How do contemporary museums deal with the presence of multiple and sometimes opposing views on their collections? How do they allow communities to share their stories with audiences who may have radically different readings of the same historical events? How can they respond to political and cultural concerns to mobilise social change?
These shared challenges are not confined within national borders, and we believe that it is only by joining forces and learning from each other that we can fully benefit from the potential of cultural heritage to address societal challenges. Sharing Stories on Contested Histories programs aim to contribute to international dialogue on the practice of navigating complex stories, and to strengthen the international heritage community.
In 2018, 2019 and 2021, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the Heritage Lab jointly organised the international training Sharing Stories on Contested Histories for young professionals.
The fourth edition took place online from 13-25 November 2022. More information can be found on the programme page here. For a first hand impression, a blog from British participant Dr Sophie Vohra can be found here.
Heritage Lab’s international collaborations are exchange programmes designed and aimed for sustainable reciprocity. We value inclusivity with an emphasis on multivocality and diversity. These values are at the core of how we approach partnership and collaboration. Our projects integrate built-in interaction, co-creation and sustainable mid-term interventions with the aim of true mutual learning. Sharing the learning experience on equal footing benefits all parties. Further, international partnerships on the basis of knowledge exchange expand and broaden the field of expertise on museum and cultural heritage studies.
Our international knowledge exchange activities are a part and parcel of the Reinwardt Academy’s bachelor’s and master’s programmes, as well as the Research group Cultural heritage. The nature of these study programmes and research is practice-based, yet strongly embedded in theoretical discourses on museum and cultural heritage studies. In all our activities we believe in the direct connection between theory and practice. We constantly update to actual developments in the field and focus on new approaches.
In line with organisations such as the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, various Dutch Embassies and DutchCulture, we often cooperate within the framework of International Cultural Heritage Cooperation.
As part of the Moroccan-Dutch Museum Exchange Programme, in December 2022 the Reinwardt Academy (RWA) welcomes and hosts eight museum professionals from Morocco an intensive training programme organized by the Heritage Lab in collaboration with DutchCulture, the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency and the Dutch embassy in Morocco. Sessions at the Reinwardt Academy cover audience engagement, museum management and collections management. In addition, the programme brings participants in dialogue and onsite visits with the Van Gogh Museum, Tropenmuseum and Cobra Museum. Click here for more information on the programme.
In October 2022, the Heritage Lab and the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency will join the Museum Intensives Training Programme (MI) of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka (MMCA Sri Lanka), working in partnership with MMCA to deliver the first Museum Intensives focusing on audience engagement, strengthening cross-cultural knowledge and expertise sharing between professionally engaged learning organizations in Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. MI is a series of training programmes organized for Sri Lankan professionals in museums and collection-based cultural institutions. The programme aims to catalyse knowledge-sharing and professional development in under-explored areas in the sector.