MeLa* Critical Archive pre-launch, Venice

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ICCHS researchers Chris Whitehead, Susannah Eckersley, Kat Lloyd and Rhiannon Mason have spent much of the last four years working on the MeLa* project, a large EC-funded international research programme on Museums in an Age of Migrations (http://www.mela-project.eu). Now entering its final stages, Chris recently participated in the pre-launch exhibition of the MeLa* Critical Archive, a digital platform aimed at bringing together, conveying and sharing the interdisciplinary investigations produced within project by the different partners from the UK, Spain, France, Denmark and Italy. The archive was not conceived as a mere repository of the research outcomes, but rather as a multipurpose dissemination tool drawing together and organizing the main insights by the researchers through a critical post-reflection; as a communicative project pointing out the complexity of the different approaches and findings, and illustrating the unitary yet multifarious cultural proposals. It is also a research instrument in itself, fostering questions, enhancing synergies, highlighting potentialities and opening further perspectives.

The archive includes a range of resources, from academic essays on key themes such as ‘belonging’ to photographic and film documentation, case studies of individual museums and museum objects, methodological approaches and notes and critiques of artistic interventions, political events, among other entries.

At the pre-launch, held at the Architecture Biennale in Venice, the MeLa* researchers were on hand to demonstrate how the archive works, to answer questions from the public and to be interviewed by appointment. Chris was in demand for interviews, as it turns out that a good number of postgraduate students from different countries are busy using the ideas and insights developed by the ICCHS MeLa* team!

The archive is intended to be developed and augmented iteratively, but will be available on the web in December, so keep watch for further announcements. Anyone interested in the MeLa* project can contact Chris at chris.whitehead@ncl.ac.uk.

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