enero 18, 2013

MUSEUMS OF THE CITIZENS, FOR THE CITIZENS: A PROPOSAL FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES

Margarita Belinchón*, Maite Ibáñez*

Valencia, November 2012

 

With this proposal we try to make the recovery of the memory become a cultural and economic asset. This idea can be a decisive factor to boost the integration and tolerance.

From the Assembly of Citizens of the Mediterranean, we want to establish links of affinity, where each of us can recognize and share experiences to preserve, enrich and give value to the heritage of the collective memory of the peoples.

To work on the stage of the diversity is necessary to elaborate common projects, which allow developing the same idea in different social and geographical places. The recovery of the memory will allow the rescue of knowledge that is to be lost, and its current enhancement. For example, through workshops with older people experience, we can provide a source of incalculable wealth.

In order to do these projects interesting from the point of view of identity, and economically viable, we propose its realization, and dissemination by roaming, which will multiply the readings and bring new ideas and experiences.

These projects that reinforce the identity, promotes the mutual recognition, and foster a civic and participatory culture, involves assuming that “without the others can not define us ourselves”, and our historical present is grounded in the heritage of memory and the collective experience. (Sampedro,V.  and  Llera, M., 2003).

It is interesting to analyze some results through three examples: The series “Ilusiones” by the artist Paloma Briz features eight personal stories that could be happening to anyone, anywhere.(Europa press, 2012) The Turkish writer Orham Pamuk, recently defined the human concept of museum as a place where they speak of the individuals (Pamuk, O, 2009). In his manifesto (El País, digital edition, 2012), Pamuk emphasizes individual experience as society expression. From this reflection we look at the exhibition “Ilusiones” from the dignity of work, the adaptation of countryside to the cities life, respect for the old age and the personal challenges. Each of the portraits is composed of three formats: text, photography and painting, where 8 seniors citizens tell their illusions, which become a life lesson.

On the other hand, we have the precedent of the documentary Eguzkia lainopean (the Sun under the fog), which explains the experiences and memories of the elderly women of Baztan (Basque country). This project collect, in an oral and visual file, experiences and testimonies of people older than 65 years. (Noticias de Navarra, 21.05.12, digital edition).

In the same line as the previous project, from the Museum of Natural Sciences in Valencia we carry out the project “Museums and memory”. It was on the occasion of the International Day of Museums in the year 2011. It consisted of a field work with elderly patients and also patients in early stage of Alzheimer’s disease in public hospitals in the city of Valencia (at this stage, the people affected by the disease, preserve the memories and experiences distant in time clearly). We collected testimonies of empirical knowledge (ancient wisdom) on agriculture, domestic work, traditional food, livestock and rural resources that are at risk of being lost, and their return in order to be available to be used from the perspective of social, productive and economic values.

In this line, we consider that revitalize economic activity in the agricultural and livestock, is essential to consolidate the population and stop rural exodus. The recovery of these traditional small-scale activities is considered the best prevention against natural disasters (fires, soil erosion, floods …). According to the Spanish Minister Arias Cañete, during the year 2012 the hectares burned in Spain in the year 2012 are equivalent to the area of Luxemburg. (La Vanguardia, 24.09.12 , digital edition)

Moreover, it is also essential to consider the importance of women as a force for change in the countryside. According to the newspaper Levante (10/21/12, ed. digital ) 44% of women farm owners have given up in the last decade. It is necessary to propose measures to change this situation. For this reason, the Union of Women Farmers and Livestock, celebrated last week at Valencia their second meeting state under the theme “Women and employment opportunities in rural areas.”

It is important to remember that the Ecology is the economy of the environment and the Economy is the Ecology of the production. (Folch, R. 1998). Ecologists and economists speak of the same thing, but under different perspectives and interests often in conflict. The key to sustainability is to find the common spaces between the two disciplines. A very interesting experience is the urban green gardens. In addition to the benefits of self-sufficiency, it is a factor of social cohesiveness, because in these common spaces it favors the inter-generational and inter-cultural encounter. It allows the recovery of wisdom and peasant culture that still hold many of the elderly of our urban neighbourhoods. Also it permit  the  involvement of neighbourhood, thus promoting the territorial roots, linking with space and its identity, and community work of which all participants are benefited.

We propose to reuse markets as public forums for the exchange of resources, knowledge and experience, and from an innovative perspective. Since immemorial time, people go there to supply, and also, to form the “community social germ”. For this reason, we put forward a market in the manner of a traditional souk, where objects and experiences were exchanged. This space would be a popular knowledge fair, and it would value the ancient wisdom.

In this sense, it is necessary to consider the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Agreements taken at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in which the commitment was established to conserve biodiversity by using resources in a sustainable manner and share the benefits of a fair and equitable manner. In parallel to the Conference, non-governmental organizations adopted a Treaty on sustainable agriculture.

