Meeting Minutes, June 2002
Meeting of the Migration, Work and Identity, Culture 2000 Programme,12-16 June 2002, Museum Arbeitswelt, Steyr, Austria
Myna Trustram, Manchester
Jaume Matamala, Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya,
Cath Birchall, People’s History Museum, Manchester
Pete Brown, People’s History Museum, Manchester
Catharine Rew, People’s History Museum, Manchester
Anne Lise Walsted, Arbejdermuseet, Copenhagen
Peter Ludvigsen, Arbejdermuseet, Copenhagen
Morten Bo Almstrup, Arbejdermuseet, Copenhagen
Mikael Parr, Arbetets Museum, Norkopping
Torsten Nilsson, Arbetets Museum, Norkopping
Maud Fjellman, Arbetets Museum, Norkopping
Rita Klages, Nachbarschaftsmuseum, Berlin
Elisabeth Tietmeyer, Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Berlin
Silke Vorst, Museumspädagogischer Dienst, Berlin
Birte Stüve, Deutsches Technikmuseum, Berlin
Udo Wiesinger, Museum Arbeitswelt, Steyr
Michael John, Museum Artbeitswelt, Steyr
Jürgen Ellermeyer, Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg
Kerstin Römhildt, Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg
Peter Ludvigsen began the meeting by saying that last year’s report was well-received by the Commission. The report for the second year will be done in a similar manner and will go to the Commission early October 2002.
Worklab newsletter will be published in autumn 2002.
Reports from the partners:
They were dismayed to find that the Ausländerbeauftragte officer post has been abolished in Hamburg. Assistance to immigrants is being withdrawn under the new policy. This has altered the focus of their work. They are meeting and interviewing people who use and work in the organisations which will be abolished. There have been demonstrations in Hamburg against the new policy.
Interviews and workshops are being held with young people. Video interviews are being conducted with migrants. They started with friends and then interviewed key people in immigrant organisations. They have done 40 interviews of 1 – 6 hours each, with people aged 20-40 years. It is hard to find older people who will agree to be interviewed. So far they have covered southern Europe, South America and Africa. They plan to cover eastern Europe and Asia. The interviewees offer intense, emotional stories. They deal with the question of how the immigrants and guest-workers are treated and the issue of integration. They are asked about living in Hamburg and being a “Hamburgian”. The workshops for young people are based on music, literature and video and there are two for small children. They will produce a small exhibition of material produced in the workshops. They will show short video films in the exhibition. Some people are shy of the camera: there are advantages and disadvantages to the use of video. Fewer school classes have come than anticipated. The work is very time-consuming.
A detailed concept has now been developed for the exhibition. Michael John took us around the museum and showed us where the various parts of the exhibition will be installed. Existing disPeter Ludvigsenays will be adapted and the following themes will be included:
The emotions of migration – fear, joy, love, hostility.
The period of the Hapsburg monarchy and its legacy.
A gasthaus used by migrants.
Reconstructions of migrants’ workshops.
National socialism – forced labour and race.
Interwar period (brickworkers).
1945 – 1955.
Reconstruction of migrants’ flats 1910 – 1990s.
Living between two societies – two cars, one going to Yugoslavia and one returning.
Demographic, economic and social information.
Film of guestworkers and their children.
Train entering the museum – to attract the attention of non-visitors.
Heimat – using objects borrowed from migrants, students, pupils and organisations.
Hall of fame – testimonials of prominent migrants.
Marketplace – food.
The People’s History Museum is now showing Moving Lives, an exhibition about the Caribbean population of Manchester. The objectives of the exhibition are to invite participation; build new audiences; make the museum more relevant to more people and to test living history as an outreach tool. Their outreach officer has made contact with Caribbean community groups, performed the Gabriella show for them and then collected objects for the exhibition and made interviews. They feel their objectives have been met. Their second exhibition, Moving Stories, will be about the South Asian population of Greater Manchester. Here they will be working with an oral historian and a photographer. An Asian living history character will also be developed.
The exhibition, Heimat Berlin?, will open in July at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen. Eight photographers from different backgrounds were invited to choose a topic to reflect aspects of everyday life in Berlin from their perspective as migrants or as children of migrants. There will be an accompanying programme of events. Heimat Berlin? is planned as an “appetizer” for the next exhibition in 2003 which will show everyday objects of the “new” Berliners.
