All posts by Karl Donert

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Telling stories in the Big Apple: Tenement Museum

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We tend to consider museums as places that curate materials, objects and resources and present interpretations of them. However they are also places where experiences can be shared through storytelling as they are spaces for empathy.

Stories share personal experiences in an authentic and easily accessible form. They feel familiar, yet enable us to step into the shoes of others. They are full of detail, but leave space for us to insert our own thoughts, feelings and memories.

Stories can be used to help us make sense of the world. Through stories new perspectives can be shared that may change how we think and feel.

An example of this is a museum in the heart of the Big Apple will give you the experience of the past, in the New York of the late 1800’s, when, with the increasing arrival of immigrants, the cosmopolitan and multicultural society that characterises America today.

The Tenement Museum is built inside a building where more than 7,000 immigrants from various countries found hospitality between 1863 and 1935. Inside you can discover using the technique of storytelling the stories of some immigrant families, who left details and memories of their new life in New York.

On the website of the museum there are also many virtual paths to keep the activities going even during Covid lockdown.

Find out more about the museum

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DIAZOMA Association: protecting ancient theatres

The DIAZOMA association was founded on the initiative of the former Greek Minister of Culture Stavros Benos and brings together three “families”: the archaeological community (archaeologists, curators, conservators, etc.), Greek artists and intellectuals and local authorities (mayors, regional administrations and citizens).diazoma image

Their fundamental goal is to shape vast social networks of synergies in order to protect and promote this unique category of monuments that are the ancient theatres. To this end, Diazoma cooperates on an ongoing basis with the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs as well as with the Ministry of Culture and Sports and seeks to bring together and engage all actors of Greek society (population, mayors, prefects, universities, cultural associations) around this objective.

Raising awareness among the populations about the colossal cultural heritage and the unique potential of ancient theatres for their regions, having them participate in their preservation and revival, creating cultural routes and archaeological parks, organizing cultural events, enhancing the natural environment, adopting a charter of quality involving all the local actors (from small producers to local tourist companies), these are all steps to take towards the realisation of the ultimate vision of Diazoma : the sustainable development of regions around their cultural heritage.

As a result, theatres are at the heart of two key encounters: the one with the people and the other with tourism economy, environment and culture.

Synergies for the Promotion of the “Ancient Theatres of Epirus” Cultural Route

Fifty businesses of the “Ancient Theatres of Epirus” Business Cluster having recently obtained certification and received the Route Logo, which signifies that the goods and services provided by the logo-bearer are of the highest quality, a most interesting gastronomy and food tasting event took place in October.

The event took place during the FAM trip organised for journalists and bloggers from Greece and abroad (England, Germany, Italy, Israel) by the Region of Epirus on October 14-16 as part of its “Networking and Promoting Tourism in the Region of Epirus” and the First Combined Campaign on “Culture-Gastronomy” initiatives.

The active pursuit of synergies between members of the Route’s Cluster is one of the certification prerequisites, as synergies encourage the fostering of links between businesses that have elected to cooperate in order to improve the quality of the goods and services offered, sharing the common goal of promoting the Route as a destination.
This event is an excellent example of the “Ancient Theatres of Epirus” Cultural Route Business Cluster’s potential and momentum and creates a solid foundation for the programme’s sustainability.

Find out more about the Cultural Route

 

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Intangible Cultural Heritage

Intangible heritage consists of nonphysical intellectual aspects, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language. UNESCO maintains a list of intangible cultural heritage, which are considered by member states to be in need of protection.

DESOPAEX is an example of a project promoted by Wazo Coop that is committed to the sustainable development of Extremadura’s heritage through social cooperation and citizen collaboration in accordance with the 2030 Agenda.

DESOPAEX is the first non-profit social cooperative in Extremadura (Spain) with the primary objective of achieving the social valorisation of the intangible material heritage of the rural environment to meet the needs and reduce the inequalities of the Extremaduran population.

