For the EMEE team, a first step towards the implementation of the concept ‘Change of Perspective’ (COP) was to have a look at the groundwork done in the field of research (research projects and publications) as well as the critical analysis of best practice examples, in particular with regard to the COP 1 – Change of Perspective as European re-interpretation of objects – and COP 2 – Change of Perspective as change of perspective between museum experts and visitors (activation and participation).
Especially the best practice examples, which were analysed during about six months of research, provided valuable suggestions for the next steps of the project and also helped to get a clearer focus on aims and priorities of the EMEE-project. The Mapping Process was carried out in 7 European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia); however, in some cases, also examples from other countries were added.
With regard to the COP 1 and COP 2, some basic observations of the Mapping Process can be stated:
COP 1 (Change of Perspective as European re-interpretation of objects):
While looking for best practice examples, the particular difficulty for the participants of the project was the issue of trans-regional re-interpretations of collections and the presentation of objects on the basis of multi-perspectivity. It became clear that some of the exhibitions in fact already include trans-regional approaches; however, especially for classic ‘European topics’, there is the risk that again the interpretation is not multi-perspective but subordinated to classic master narratives. It also became apparent that much more time needs to be spent on research and re-interpretation of objects regarding new issues and topics, in order to leave traditional perspectives behind. With regard to the synaesthetic realisation of exhibition contents, particularly project partner Uwe Brückner’s examples for the Mapping Process provided ideas which can be categorised and developed for the future project work. To sum up, with regard to the results of the COP 1, it can be stated that EMEE enters a relatively new field of research and the approach to interpret objects in a trans-regional, multiperspective way has not yet found widespread use in museums and exhibitions.
COP 2 (Change of Perspective as change of perspective between museum experts and visitors):
Overall, the Mapping Process showed that participatory approaches – regarding exhibitions that include the visitor in the process of curating – have been tested in flagship projects, but the majority of the museums did not implement participatory elements yet. In contrast, research literature offers relatively comprehensive information on this possibility but the literature reviewed and the best practice examples evaluated by EMEE revealed that the inclusion of the visitor in the sense of a ‘participatory museum’ requires high personnel expenses and other costs. Therefore, participatory museum projects are by no means a surefire success which result the visitor’s acceptance by just calling for participation. However, there were rare examples in research literature which did not focus on the visitor’s full participation (in the sense of user generated contents) but tried to find ways and possibilities to make the visitor get out of the role of the passive recipient and assume a more active role within the exhibition using other means (especially by including web 2.0 solutions).
The results of the Mapping Process can be found in form of the following different summaries:
An overview reports about selected best practice examples, written by Prof. Dr. Valentina Ganeva-Marazova, National Museum of History, Sofia, Bulgaria. The selected examples have been contributed and analysed by all EMEE-project partners. They can be downloaded as single PDF documents, classified under the following five categories: Making Europe visible (School of perception); Integrating multicultural Europe (social arena); Bridging-the-gap (Activation, participation and role modification); Synaesthetic translation of perspectives; Social Web and Interaction. Moreover, also a list of research projects as well as a list of references has been compiled by Prof. Dr. Valentina Ganeva-Marazova out of the proposals of all EMEE-project partners.
For the EMEE-project, it can be stated that it was an important step to review the trends that characterize the present of European museums. To summarize the results of the various projects and studies and to study best innovative examples and practices in museum work of different countries helped to get an overview about the state of affairs concerning the Europeanisation and modernisation of museums.