The project could integrate craft workshops, which teach knitting wool to make a sweater, a workshop to make homemade soap to get the residual oil from the kitchen, other recipes with edible wild herbs. (Have you tested the omelet nettles? It is amazing and delicious!). We can recover the tradition of the “cuisine crafts.” Many traditional cuisines in rural areas are being lost, (Pellicer, J. 1999) and marketing could be an important fillip patrimonial, cultural and economic, in depressed rural areas, and also it would promote tourism. (Obón, C. et al., 2011)

These experiences could be a source of self-employment for much of the rural populations (Verde A. et al., 2003). For example, the development of cooperatives could rescue activities almost lost, as the manufacture of dairy, traditional sausages, jams, turn to the use of herbs. In fact, pharmaceutical companies have spent many years researching African tribes and Mesoamerica’s tradition. Conversion of wasteland fields into productive fields (for example, herbs for pharmacy, perfume and cosmetics). (Revista Ambienta, ed. Digital). The joint management of apiaries and farms promotes the optimization and can generate higher profits in both sectors.

In this context we propose the creation of “Museums of the memory of the peoples”, which could be as centers of file documentary, oral, visual materials, and objects of daily use. They would be very vibrant museums, with permanent growth, formed by the people and for the use of citizens, where will be preserved the historical wisdom, which is, ultimately, also our cultural heritage as intangible asset.

In the way of the post-industrial society on that seems that we are going to see our-selves doomed, we should use strategies that were already tested successfully in moments of social change in production model. This experience of the museums of citizenship could materialize with the realization of pedagogical suitcase, which would make it possible to the roaming, with information provided by all users, to be shared in different fields (a rural school, a hospital, or a migrant reception centre).  The first pedagogical suitcases were created by the government of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931, with the aim of bringing the Museums and culture where citizens do not have access to it, as were the more remote rural sites (Belinchón, M . 2007).

On this way the project would make more sense and would serve the purpose for which it was designed. We hope you will find this proposal interesting and that together we can add synergy to carry it out.

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* Margarita Belinchon and Mayte Ibañez they are members of Valencia Circle (Spain) of the ACM

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

– BELINCHON, M., 2007: “Extramuros” el Museo más allá del Museo”.Congreso: IV Congreso sobre comunicación social de la Ciencia, CSIC . “Proceedings IV Congreso Comunicación Social de la Ciencia. Cultura científica y Cultura Democrática”, Madrid (Spain).

– FOLCH, R. 1998: Ambiente, emoción y ética. Actitudes hacia la cultura de la Sostenibilidad. Barcelona: Ariel

– HOOPER-GREENHILL, E., 2000: Museums and the interpretation of visual cultura, London and New York, Routledge.

– OBÓN, C., LORENZO, ML., MARTÍNEZ, V., RIVERA, D., CLIMENT, D., RÍOS, S., 2011: “Cocina mediterránea de supervivencia  La recolección de alimentos silvestres en Alicante” (in) Botánica estimada:  Etnobotánica, una ciencia de personas y plantas, Rev Mètode, n.72. Invierno 2011-2012. Edit. Universitat de València 128 páginas.

– PAMUK, O., 2010: El museo de la inocencia, Barcelona, Mondadori, 2009 / The Museum of Innocence, London,  Faber and Faber, 2010.

– PAMUK, O., 2010: “Modesto manifiesto por los museos”, El País, Madrid, 27/04/2012

– PELLICER, J., 1999: «Cuina rural silvestre. Recerques etnobotàniques al País Valencià: Contribució a l’estudi de la flora etnobotànica mengívola i culinària del territori Diànic». Quaderns del Palau, 1: 81-123

– SAMPEDRO, V / LLERA, M (eds), 2003: Interculturalidad: Interpretar, gestionar y comunicar, (Ed.) Bellaterra, Barcelona, 2003.

– VERDE, A., RIVERA, D., HENRICH M, FAJARDO J, INOCENCIO C, LLORACH R, OBÓN, C., 2003: “Plantas alimenticias recolectadas tradicionalmente en la provincia de Albacete y zonas próximas, su uso tradicional en la medicina popular y su potencial como nutracéuticos”. Sabuco Rev Est Albacet 4: 35-72.

– ICOM- International Museum Day.  Museum and Memory, [18 May 2011].

http://network.icom.museum/imd2011/

www.icom.museum

http://www.noticiasdenavarra.com/2011/05/21/vecinos/sangesapirineos/el-dia-de-los-museos-se-conmemora-en-elizondo

http://www.lavanguardia.com/sucesos/20120924/54351784625/espana-pide-recurrir-fondo-solidaridad-incendios.html

http://www.levante-emv.com/valencia/2012/10/21/44–ganaderas-deja-negocio-ultima-decada/945662.html

http://www.revistaambienta.es/WebAmbienta/marm/Dinamicas/secciones/articulos/Tardio.htm

http://www.europapress.es/comunitat-valenciana/noticia-cultura-artista-paloma-briz-rinde-homenaje-jubilados-exposicion-ilusiones-20120412202311.html

http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2012/04/27/actualidad/1335549833_020916.html

 

Margarita Belinchon

Mayte Ibañez

 

Valencia, Spain, November 2012

 

 

Fundación Asamblea de Ciudadanos y Ciudadanas del Mediterráneo
Calle San Francisco de Borja 20 – 8 - 46007 Valencia, Spain - Phone: +34 963 219 558 - E-mail: secretariat.facm@gmail.com