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.
An Advisory Board consisting of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the Foundation and several civil society organisations will invite a group of people from different social and cultural backgrounds, who may be regular or first-time visitors of the museum, to form a learning community.
Open-ended and diverse
The project 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, outreach to a truly diverse audience.
The learning community will be the central node of the project, working in close collaboration with the museum team. Together they will agree on the framework and a set of guiding principles that allow new ideas and adjustments to emerge.
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.