Museums | Development and Curatorship
Photo: Cesar Barreto
“ Attending the Museum Academy has been a great opportunity to get in touch with British museum’s reflections and practices on audience development, as well as sharing experiences and questions with colleagues from different Brazilian museums. ” – Gabriela Aidar, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
The British paleontologist and writer Richard Fortey wrote that museums have no political power, but they do have the possibility of influencing the political process. “This is a complete change from their role in the early days of collecting and hoarding the world to one of using the collections as an archive for a changing world. This role is not merely scientifically important, but it is also a cultural necessity”, he states. Going even further, he says: “I believe profoundly in the importance of museums; I would go as far as to say that you can judge a society by the quality of its museums”. In recognition of the fundamental role of museums in the process of social, urban and cultural transformation, the British Council, through the Transform Museums Programme created a solid platform for the exchange of knowledge and best practices between Brazilian and British institutions for the development of the sector in both countries.
Deputy Director of Arts and coordinator of Transform Museums Programme
people visited the exhibit "Lucian Freud: Faces and Bodies" at MASP in São Paulo in 2013
visited the exhibit "Antony Gormley: Still Being at CCBB" in São Paulo in 2012
people visited the exhibit "These Associations" by Tino Sehgal at CCBB in Rio and Pinacoteca in São Paulo in 2014
Arts Manager for Museums, Architecture, Design and Fashion
The Transform Museums Programme works in four main areas: strengthening of public policies, exchanges between museums, deepening of university studies and capacity building. Since its inception in 2012, the programme has delivered seminars, courses, workshops, study tours and conferences with the participation of British speakers from the museum sector. One of the outcomes of this exchange has been the creation of the pilot project Museum Academy, a partnership with the São Paulo State Secretariat of Culture launched in 2015, now in its second edition. “Museum Academy has been a short-course for museums managers with over three years of experience and it involves the professional exchange of the Government at Municipal, State and Federal levels, besides integrating Brazilian and British museum professionals to collaborate on capacity building for their staff”, states Effie Vourakis, Arts Project Manager, British Council. “The course allowed 25 people from several museums in five Brazilian states, to work along with British professionals, and learn about how to create new audiences and how to better serve them”, explains British Council Deputy Director for the Arts Lucimara Letelier.
VIDEO: International Museum Academy
Check out more Transform videos [+]
O Transform The Transform has also developed partnerships with museums and cultural centers in holding exhibitions in visual arts, artistic residencies and workshops taught by British artists in Brazil. One of them is the award-winning artist Haroon Mirza, who brought the "ÃÃÃ" exhibit for the first in Latin America with an interdisciplinary work that combines sound, visual arts and site-specific interventions at Pivô Gallery in São Paulo.
“I met people from all over and made new contacts with all continents, which shows the ICOM global reach and confirms that the Conference is an incredible opportunity for networking.”
Dana Andrew, Victoria & Albert Museum
The Bienal of São Paulo, one of the most important events in the Arts circuit, has had British presence since its first edition, and this history will be showed in a digital timeline from the first Bienal edition, in 1951 up to the 32nd edition, 2016, with all British artists and their work in a website hosted by the British Council. In addition, architects, designers and artists from the United Kingdom have had the opportunity to come to Brazil through the Lina Bo Bardi Fellowship to research the Italian architect’s legacy in the country.
"It’s great to see Transform Museums promoting an encounter between each country’s expertise. Brazil’s role in community engagement, intangible heritage, social inclusion, incentive laws and governance hybrid models, for example, gained new shaping in conjunction with British museums’ activism and their perennial mechanisms of public policies, innovative sources and structured and planned management", states Lucimara Letelier.
One of the greatest legacies of the programme is the recognition that both sides have a lot to learn and exchange between them and with the world. For Effie, much of it takes place within the Museum Academy, today International Museums Academy: "It is a global offer now that was first experienced here, in Brazil”, she says. It is worth reminding, as stated by Fortey that life accumulates a collection: of people, work and perplexity. And that most of it is very well kept at the museums.
Marcelo Mattos, Secretary of Culture of São Paulo State and newly appointed president of Ibram – Brazilian Institute of Museums, talks about his work with the British Council in Museums, Music and Disability.