CETAID: A European community conference
24 – 27th February
Hosted by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), Newcastle
This conference largely focussed on how, why, and what challenges we face as cultural organisations when engaging with our community.
Organisations were represented from Hungary (Muzeumok es Latogatok Alapitvany), United Kingdom (Historic Royal Palaces, and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums), and Italy (Istituto Luigi Sturzo). All faced with different social and political circumstances as well as varied museology practices.
Despite our differences, all countries agreed that the number one reason for engaging with communities is; we as an organisation have a social responsibility – our heritage belongs to the people!
It was through this lens of ‘social responsibility’ that we engaged with the rest of the conference. Presentations were given on TWAM’s community projects, discussions were had around evidencing impact, and the fun bit – site visits; Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda, which had a vast and well preserved collection of Roman Shoes. Did you know, this is due to the anoxic conditions (no oxygen) at the depths at which they were found?
Our final visit was the Gateshead Clubhouse: Moving forward service. This inspiring service is run as a partnership between the members (mental health users) and staff from Mental Health Concern. Their focus was enabling recovery by building skills through involvement in a range of activities; including working with museums.
What is your social responsibility?
This was a great knowledge sharing conference, laced with full English breakfasts, pubs and fish & chips shops!