “Diálogos Migrantes, Fotografies de Joan Tomás” (17 May to 23 July – Museu d’Historia de la Immigració de Catalunya, Sant Adrià de Besós, Barcelona )

                                                                                                          ©Photos by Joan Tomás

The exhibition of the photographic series Diálogos Migrantes, Fotografies de Joan Tomás - created with the soul of Joan Tomás consists in 13 portrait photos (4 of couples, 8 of single people and 1 event poster) accompanied by explanatory texts in catalan, extracted from the personal history of the people portrayed.

As part of the program “Diálogues Migrants” promoted by the Mescladis Foundation, the exhibition is obviously closely related to the international relations of people who emigrate to the region of Catalonia. It is much in line with the purpose of the museum – Museu d’Historia de la Immigració de Catalunya , where the exhibition was displayed, that work with the exchanges, cultural relations and migratory/citizenship conduct. The “Dialogues Migrants” program is propose as a tool for community development and social art, addressing migration from a historical perspective, investigating the first migratory roots of Spaniards in the 50′s / 60′s decided to migrate and how was that experience, then analyze, from that perspective, the current situation of migrants, giving them the prominence and word to explain their struggles, dreams and difficulties.

Mescladis as a solidarity economy initiative, it’s responsible for the setup and disassembling of the exhibition. The Mescladís project aims to promote social cohesion through community development activities and facilitate socio-labor integration of socially excluded sectors through training and solidarity economy activities. To complete, Joan Thomas is a multidisciplinary creative photographer who focuses on portraiture and documentary photography. Throughout his career he has worked in photojournalism, film production, fashion photography and advertising, working with leading Spanish magazines.

Renata Alves Margarido

Heritage & Identity: What makes you who you are? (5 November 2014 – Newcastle University)

The fifth Heritage Debate, promoted the Heritage Alliance within the Newcastle Heritage Debate 2014 series, will take place on 5 November 2014 at Newcastle University (Armstrong Building, King’s Hall). This Debate explores the highly topical issue of heritage and identity – what makes you who you are. It will review how heritage contributes to and is used to create identity from a range of different perspectives, European, national and regional, community and individual.

Dr Rhiannon Mason, Senior Lecturer in “Museum, Gallery, and Heritage Studies” at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies of Newcastle University and one of the main investigators within MeLa Research Field 01, is part of the debate’s panel together with Graham Bell, Secretary of Europa Nostra UK and Director North of England Civic Trust, and Izzy Mohammed, Audience Engagement Coordinator at the Library of Birmingham. The panel wil be chaired by Loyd Grossman OBE FSA, Chairman, The Heritage Alliance

‘EMEE: Young Scenographers Contest’: Changing the Perspective for European Museum Objects (28 November | University of Augsburg, Germany)

The Young Scenographers Contest is an international, trans-disciplinary design competition promoted within the Research Project EuroVision: Museums Exhibiting Europe (EMEE), European museum development project for national and regional museums, funded by the Culture Programme of the European Union in November 2012 and aimed at exploring interdisciplinary approaches for museums to re-interpret their objects in a broader context of European and  transnational history.

The Young Scenographers Contest is dedicated to the development of the theme “One Object – Many Visions – EuroVisions”. Its goal is the definition of new transcultural approaches to present regional objects in a European dimension via contemporary, content consistent exhibition design and new formats of presentation. Further information can be downloaded at: » Read more

Call for Papers -”Museum and Society” Journal (Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK)



Museum & Society invites those using sociological approaches to understanding museums or museum-related topics to submit papers to a special issue of the journal. The editors are keen to develop further the sociological scope of the journal, and wish to encourage work and publish articles covering a wide range of social science, humanities and practitioner research, under the following general headings:

1. Papers that report new theoretically-engaged, empirically-grounded research on museums. Amongst potential areas of special interest are:

  • Social elites, power and museums
  • Corporate sponsorship
  • The public sphere and the notions of publics
  • Museums, architecture, space and the built environment
  • Museums, identity and difference (e.g. class, age, gender and/or ethnicity)
  • Sociology of knowledge, art, science
  • Nature and Society
  • Political-economy of Museums
  • Museums and Religion
  • Museums and national cultural trends
  • Historical sociology of museums/collections
  • Government policy and museums
  • Out-door museums including zoos, national parks and gardens.

2. Papers that report on museum-related topics such as collecting, socio-cultural trends, cultural policy, social memory, time, heritage and tourism but where the main theme may not be museums. Such papers would seek to broaden the field of inquiry by drawing attention to the ways in which museums are implicated/imbricated by broader social forces.

3. Papers that focus on how museum research has been informed by key sociological concepts, e.g. social class, cultural capital, globalization, post-colonialism, post-modernism, or methods/approaches, such as ethnography, STS, Actor-Network Theory or Visual Methods. Such papers might, for example, show how museum research provides a critical extension of the concept(s) or approaches under review.

4. Papers that deal critically with social theorists whose ideas have influenced museum studies in recent years and which assess their contributions to the field.

5. Papers that explore the role of the sociological imagination within museums (exhibitions and displays) and the impact of sociology on museum practice.

Museum and Society is an interdisciplinary peer reviewed journal with a wide ranging interest in all issues associated with museums and other places of public culture concerned with collecting, exhibiting and display. It’s published on-line by the Department of Museum Studies of the University of Leicester.


