The cultural resources of the museums should be in reach of all citizens, including training and exchange of knowledge created from the art. In network of museums we hope that the museum pieces are accessible, and the different codes of interpretation don’t represent a barrier. “Museums for all among all of us”.
At the Department of Differently-abled and Accessibility of network of museums, attached to the management, we are working on a project about elimination of barriers, in which the staff with differently-abled has a leading role.
We are working to achieve accessible centres for everyone. We take appropriate measures to remove barriers for visitors as much as for workers.
At the same time we adapted the workplace of our workmate Ángeles Miguélez, a blind museum guide, we were forced to create strategies to bring the collections for all audiences.
From then on, we make the decision to harness her abilities to strengthen that the visitors can enjoy the museums through the other senses. For each museum piece, for each collection, were incorporated new resources and adaptations. This enables to obtain a mutual understanding, between the guide of museums and the visitor, establishing a close and intense relationship.
The predominant consumption of visual culture in the museums through the history is a reality that supposed a barrier to blind people and the museum institutions. This model of consumption is a very limited way to engage with the museum objects and to extract its meaning.
Our way of “looking” determines how we understand, interpret and give meaning to everything. We were “blind” to interpret and to give meaning to the different collections, and be able to transmit the suitable information to our blind workmate.
Our help was necessary so that our workmate could offer new options to the visitors, and these ones can enjoy the museum in a different way. Nelson Goodman said «changing the way of looking involves to change the meanings and build with them a new world».
The gaze is not only a physical process captured by the eyes, but an active process which organizes what it’s seen outside according to an internal schema.
This project was born from these premises, and it pursues a clear aim: to approach the collections of the four museums of the network through the photography, in a dialogued, mental and a team activity (the blind, the museum staff and the photographers).
We started investigating what had been done, and what we could do in this particular subject, and we found examples in other countries. In Argentina, there was a photography workshop for the blind, but the main references were the exhibitions in California and in Mexico with the movement “The Blind with Carrera School”. This movement understands the photography for the blind as a salutary lesson to think about the image, the light and the darkness.
Once we found the references, we adapted them to our own reality. We valued them with Ángeles Miguélez, Pilar Yáñez (both blind) and Juan Ignacio Márquez, and decided to give shape to the project. In the beginning, this idea seemed a fantasy, but now we can assess it as a success.
The next step was to present the initiative to the artist Iago Eireos, who developed a research and formed a team of photographers from Lugo to be docents at the workshop Blindly photography. The teaching team was formed by: Xosé Reigosa, Germán Limeres, Antonio López, Henrique and Iago de Sant.
Our aim was that the participants understood that the mind gives shape to the photography; the sight perceives the image, but the brain creates it. All of them received in their minds the information about the collections of our museums: San Paio de Narla Fortress Museum, Pazo de Tor Museum, Provincial Museum of the Sea and Lugo Provincial Museum.
The project was recorded in a documentary carried out by Enrique Lamas and the students of Image and Sound School.
Three years have already passed since the beginning of one of the most innovative and productive initiatives of the museums network, and year by year, we try to enrich it.
In this third edition, with previously learned skills, we were able to confront the challenge of new visual disciplines. We incorporated two new aspects: the work with the visual language, not only from the photography, but also from the video; and the reflection about the landscape, not only as the expression of a place to photograph or recording, also as a cultural and social place.
The participants of previous editions knew the devices and some techniques of the photographic language, also applicable to video. Even though, it was necessary to work with new techniques.
This year, the ICOM invited to all museums to think about Museums and Cultural Landscapes, subject in which the network of museums has been working since its creation, ten years ago. This reflection leads to the relationship of the museum with the landscape that surrounds it.
This relationship is essential in the network of museums, because this landscape, this context, gives to each museum its own identity. The tangible and intangible heritage of each museum is linked to the landscape in which it’s located, and this landscape defines its essence.
The Blindly photography project also gave rise to an one-hour documentary, an exhibition and a catalogue of the ENREDADOS collective (blind photographers, teachers and staff of the network of museums); all of them, interested in the sensory experimentation, new schemes of perception, and other related areas, not only visual ones, to interact with art in a more global way.
We take profit to the way blind people relate with the environment to enrich the museums, and give a new “look” to visitors. “Only with the heart, we can see in a right way. The essential is invisible to the eyes…” The Little Prince.