One of the strategic areas of action of this programme is culture, which plays an essential role in inducing dynamics of resilience and social, economic and demographic transformation, in order to develop the research, dissemination, training and promotion activities planned by the programme (thematic publications, Sustainable Heritage Gala, concerts, conferences, webinars, etc.). ..), its founders launched in March 2022 a crowdfunding campaign through their social networks, sharing their story and motivation, to raise funds that has been a success!




To learn more about DESOPAEX and its crowdfunding campaign, take a look at: https://www.goteo.org/project/desopaex

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EMOTIVE: a storytelling project for cultural heritage

emotive image gridA well-known statement by psychologist Daniel Taylor argues that “we are shaped by stories from the first moments of life, and even before“.

Yet, when it comes to cultural heritage sites or institutions, narrative tends to be used narrowly and communication often lacks emotional resonance.

The EU financed project EMOTIVE works from the premise that cultural sites are, in fact, highly emotional places. The Emotive consortium researches, designs, develops and evaluates methods and tools that can support the cultural and creative industries in creating narratives which draw on this power of ’emotive storytelling’.

Emotive storytelling is about creating a feel-good story and slotting your brand into that experience. It seeks to establish an emotional connection using something specific as the key to conveying messages properly,  connecting the brand to positive messages.

In the EMOTIVE project, the output of this process are several prototype tools and applications for heritage professionals and visitors that produce interactive, personalised, emotionally resonant digital stories for museums and cultural sites.

Find out more

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Project sponsors at the Museo nazionale Scienza e tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci

Museums perform many different roles, as they educate, inform, entertain and inspire.museum image They provide spaces for social interaction and reflection. And they make valuable contributions to their local communities. Museums are likely to involve active participation and they may even play active roles in enabling social change.

More than ever after the first analyses regarding the impact of Covid-19 on cultural enterprises, fundraising is outlined as a perfect strategy to obtain general benefits for all the partners involved. Museums need money to maintain their collections. Most museums are only able to display a small proportion of their artefacts, but they are required to maintain, preserve, and store other donations.

There are three main sources of funding for most museums, these are public funding, donations and endowments, and earned income

When fundraising, museums need to ensure active regular communications with donors and other supporters. These groups need to be Informed about how their contributions impact on the work being done and the value to the institution and society.

The strategy planned by the Museo nazionale Scienza e tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci to involve donors external to the museum’s missions is called “project sponsor” where any sponsors, supporting specific initiatives, enjoy benefits such as greater visibility, multi-channel marketing, privileged use of event spaces, dialogue with the communities of reference and special personalised activities, also giving the possibility to customise the type of collaboration with the museum.

Project description (in Italian)

Museum Web site

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Fundraising is not just about money

The Smithsonian’s “Digital Volunteers” program

smithsonian-imageWhen we talk about fundraising, we usually focus on the economic aspect of the issue, neglecting another important resource that people can donate to cultural organisations: their time.

A virtuous example of fundraising based on donating time rather than financial donations is the Smithsonian Institution’s “Digital Volunteers” program. In addition to the thousands of volunteers who already supported the organisation on-site, the program made it possible to make significant contributions online through several projects such as the Transcription Center, where people are invited to transcribe historic documents, or the suggestive Archives of American Gardens: Help us solve a mystery, in which people are required to participate in the “hunt” to identify unlabelled gardens across the United States.

Over 6,500 gardens and landscapes have been documented in the archives so far; they illustrate the work of hundreds of landscape architects and garden designers. The Archives are primarily photographic, a wide range of written information for each garden is also be available, including plans, planting lists, published articles, bibliographic citations, business records, and correspondence.

Find out more

An exhibition “Kallos, The Ultimate Beauty”

Kallos imageThe Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens organised the exhibition “Kallos, The Ultimate Beauty” (29/9/21 – 16/1/22). “Kallos” is an ideal developed in Ancient Greek thinking and was expressed by the epic and the lyric poets, initially referring to outward beauty. From the 6th century BC, philosophers referred to Kallos as a combination of physical beauty and virtues of the soul.

The exhibition displays three hundred emblematic antiquities from fifty two museums and collections from Greece, Italy and the Vatican.

