Thank to funding from the European Union, six museums in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria and Spain will focus over the next three years on an extremely topical issue in contemporary Europe – migration.
This collaborative programme, “Migration, Work and Identity”, has been selected by the European Commission to be a part of the Culture 2000 programme which runs over three years. The coordination of the project is undertaken by the Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen. The exact amount of the grant will be known in January 2001.
Each partner museum will carry out a research and exhibition programme on migration, working life and cultural identity. Staff from the different museums will work with immigrants’ organisations, university colleagues, and other interested individuals to produce exhibitions, publications, education programmes and outreach activities. The results of the programme will be exhibited, debated and published in the individual countries. The partners will also produce an international travelling exhibition which will look at migration within the European context.
Each museum will design its own programme relevant to the particular circumstances of its city or region.
The Museum of Work in Sweden is calling its project “Dreaming of a better life”. It is coordinating 25 local exhibitions called “Immigrant Labour”, a travelling exhibition, “Humans”, and will end with a conference for researchers, volunteers and immigrants.
The Danish project – called “Cultural Identity Seen From Below” – from the Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen, focuses on the second generation of immigrant workers.
Two partners from Germany will contribute. The Museum of Work in Hamburg takes as its starting point the city’s central location for emigration, transit and immigration and will create, in collaboration with different migrant communities, the exhibition, “Divided Worlds”. The Neighbourhood Museum in Berlin works together with other local museums and with the museum education service on the theme “Europe in Berlin – Headwear – Symbol and Sign of Identity”.
The “Peopling of Manchester”, run by the National Museum of Labour History will focus on the meaning of migration for different communities, running up to the UK’s Year of Cultural Diversity and the Commonwealth Games to be held in Manchester in 2002.
In Austria the Working World Museum at Steyr will look at the different forms of migration in the province.
The research findings, conference papers and the exhibition programmes will for the present be disseminated through this website.
A conference at the Museum of Science and Technology at Terrassa outside Barcelona will complete the collaboration in 2003 and present the international travelling exhibition to the Spanish public.
The collaboration has been made possible by Worklab, the International Association of Labour Museums, which exists to promote the interests of museums of work and of labour. The partners are all members of Worklab and as such are skilled in international partnerships and so ideally placed to carry out this programme.