Imagining the Balkans. Preparations for a regional travelling exhibit by National History Museums of South-East Europe
The UNESCO Venice Office is organizing on 8-9 March 2012, in co-operation with the Slovenian National History Museum, and with the support of the Slovenian Ministry of Culture, a regional meeting of South-East European National History Museums in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The meeting will take place at the Slovenian National History Museum, and will serve to discuss the preparations for a regional travelling historical exhibit, tentatively entitled “Imagining the Balkans”.
This meeting is part of the global initiative “Culture: a bridge to Development” launched by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in order to enhance regional cultural exchanges and networks in the South-East European region. It is organized as a follow-up to the previous encounters organized in Thessaloniki (“National History Museums in Southeast Europe: learning history, building shared memories”, October 2010), Berlin (“Best practices in museum management: dealing with difficult heritage, educating on history”, January 2011), and Turin (“History, memory and dialogue in South-East Europe: Exploring the identity of Nations”, October 2011).
Based on the conclusions of the Turin meeting, the exhibit will be designed in a way to permit travelling and presentation in a succession of countries of the SEE region, and serve to sustain dialogue and cooperation among museums of the region and enhance a shared reflection on nations-building processes, the transformation of cultural and social practices, and the construction of a European identity and of shared memories. The chronological frame would be the “long 19th century”, starting from around the French revolution and ending with the end of World War I. Discussions will focus on 3 major themes: Living in the Balkans; Educating in the Balkans; Representing the Balkans.
The conference will comprise museum directors and experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey. Are also invited senior representatives from European museums (German Historical Museum in Berlin, Germany), professional organizations (ICOM/International Committee for Exhibitions and Exchange; ICOM/International Association of Museums of History; EUROCLIO-European Association of History Educators) and academic networks of research (Eunamus/European National Museums research project).