JUNE, 20. REFUGEE WORLD DAY
Strategy type (tool, event, training course, etc.)
Scope of the practice (local, national, international level)
When did it start/end?
June 20, 2019
Name of the organization
Museo diffuso della Resistenza, della Deportazione, della Guerra, dei Diritti e della Libertà
City and country
1. Describe your project briefly
The Museum, with the support of the Polo del ‘900 and the collaboration of the National Cinematographic Archive of the Resistance, proposed a new interpretation of its permanent exhibition on the occasion of the World Refugee Day. The Museum offered a temporary change of its permanent exhibition, replacing part of the usual contents with new testimonies of refugees and people who experienced war, occupation and different regimes in more or less distant times and places; the contributions, collected specifically for the occasion, were distributed in the “stations” of the museum path: “Everyday life”, “Living under bombings”; “Living under the regime”; “Living the occupation”; “Living free”. On the multimedia table, the usual documents gave way to videos with zenith shootings of refugee camps and people fleeing their country, in the search for freedom. The path ended, as usual, with the “Living the Constitution” room, to affirm that the democratic process is the only possible way to create a free and responsible community.
2. What is the aim of the project?
The Museum means to consider people to be not only visitors but also co-creators of contents, focusing on participation and activating energies, knowledge, memories in the direction of an inclusive society and a conscious citizenship. The aim was to give space to the personal stories of people with whom we sometimes believe we have little in common - and that we therefore keep at a distance - and show how the painful memories of war, regimes, oppression, loss of rights can be shared regardless of geographical origin, language, personal beliefs etc.
3. Who was involved in designing process?
The testimonies - a group of women and men coming from Rwanda, Morocco, Syria, Somalia, Bosnia, Palestine, Iran, Iraq - were introduced to the Museum by two young activists, Muna Khorzom and Ayoub Moussaid, with whom the museum had previously worked on another project. The National Cinematographic Archive of Resistance filmed and edited the interviews with the staff of the Museum and all the contents were verified and approved by those who gave their testimonies. All the process was shared with the little community involved.
4. If you could change something, what would you change?
The event was a courageous experiment, a professional challenge, designed and strongly supported by the museum staff. We would certainly change the duration of the event, in order to allow a wider audience to visit the exhibition. We would also have liked to have accompanied the exhibition with some activities and guided tours leaded by the community involved.
5. How do the project impact on civil society?
Hard to say in broad terms. We believe the project has proven that even a Museum focused on History can be a place in which today people with a different background have a space for self-expression. The visitors had a very good impression of the work done and many felt a deep emotion listening to the testimonies. The device of the museum's permanent exhibition has proved to be the perfect tool for mirroring the person who tells the story and arouse empathy from the public.
6. How do you evaluate the project’s impact?
We tried to demonstrate the museum's willingness to open up to a real dialogue with the new communities. It is always difficult to assess the impact of a single initiative. Certainly the exhibition brought new audiences at the museum and we demonstrated that co-curating is a fantastic way of facing the risk of self-referentiality, loss of relevance, and separation from the communities. The challenge is to give continuity to the process.
7. Is there anything else would you like to share with us?
It was a strong and deeply moving experience for the museum staff. We are therefore grateful for this gift to the people who worked with us.