MeLa European Museums and Libraries in/of the Age of Migrations is a four-year research project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, which aims to delineate new approaches for museums and libraries in a context characterized by the continuous migration of people and ideas. Its main objectives are to advance knowledge in the field and to support museum and library communities, practitioners, experts and policymakers in developing new missions and forms of museums and libraries “in the age of migration”.
link to MeLa abstract
Read more on www.mela-project.eu
Assistant of MeLa Project Coordinator
DPA-Politecnico di Milano
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32
via Golgi 39
block 34/3rd floor
There is every hope that museums and libraries, as institutions for the conservation and transmission of cultural values, find themselves today in the middle of a process involving the construction of a pluralistic civic community which should be able of express the variety and dynamics of people’s ever-changing needs as well as the multiplicity of contemporary transnational culture.
The state of this situation is the main food for thought of MeLa Project.
The Project, funded in 2011 by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, proceeds from the European Call “Reinterpreting Europe’s cultural heritage: towards 21st century libraries and museums?“ It intends to define new strategies for the multi-inter-transcultural organization of the conservation, exhibition and transmission of knowledge in ways and forms that could reflect the conditions posed by the migration of people and ideas in the global world and its influences on the European Union process during last 30 years.
MeLa is an interdisciplinary four-year programme which will reflect on the role of museums and libraries, dealing with several complex and crucial issues such as history, socio-cultural and national identity, the use of new technologies and, last but not least, exhibition design and museography.
Adapting some well known concepts like the contact zone concept, museums and libraries are being reconsidered as a historical theme, addressed on the basis of new cultural productions and new connections. Consequently their organizational structure becomes an issue of topical, historical, political and moral relations. In a manner which could be somehow utopian, museums and libraries could therefore be re-evaluated at the same time as public venues for collaboration shared control and complex translation, places of power turned into places of cultural integration, places of complex hybrid multi-cultural representation of identity (different layers of identity), places of knowledge, places of conservation and places of meeting and mutual understanding on the free ground of cultural research in every field of human knowledge.
The MeLa Project objectives therefore on the one hand aim to study and deepen the above mentioned theoretical reflections and on the other hand, to evaluate their operational effectiveness and applications on museum and library architecture, investigating how all these remarks, these changes and these new theories have influenced the practice of curatorship, the design of exhibitions and the typology of museums.
To fulfil its objectives the Project consists of nine European partners, including different universities, two museums, a research institute and a small enterprise, which have all been chosen for their specific expertise and skills in the fields of the project. They will develop different kinds of research tools and methods, some of which are more innovative, such as ‘Think Tank’ modules and ‘Research by Art’, while some others are more traditional, such as desk research and conferences.
At the end of the research project some Guidelines tested by a design application will be developed and collected in a Handbook to support museum and library communities, practitioners, experts and policymakers in developing the mission and forms of museums and libraries in the “age of migrations”.
The main objective of MeLA is to improve knowledge and advance the state of the art of cultural heritage diversity and to support the development of policy in the fields of Museum and Library mission and design in relation to the citizenship processes of the post national EU society. The project aims to bring theoretical, methodological, phenomenological and operative contributions concerning the interpretation of EU Cultural Heritage operated by leading institutions that work on “identity representation”, such as museums and libraries.
MeLA has both objectives related to contents and to the process of the research.
To fulfil its objectives, the project has been divided into 6 different themes (Research Topics) and in several actions performed through specific Working Packages (WPs) by different Research Tools.
Each Partner will participate to the Project considering its individual specificity, interests and skills to all the research activities and WPs. This should lead both to a better investigation and to stronger networking.
Following the complete list of work-packages:
WP1: Museums & Identity in History (WP Leader UNEW)
WP2: Is Cultural memory a paradigm? Why preserve it (WP Leader UNO)
WP3: EU Transnational Museums and Libraries Network (WP leader GU)
WP4: Cultural Studies in/for Museum Contexts: Museum Studies (WP leader UNO)
WP5: ICT role in Museums, Libraries and Exhibition Design (WP leader CIID)
WP6: Curatorial and artistic research (WP Leader RCA)
WP7: Envisioning Museums & Libraries for the Post-national Society (WP Leader POLIMI/DPA)
WP8: Experimental design application (WP Leader POLIMI/DPA-INDACO)
WP9: Dissemination and Exploitation (WP Leader POLIMI/POLIMI)
WP10: Project Management (WP Leader CNR)
The main outcomes of the MeLA research will encompass a wide range of results. All the outcomes will provide, together with the expected advancement of the state of the art, effective answers in increasing the awareness and capabilities of museums and libraries about their roles in promoting the EU citizenship “in the age of migration”.
- New theories on the specific topics and domains of research;
- New operative strategies;
- Museums/Libraries’ new mission, role and design;
- New technologies;
- New Research Exploitation Methods;
- Experimental Design Application;
- Public Awareness Raising and Knowledge Advancement within the Community of Museums/Libraries (through all Dissemination initiatives): Guidelines & Good Practice, Travelling Closing-Exhibition