Encarna Lago González
Management of Lugo Provincial Network of Museums
Our new member, Kawa from Syria, wanted to motivate the group and encouraged us to talk about ARTS project, during his exhibition of paintings in the framework of Small Room Project. His paintings are a part of an experiential audiovisual exhibition about the critical refugee issue.
The impact of his success into the group is great; bilateral advantages for inclusion and tolerance. ARTS project proves that people can transform their pain in a creative and positive way. And of course, accept diversity.
For those who are interested to the Small Room project: http://www.asklepeion.gr/en/small-room-project/
As part of our Northumberland Day celebrations we shared our ARTS project with the local community.
Allie presented the aims and objectives of the project, how it fits with our work and the benefits not only to the people we work with but the wider community too.
The event was attended by just over 40 people from other learning disability organisations, the local council and businesses across the North.
A Kurdish mother, that arrived as a refugee in Greece from Syria, inspired us to meet her and enjoy her expressive art pieces! A hard story from a strong woman, that found the way to show to people her talent, but also her story. We managed to meet Zozan Hamo and present our group work. She was very open to follow the project’s activities. Of course, she had to say more…
It is really important to mention that her talent’s story came to us by our new member, a very interesting artist refugee also from Syria, Kawa. He learned for us, asked to participate in the activities, but also teach us his technique! A very supportive person, that believes in group work, tolerance and flexibility! Thank you Kawa! Thank you Zozan!
The work done during the week in Thessaloniki was an important and positive experience that has matured in all of us the awareness of the strength that Art can have in helping people.
There have been five days of encounter, listening, observation, exercise and visits.
From the first day, with friends of ANTIGONE, Andromachi and Byron, we have worked with ludic painting, a entertaining activities to get in touch with each other, to make us know aesthetically and at the same time participate in the dual role of “models to be portrayed “(passive) and ” painter artists “(active).
Subsequently, the Spanish friends of COGAMI have exposed the professional work experience within their association, with its teaching laboratories supporting the disabled. So the Swedish team of MEDLEFORS FOLKHOGSKOLA has involved us with their physical body relaxation techniques and activities.
Particularly interesting was the lesson of the English group of HEADWAY ARTS about the “self-evaluation” process. A work that involved all participants by collecting a number of possible principles that may be useful for user rating.
An approach based on the centrality of the person, stimulating mutual trust and a kind of courage to activate the various relational opportunities: meeting, commitment, spirit, fairness, expressiveness, tolerance, etc.
In summary, a process of evaluation that can be understood as a journey to take without being in a hurry, as it takes time to learn to know and during which you must find the right “balance” between the individual placed in the center of attention and The group around it. Introducing mutual mechanisms of flexibility, solidarity, group spirit and positive thinking.
In the next day, at the Contemporary Art Museum in Thessaloniki, we have been working on art workshops on the subject of different cultures about the expression of the facial portrait. The theme of self-portrait with the Pop Art technique; a little workshop for making decorative objects (necklaces, masks, crowns, etc.) linked to the traditional mythological culture of the Greek carnival; at last we met some artists-users from the Antigone Association, who illustrated the working techniques and how they made their works.
Finally, in a gray and decadent aesthetic of Thessaloniki palaces facades that display all their splendor decorated with parables and air conditioning machines, the opportunity to discover the colors of artistic expression around the different environments (museums, cafes, Grocery stores, branch offices, private circles, etc.) that hosted the collections of artists linked to Antigone, gave us a contrasting, positiv and vibrant inner vision of the city itself.
We thank Andromachi and all friends of Antigone for the hospitality and the fantastic organization and we fully share the words of Byron with which he defined that “in Art the madness is added value”
The photo of our partners inspires us! We often go back to the days they were hosted in Thessaloniki, remembering their enthusiasm, positive energy, participation.
Thinking about principles, we can totally agree that flexibility is the most important aspect for our groups. But ability, is the most important word for CHROMATODROMOS and ANTIGONE, remembering that everyone is able to produce art; we just need the motivation and the way to believe to ourselves.
Tolerance, reflection, open minds, responsiveness are some more of our ideas on what are the principles of the work we do together with our european partners.
Let’s not forget what our friend, Pit, wanted to say:
Enjoy your week!
2 MONTHS after ANTIGONE’s exhibition “Face in different cultures” and we are still thinking of our great moments, with great people, in a great museum!
We feel the need to ensure our followers, our friends and the people they trust our work, that we are working for a new project-exhibition…
Thank you for your support! We are here, painting a lot, communicating, evaluating, making decisions, ready to fly to Spain 🙂
Continue to follow our group.!!