The exhibition was curated by Professor Nikolaos Chr. Stampolidis and Dr. Ioannis Fappas, was done with the generous support of L’ Oreal and was visited by thousands of people. The exhibition was also the inspiration of a new collection of items that are sold in the museum shop and the e-shop.

The museum received excellent publicity on the Greek and International media through many press releases before and during the exhibition. “Kallos” is an example of a good practice of the cultural world cooperating with the business world, for the benefit of both.

Story source
Museum of Cycladic Art

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Pandemic funding targeted for cultural activities

This article highlights the importance of  targeted funds for culture and heritage activities.museum photo

In the UK in winter 2021, emergency funding available for arts, culture and heritage was doubled to £60 million to tackle the impact of the Omicron variant. £60m would give crucial support to museums, cinemas, theatres and heritage across the country, with more time to submit applications to benefit as many of those affected as possible.

This funding recognised the importance of the winter period for the arts, heritage and creative sectors and will provide vital emergency grants, doubling the amount previously available in the last round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

UK Government funding through Arts Council England will also provide an immediate £1.5 million to support freelancers affected by the pandemic, as well as a further £1.35 million from the theatre sector. This will provide grants of £650,000 each directly to the Theatre Artists Fund, Help Musicians and £200,000 to one, Artists Information Company, a charity for visual artists which will distribute money to freelancers in the coming weeks.

In Europe, the EC has produce a Coronavirus response plan for the culture and creative organisations. For instance,  the Creative Europe programme was adapted to the Covid situation in order to help artists, beneficiaries, and other participants in the programme to overcome the difficulties and uncertainties that resulted from measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Commission together with the European Education and Culture Executive Agency applied the maximum flexibility it could in the implementation of the programme, within the limits of the applicable legal framework. Projects that needed, have been adapted or amended in order to continue their activities.

Since 2021, a new Creative and Media programme has been launched  with a budget of € 2.44 billion and new calls are being published. Find out more about the new European programme

The Synopsis project has created a fundraising module to support the training of those working in European cultural heritage. Find out more

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Storytelling for cultural heritage tourism

Cultural heritage professionals work a lot with different tourist organisations to promote their activities. Cultural heritage tourism is thus an important area for them to work with.cultural heritage tourism image

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines cultural heritage tourism as “travel to experience the places, artefacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present, including cultural historic and natural resources.”

Cultural Heritage Tourism is one of the main tourism interests of the “Silver Tourist”, a tourist which is older of age and mostly looking for cultural related experiences when travelling. Being able to show potential donors and supporters, that “your” cultural heritage has raised interest from this target group can help you in your fundraising efforts.

Paying visitors are an important source of income for many cultural entities, and storytelling techniques can help you to capture this tourism segment. It is just 2 sides of the same coin.

Those working in this area can use the storytelling competences and skills acquired in SYNOPSIS training to help attract more silver touristssilver tour logo

If you want to know more on how to design a tourism experience for this particular target group (and use digital tools to do so), check out eSilverTour a project which aims to improve the quality of the tourist services promoted to this target group.

For more information, visit https://www.esilvertour.eu/

Fundraising for Heritage Organisations

jane austen photoFundraising is essential for many heritage organisations such as museums, collections and galleries if they are to deliver the diverse and exciting range of activities they do providing public access to unique treasures.

This article tells the story of Jane Austen’s letters. In fact, Austen’s letters and books were donated to the Bodleian libraries in Oxford and Jane Austen’s home in Hampshire by Friends of the National Libraries, a charity dedicated to preserving the nation’s written and printed heritage.

Less than 160 letters written by Austen are known to have survived, and as such these two items of correspondence have been described as ‘hugely significant’. Both were addressed to her sister Cassandra, showing the author at two very different stages of her life.

In their campaign, the Friends of the National Libraries, in collaboration with a consortium of research libraries and author’s houses, appealed for public donations to prevent the Honresfield Library from being dispersed through auction sales

The campaign eventually raised over £15 million in donations, including £4 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The largest private donor was Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who gave half the purchase price of the collection.

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The Synopsis project has created a fundraising module to support the training of those working in European cultural heritage. Find out more