The Deutsches Technikmuseum has run workshops with migrants from Turkey, Russia and people from a mixed language course. In the future they plan to work with Greek, Vietnamese and another mixed group. In the workshops the migrants were given the opportunity to become familiar with the museum and to use the collections to talk about their experiences of work. In further workshops people will select objects and be recorded whilst they talk about what they mean to them. The museum’s aim is to learn how they can improve the presentation of their collection so that the experiences of migrants are included.
The Berlin Platform is an initiative (from the Berlin MWI partners) to promote better understanding of migrants and other inhabitants of the city. The Platform aims to involve a wide range of organisations which work with migrants. It will distribute its findings by means of exhibitions, workshops, conferences, publications and a website.
Migration is a very topical issue in Sweden, as indeed it is everywhere. It is said that Sweden needs migrants but not refugees. They have been working in 21 towns and villages with a museum and a migrant group. The Museum of Work in Norrköping is the coordinator and gives tools and guidance. Seventeen exhibitions, a book, video and a film have been produced. They have worked with migrants from Finland, the Baltics, Italy and Yugoslavia. 300,000 Finns have come to Sweden in the last 50 years. The material from the 21 locations will now be presented in Norrköping. Each project will be presented with a textile banner. There will be programmes, debates and seminars on the theme from September to Christmas.
The aims of the Danish programme are to attract a different audience to the museum and to document the lives of migrants. Migrants normally only come if they are brought by a teacher. They are working with people from Yugoslavia, Turkey and Pakistan who came in the 1960s and 1970s. They want to produce a “cheerful” exhibition using the colours of the rainbow and want to provoke discussion. They want to avoid the usual text and photographs on boards: texts will be in suitcases. The exhibition will include, amongst other things, a historical look at migration into Denmark; a portrait gallery of famous Danes revealing their varied origins; an interactive element; homes and workplaces; language and music; shared values. Visitors will exit the exhibition via the rainbow.
Discussion about the travelling exhibition “Crossing Borders”
The designer of the exhibition showed the partners a sample of the display method for photos and brief text (no objects).
Partners must provide their own lighting.
The text will be in English.
Translations will be on leaflets, along with the sources of the photographs.
The exhibition will also be on the website.
Sound equipment will be included.
Any parts which get damaged can be replaced relatively cheaply.
Costs of repairing damage is to be covered by the venue responsible.
Each venue is responsible for maintenance costs.
Partners will be told the value of the exhibition for insurance purposes.
Each venue will be supplied with two perfect copies and a copy on a CD.
Each venue is responsible for sending it to the next venue and for making sure
the next venue gets two perfect copies and the CD.
There will be instructions on how to assemble it.
It is washable.
There will be two or three spare supports.
Caps (hats) can be put on supports.
Each section of the run consists of 3 parts each 160cm long i.e. a total of 480cm.
It will come with a video for showing films and slides.
There will be a computer.
The exhibition will be packed in cases.
Transport costs can only be paid during the life of the project i.e. up to 1.11.03.
Each venue must provide its own publicity which can be based on the general leaflet.
Copyright needs to be cleared by each partner before sending material to Steyr. There is no money in the budget for copyright costs.
The exhibition will be a collage. It will start with a historical dimension, multiculturality in Europe and end with a section showing how Europe will be a more diverse place because of immigration. It will show dreams and difficulties.
Michael John outlined the material sent so far and repeated the themes of the exhibition:
A kaleidoscope/collage about migration to Europe.
Constraints and dreams.
Migration as part of a common European experience.
Reasons for migration.
Relations with indigenous population.
Racism and zenophobia.
The photographs will be ordered by time and region.
There will be three sections:
1. History of migration into Europe.
2. Migration in the different cities/countries represented in the partnership.
3. Conclusion -about today.
Discussion about the conference and meeting 2 – 5 October 2003
The conference will be held at Museu de la Ciència I de la Tècnica de Catalunya,
Terrassa. It will be free.
Jaume Matamala i Cura outlined ideas so far. He will invite Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Ismael Haidaja to speak. Yasmin is a journalist from the UK and Ismael has written on African-European relations. He teaches at the University of Granada and is responsible for the Biblioteca Mahmud Kati.
2-3 October – conference.
4-5 October – meeting for MWI partners.
It will be the last meeting of MWI and so we will discuss the final report.
It will be the official opening of the travelling exhibition in Terrassa.
