As part of the Aesthetic Experience, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Evens Foundation have launched a new initiative in partnership with FMDO vzw that aims to explore and unlock the potential of artistic heritage to foster encounter and dialogue.
The partners in this project have invited a group of people from different social and cultural backgrounds to form a learning community that explores if and how the museums and their collections could be transformed into a space of encounter and dialogue.
In our increasingly diverse societies, where questions of European identities and European values are raised, it’s interesting to examine the places where these notions have been articulated and represented. European art history in general and our museums in particular conserve precious testimonies of aesthetic, ideological and political visions and battles. They display the specificities of European cultures, values and aspirations, the construction of often competing national narratives, and, at the same time, continuous dialogue with other cultures, mutual cross-fertilization, and contradictions, bearing traces of patriarchal or colonial visions, and persisting power relations.
Open-ended and diverse
Museum in Dialoog/Musée en Dialogue engages with recurring challenges and constraints that cultural institutions face, such as the imperative to produce specific results and deliverables, and seeks to shift the focus on to more open-ended processes and, more importantly, reaches out to a diverse audience.
The learning community is the central node of the project, working in close collaboration with the responsible staff of the museum, the Foundation and FMDO vzw and two facilitators.
The group will try to understand if and how, through both sensitive and critical inquiry, a museum and the masterpieces it houses can serve as a productive space for questioning, thinking together and belonging. At the end of the research period, the group will formulate possible approaches and contribute to the design of new mediation and education tools.
The process will be documented so that we can reflect on and share our learnings with other institutions and colleagues.