EU-LAC-MUSEUMS: Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean is a Research and Innovation Action consortium project being carried out for 48 months (September 2016–August 2020). Coordinated by the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, it brings together eight Legal Entity Beneficiaries from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. The project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme under the
Call INT12 (2015) “The cultural, scientific and social dimension of EU-LAC relations.” Although not a policy-oriented project, our bi-regional and multi-disciplinary research is demonstrating that museums are key places where EU policies can be put to work. By overcoming societal challenges as they relate to museums and their communities in a given territory, through the mediation of International Council of Museums (ICOM) networks and Regional Alliances we are creating inclusive dialogue relating to tangible and intangible heritage for defining future priorities.
EU policy can consider and include EU-LAC-MUSEUMS project findings. A great deal can be achieved in and through community-based museums, as distinguished from mainstream museums often associated with certain demographics and funding structures that receive state attention and support. Community-based museums offer a lens through which to interrogate both macro and micro, global and local relations.
Community-based museums are often under-represented in policy directions, and yet our research findings demonstrate that social engagement and pro-active strategies advanced through these entities have the potential to challenge and enhance existing EU policy that seeks to contribute to development in Latin America
and the Caribbean, making it more relevant and sustainable for the future.
The approach to most of our work can be described as grass-roots. It involves the communities we work with at all stages of the research and innovation process – from conception to planning, implementation, dissemination and evaluation – to ensure that the impact is felt within communities. By way of the Brussels Policy Round Table and this report, we aspire to create a bridge between policy and practice, allowing community voices to speak back through our project outputs to the policy makers and funders whose priorities we are implementing.