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AN open-air museum on Skye has joined with St Andrews University in an international project to help communities across the world show their place in history. Funded by the European Union, the university will lead the project which aims to emphasise the pivotal role of community museums such as Ceumannan, the Skye Ecomuseum managed by Staffin Community Trust.
Known as EU-LAC-Museums (Concepts, Experiences and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean), the idea was conceived during a meeting of the International Council of Museums in Paris.
The project will include studies on female migration between Caribbean islands and an international touring exhibition on art and migration, as well as questions of community empowerment and sustainability in remote areas. Dr Karen Brown, director of the museums, galleries and collections institute in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, will head the four-year project.
She will lead a team working with researchers and policy makers in Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru and the West Indies to investigate how museums can help protect heritage, particularly for remote and island locations.
Ultimately, the project aims to develop models of best practice that can be used for local development, and the protection of cultural heritage.
As well as Ceumannan, the Rey Curré Museo Comunitario in Costa Rica, run by the native Boruca people, will also be participating. Both are open-air museums encouraging visitors to explore the natural landscape and traditional structures.
Brown said: “It is a tremendous privilege for St Andrews to be coordinating this new international museums project. Our collaborative research into cross-cutting issues, including sustainability, migration, regional integration and gender, will inform an important moment for museums internationally.”
The project has received funding from Horizon2020, the EU’s largest research and innovation programme.
Youth programme worker James Brown of the university said: “EU-LAC-Museums will empower young people from the remote communities of Isle of Skye, Penafiel in Portugal, Rey Curré and Boruca to discuss and share their unique cultural heritage.”