SWICH_Logo-UZ_orange_RZ_JPGSWICH – Sharing a World of Inclusion, Creativity and Heritage

The project builds on the outcomes and success of three earlier EU-funded projects: READ-ME I & II, and the Ethnography Museums and World Cultures [RIME], funded by the EU’s “Culture” Programmes for the period 2008-2012. All were aimed at rethinking the role of Museums of Ethnography and World Cultures within contemporary European societies, and shared a similar belief that with their rich collections cataloguing the diversity of world cultures these museums have an important role to play from a cultural, but also social and political level.
These earlier projects not only created a strong network of European Ethnography museums where they share expertise, collections and best practices, but also facilitated a critical reflection on the histories of the museums and their collections, fostering the development of new ideas for exhibitions as well as innovative approaches for the engagement with their various audiences.
Today these ethnographic museums are, partly due to the earlier projects mentioned above, at the forefront of developing self-reflexive and inclusive practices. Much more than the historic, art or archaeology museums, the ethnographic museums have been dedicating time and energy to creating new experimental and inclusive approaches that could respond to the needs of their various publics and stakeholders.

The project being proposed under the Creative Europe scheme builds on this already existing network (while expanding it to include new partner museums), and will also take into account some of the best practices developed during these earlier projects.
The project will revolve around a series of interrelated key concepts: co-creativity and experimental exhibiting, relationality, cultural subjecthood, emotional citizenship and diaspora. It will address ideas of relationality, as a way to explore how ethnographic museums and collections are sites around which relationships are built between the museums and its multiple stakeholders, both historical and contemporary. Such a relational approach takes into account co-creative knowledge production, experimental modes of engaging with the collections and the importance of contestation. Similarly, it addresses issues of Europe’s diversity by looking at the intersecting diasporas of objects and peoples. A major concern for this present project is Digital Futures addressing the question of how new digital technologies are impacting notions of citizenship and (trans-national) belonging and how the different stakeholders experience our museums and relate to cultural heritage presented in them.

With these interrelated concerns, the Museums of Ethnography and World Cultures will develop new practices to address the shifting citizenship regimes and practices that are emerging in Europe. We will explore how the museums can function as places that foster a greater sense of belonging for diasporic and post-migrant communities without their continued “othering” or alienation. These museums that reveal how deeply the European cultures are routed in travel, encounter, and empire eventually demonstrate how varied and international the European cultures in fact are. The focus therefore is not only on (post)migrant citizens, as the goal is to develop these museums as places of encounter where all visitors can get a better understanding of a changing, super-diverse Europe.

Culture Lab, a co-partner in this network, provides its expertise in the daily management, the technical and administrative project’s monitoring and the implementation of the audience development strategy.

The SWICH project has been selected by the EU with 15 other European projects, to represent the “good practices” related to the management and valorisation of cultural heritage, during the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

See EU’s brochure on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018: eych_brochure_web2

Go to SWICH website


October 2014 ► September 2018


Weltmuseum Wien [AT], Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale [BE], Stichting Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde [NL], Soprintendenza al Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”[IT], National Museums of World Culture [SE], Slovene Ethnographic Museum [SI], Linden-Museum [DE], Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée [FR], Institut de Cultura de Barcelona (ICUB) [ES], University of Cambridge [UK], Culture Lab [BE]


2000 000 €


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