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 » Social responsibility for contemporary art museums. Tactile exhibition in Bosnia and Herzegovina
11.12.2015 - UNESCO Venice Office

Social responsibility for contemporary art museums. Tactile exhibition in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nemanja Mićević, Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republic of Srpska - Family photo

The Sixth Regional Museum Meeting on the subject of “Social inclusion and the contemporary museum“ was held from 5 to 8 November 2015 at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republic of Srpska in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event opened the tactile exhibition “Space, Form, Touch”, hosted by the museum until 15 December 2015.

The organizers of the meeting and the exhibition are the ICOM-SEE (Regional Alliance of the International Council of Museums for South East Europe) and the National Committee of ICOM Bosnia and Herzegovina, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republic of Srpska. The activity is supported by the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture, Venice (Italy).

At the occasion of the Sixth Regional Museum Meeting, on 5 November 2015, “Space, Form, Touch”, a tactile exhibition, was opened; the exhibition is adapted for people who are visually impaired. “Don't touch the objects!” is a phrase that many people who have visited a museum have encountered, but what if the public cannot access the information without their sense of touch? Visually impaired visitors need alternative methods for accessing the objects and information featured in museum exhibitions.

The main goal of this exhibition dedicated to 3 concepts - space, form and touch - is to include visitors with low-vision as well as others into the museum's activities by giving them the opportunity to experience art and take part in contemporary cultural events. Hence, the exhibition has been conceived to adapt abstract works - paintings, sculptures and graphics - through tactile reproductions and audio material to enable visually impaired visitors to fully feel and apprehend art.

On 6 and 7 November, lectures on “Social inclusion and the contemporary museum” were given by professionals from the region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia) and Italy. As museums are institutions that bear a great amount of social responsibility, the sessions were organised around the theme of social inclusion and the role of contemporary museums in today’s society, with the goal to enrich and broaden the experience of the regional museum institutions and to devise a new strategy on social inclusion.

On the last day, 8 November, participants to the meeting visited the Memorial complex, a very important feature of the national cultural heritage - consisting of the Memorial wall, the Museum and the Monument itself -, very well incorporated into the natural surroundings of mountain Kozara and representing a unique landmark in this region.

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The overall framework of support of these activities is the project “Dialogue for Future: Promoting Coexistence and Diversity in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. Launched in 2014, it is financed by the UN Peace Building Fund, based on a joint initiative of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UN Secretary General, in response to the need to create space for dialogue and to promote coexistence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project, jointly implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO, aims at creating spaces for dialogue to enable a countrywide peacebuilding process, which promotes coexistence, trust building and appreciation of diversity. Its main goal is to increase participation, awareness and influence of youth in policy dialogue on issues affecting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s development and reform agenda; to ensure that education supports greater social cohesion; and, that citizens and communities achieve common peacebuilding approach through culture.

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