We will invite someone from the Commission to attend.
There will be two lead languages – Spanish and English. The museum will arrange interpretation.
We discussed the objectives of the conference and the target audience. A suggested theme is recent migration into southern Europe. This can be compared to earlier times when the pattern was for migration from southern Europe. This will mark a shift for MWI to a whole of Europe perspective rather than the northern perspective. Michael John mentioned a book, Majorca de los Alumanos by Carlos Garrido, (about German migration to Majorca) as an interesting source of themes. Interchange between Spanish and Islamic cultures.
One speaker will present the achievements of MWI. Michael John will speak about the Crossing Borders exhibition. Jaume Matamala i Cura will send information on hotels in Barcelona.
Discussion about the website
Torsten Nilsson introduced the website. In March it received 120 visits, in April, 166 and in May 91. The purpose of the website is to provide information to other professionals about the project. The travelling exhibition and samples of the partners’ exhibitions will go on it. There will be links to partners’ websites. Suggest information on Worklab and MWI is added to the bottom of emails. Torsten Nilsson will update the information on activities and the links. Email addresses also need updating. Pete Brown will check the English if you send it to him.
Discussion about evaluation of the project
The commission doesn’t require internal evaluation. But a discussion was held to assess the importance of the project to the partners.
Jürgen Ellermeyer: To do an exhibition you must have a European dimension. It has been useful “conflict training”! The funding has been insufficient for what they want to do but it can be used to attract further funding. Politicians can “boast about it”.
Udo Wiesinger: They have learnt about different methodological approaches. It is interesting to see the different conditions in each country. We must tell the Commission in the final report of the importance of the meetings with partners which have been held. Personal meetings are very important. We are learning about working with partners and dealing with conflict.
Pete Brown: We are all in similar museums but it is interesting to see the different approaches.
Elisabeth Tietmeyer: They didn’t join for the money because they get very little! It is good to get contacts and to work with sister museums. It is useful to discuss together and to get different perspectives and to discuss methodology.
Rita Klages: It is useful to compare methods and to work with different partners.
Catharine Rew: Agrees that the funding can be used to attract further funding. In Manchester the European dimension is not so relevant because they are dealing with Caribbean immigrants. It is good to be able to bring three people to the meetings because they take enthusiasm back to the museum.
Peter Ludvigsen: From his involvement in the Euroclio programme he can see that the cash flow has not been handled as efficiently as it might have been. It would have been better to centralise the money and pay invoices directly. It is good to be able to steal ideas from partners and to use the network.
Anne-Lise Walsted: Would have liked more time to discuss the travelling exhibition. Without the funding they would have done the same exhibition but not so soon.
A discussion on what the partners would like to do once MWI is compludvigseneted in November 2003
The travelling exhibition will continue to tour after the end of the project. Peter Ludvigsen will ask the Commission for funding to send it to Expo in Japan 2004.
Udo Wiesinger is waiting to hear the result of an application for an EU grant to produce material for interpreting migration in museums, in particular with adults. The aim is to assist the education of interpreters. Will start in September if successful. The partners are Steyr, Norkopping, Copenhagen, Vienna, Athens and Ljubljana.
The criteria for Culture 2003 is music. No details yet for 2004.
Mikael Parr said that Norrköping would like to continue to collaborate with Worklab and wants to find new topics. He is interested in a documentation project, not necessarily an exhibition. Also, women’s and gender history in museums. Torsten Nilsson said they want to do further projects and mentioned a tyre company.
Udo Wiesinger would like to build a large international network to work on migration. Peter Ludvigsen said they will incorporate migration themes into the planning of future activities in the museum so that it is a natural part. The Commission won’t fund the same network again. He would like to do a project which will attract older school students (14-18 years) to the museum. How can museums give this age group a good experience? Udo Wiesinger is also interested in this age-group and in bringing young people and adults to meet in the museum.
Discussion on other migration projects
Peter Ludvigsen will go the meeting in Bottrop of the Migration Network in Museums group (Jan Motte and Rainer Ohliger). He will offer them the travelling exhibition. Elisabeth Tietmeyer knows of another group in Berlin that wants to set up a museum on migration. She believes the subject should be integrated into existing museums. Jürgen Ellermeyer said he was sceptical too. He thought that Génériques (a French initiative) and the Swiss initiative, Verein für ein Migrationsmuseum, are good, developing projects.