Minutes – Ghent Conference 2017
Minutes: Worklab General Assembly
7th September 2017, 10.22 – 12.09
De Krook City Library of Ghent, Belgium
Present: Anne Mahn (Technoseum, Germany), Konrad Gutkowski (LWL Industriemuseum, Germany), Julia Usacheva (Museum of Political History, Russia), Niklas Cserhalmi (Museum of Work, Sweden), Helena Törnqvist (Museum of Work, Sweden), Søren Bak-Jensen (Workers’ museum, Denmark), and Torsten Nilsson (Aviation museum, Sweden), Elin Felskog (Military museums, Sweden),
1. Opening of the Assembly. Chairman Kalle Kallio opened the meeting at 10.22 and welcomed all the participants from Worklab museums and other institutions. Last conference (3–9 July 2016, Milan, Italy) with CIMUSET was not an official meeting and therefore no minutes were read.
2. Agenda of the assembly was accepted. Assembly started with participants presenting themselves. All the participants told about their institutions and current situation in their countries.
3. Chairman Kalle Kallio gave a short presentation of Worklab and its activities during last three years and coming next three years.
During the years 2014-2017 Worklab members has been closing Work with Sounds project (2013–2015) and held three conferences in Steyr (2014), Dortmund (2015) and Milan (2016). Worklab website (www.worklab.info) has been used for disseminating information with Facebook and but mainly with emails. Worklab has not collected membership fees and avoided accounting with this as well. All the costs has been covered with member institutions themselves.
Kallio noted that traditionally Worklab has been good when generating projects and changing ideas with like-minded institutions. This network is small, informal, sometimes ineffective and not very scientific. Worklab need active members to succeed and network should not be restricted on top-levels of organisations.
Concerning the future (2017-2020) Worklab is just organizing a joint conference with IALHI which started right after the Worklab meeting. Conferences for 2018–2020 were open and next General Assembly should be held in 2020. Sounds of Changes project (2017–2019) has just started but developing new projects will be important during these three years too. It is also important to think, if Worklab is going to organize conferences together with other networks or on its own.
4. Next conferences. Some of the Worklab members have just started a new EU project called Sounds of Changes. Project will have one of its meetings in Tampere, Finland 2018. General Conference approved that next Worklab conference will be organised in Tampere at the same time with the project meeting. Theme of the conference will be related to sounds in exhibitions. The Finnish Labour Museum will take care of organizing matters with the project group and Worklab.
The 2019 conference can be organised in Copenhagen. The theme of the conference could be related to more general themes like relaunching labour museums, their development, processes and partners. It could include theoretical perspectives and everyday issues of working life museums. The conference will be hosted by Workers’ museum and theme will be developed later on.
5.-7. Future plans of Worklab, future projects and possible funding bids. Worklab has been exceptionally successful in project creation. Sounds of Changes (2017–2019) is the latest EU project developed inside Worklab network. Participants discussed about potential project ideas and especially about migration. How to truly include migrants and asylum seekers in museum work? These projects cannot be made in a traditional way anymore: work is changing and refugee biographies are more diverse than they used to be. Collections are not sufficient for new stories. Technoseum is thinking about a project on these themes.
8. Elections. Board has included a chairman and six members. By the constitution, the board is elected for the next three years. The General Assembly unanimously decided the new board for Worklab for the years 2017–2020:
- Katy Ashton, secretary (People’s History Museum, UK)
- Katrin Auer (Museum Arbeitswelt Steyr, Austria)
- Søren Bak-Jensen (Workers’ Museum, Denmark)
- Konrad Gutkowski (LWL Industriemuseum, Germany)
- Kalle Kallio, chairman (The Finnish Labour Museum)
- Irena Marušic, vice-chairman (Technical Museum of Slovenia)
- Helena Törnqvist (Museum of Work, Sweden)
9. There were no other questions arising.
Closing the General Assembly. The assembly was closed at 12.09.