Renata Alves Margarido

A Construction ‘On Identity’: Photographical Insights on the Evolution of the Self (10 September – 25 October | Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York )

©Photos by Lindsay Morris, Chris Rijksen, Laia Abril, Jen Davis and Olya Ivanova

Emerging from the diversity and singular needs and identities, an extensive variety of museum topics and ways to present its content, much of this complex phenomenon can be dealt by the understanding of the boundaries between socially and culturally constructed identities.

On this note, the Souls Les Etoiles Gallery in New York presents the featured work of five established and arising photographers on the construction of identity and its ongoing evolution, with a special emphasis on the play and staging of the self. » Read more

‘Western Union: Small Boats (The Leopard)’: Isaac Julien’s Journey of a Mediterranean “Clandestine” (11 September – 25 October | Urban Video Project, Everson, New York)

On the critical constellation called modernity, different representations of events are portrayed in several times and locations, that come together in the engagement of key concepts such as memory, locality, belonging, identity and history (as widely illustrated by, for example, Iain Chambers). The following suggestion meets this focus subject in the way that represents the reality of the “clandestine” ‘s journeys in the Mediterranean Sea.

In this regard, the Urban Video Project (a multi-media public art initiative of Light Work and Syracuse University) has opened the 2014-15 programming year on September 11th with the exhibition “Western Union: Small Boats (The Leopard)” by the world-renowned visual artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien. This exhibition marks the beginning of “Celestial Navigation: A Year into the Afro Future”, a year-long program of exhibitions and events at Urban Video Project, that will explore the work of major established, emerging artists and partner organizations through an afrofuturist lens as its point of departure.

On October 3rd, as part of the exhibition Isaac Julien discussed his philosophies on creating moving image art in his in-person talk, “Choreographing the Moving Image: Post Cinematic Desire and the Politics of Aesthetics”, in the Hosmer Auditorium of the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. » Read more

“Bridge Over Troubled Waters? The Link Between European Historical Heritage and the Future of European Integration” (17 October 2014 | National Research Council, Rome)

Under the purpose of engaging on interesting discussions around the Social Sciences and Humanities, the Reflective Societies Unit of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, in cooperation with FLASH-IT and APRE, has organised the workshop “Bridge Over troubled Waters? The Link Between European Historical Heritage and the Future of European Integration”, which will take place in Rome on 17th October.

This workshop revolves around the problematic of the interconnectedness of the past, present and the future in the current European societies. It aimes at initiating a discussion about the potential meaning of “reflective societies” as societal challenge for current European societies in general and for setting the European research agenda under Horizon 2020 in particular. » Read more

Different Photographic and Thematic “Views on Africa” ( 20 September – 19 October | Kunsträume der Michael Horbach Stiftung, Köln)

©Photos by Thomas Dorn, Jan Grarup, Per-Anders Pettersson, Peter Bialobrzeski, Obie Oberholzer  and Christian Lutz.

On the occasion of the renown imaging fair Photokina and during the Cologne Photoszene Festival, the Cologne-based leading photo agency laif Agentur für Photos & Reportagen has exhibited the works of six photographers, offering different thematic and photographic perspectives on “Africa”. The exhibition is displayed in the Art Spaces of the Michael Horbach Foundation from 20th September to 19th October 2014.

The includes works by: Per-Anders Pettersson (“Rainbow Transit”), Jan Grarup (“Somalia”), Christian Lutz (“Tropical Gift”), Obie Oberholzer (Long Distance”), Peter Bialobrzeski (“Informal Arrangements”) and Thomas Dorn (“Houn-Noukoun – Gesichter und Rhythmen Afrikas”).

These multiple awarded photographers show their personal views on Africa from very different angles. They accompany people between gold rush fever and disillusion in the post-apartheid South Africa, they dive into the world of economy with its consequences for society and environment in Nigeria and in Somalia, that is torn by war and terrorism, into the dreamlike world of traveling – which promises freedom and happiness, they present an insight into the living and bedrooms in the slums of Kliptown in South Africa and last but not least, they lead us into the world of African rhythms which reflect the diversity of this gorgeous continent.

Renata Alves Margarido

Debating about a ‘Creative Europe? What Should we Expect from EU Cultural Policy?’ (27 June 2014 | Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung – Forum Berlin)


The technological mediations and dynamics created a heightened awareness of the existence and emergence of methods of identity construction in the digital age. Due to an increasing level of global competition and digitalization, the artists have now to face increasing challenges that get bigger and bigger every day, and these demand greater flexibility and mobility. Crossing borders always belonged to the work and life of artists, and this new configuration comes to complicate their trans-border activities.

Therefore claims of those engaging culture-creating professionals and the balancing act between national and international support programmes leads to difficulties in work and private life. The general trends toward liberalization and the growing dominance of economic paradigms has not failed to affect Europe’s cultural world. Many artists and political actors have come to believe that the freedom and independence of art and culture are in jeopardy (an example for this phenomenon is the intensively disputed topic of the North American Free Trade Agreement).

These topics were widely discussed during the international conference “Creative Europe? What Should we Expect from EU Cultural Policy”, which focused on the requirements for a European Cultural Policy, through the dialogue with culture creating people from different countries and representatives from politics, economy and science. The event was held on June 27th at the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung – Forum Berlin. » Read more