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Connect with European colleagues in our Working Groups

The NEMO Working Groups provide our members, and the museum community at large, with a European perspective on various topics that are important to museums. In addition to conducting research and publishing reports, the group members are invited to join a yearly study visit to learn about a particular topic and network with peers.

Below you will learn more about NEMO's three active Working Groups in short interviews with the group coordinators. Due to a change of coordinator, our long-standing Working Group Advocacy and Public Affairs is taking a year off, but you can expect exiting updates in 2024.

Happy reading,
the NEMO office

Interested to join?

All groups (including Advocacy and Public Affairs) are accepting new members. Please note that only people working at NEMO member organisations may join the Working Groups.

If you are a member, get in touch with office@ne-mo.org to join one of the groups.

If your organisation is not a member of NEMO yet but you would like to join a Working Group, get in touch with office@ne-mo.org and we will provide you with information about joining NEMO and the benefits of being a member of NEMO.

Working Group Digital Transformation

We sat down with Sylvia Willkomm, Head of Communication at the German Museums Association, who is the coordinator of the Working Group Digital Transformation to learn about the plans for 2023. In the picture above, members of the Working Group get to learn about the work by the Finnish Heritage Agency during their study visit to Helsinki, Finland, in 2022. Please note that the Working Group changed name in January 2023 from Digitalisation and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to Digital Transformation.

What is the general aim of the Working Group (WG)?
The WG supports European museums to fully tap the potential that digitalisation holds for museums. A particular focus lies on the opportunities and challenges of opening and using museum collections online. For this purpose:

  • We identify new processes, tasks and challenges for the museums in the field of digital transformation.
  • We provide decision makers, museum organisations and stakeholders with relevant information.
  • We offer support and a space to share experiences and best practice in the digital context for museums.
  • We shape NEMO’s actions in the fields of digitalisation and copyright legislation with and for museums.

What topic is the WG researching/working on this year?
This year, the WG Digital Transformation is focusing on the topic Digitalisation & Audience. This includes themes such as visitor experience, digital offerings and programs, communication channels as well as visitor research and impact. This year we are devoting special attention to the question of who is the digital museum visitor? Is it even possible to define them? In this context, we devote our attention to the topic of issue of measurement. How can digital offerings and their use be measured? What instruments are there and what criteria are used as a basis?

Where did the study visit take place and what was the topic?
The study visit took place in Milan from 7-9 June 2023 and was also dedicated to the topic Digitalisation & Audience. During the study visit we shared experiences and ideas with museum colleagues, talked about best-practices, next-practices and also about failures and learnings. Besides a meeting with ICOM Italy and the WG on museums and digital technologies as well as the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Group, we visited different museums like the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera and the MEET Digital Cultural Centre.

What can we except from the WG at the NEMO European Museum Conference (in terms of the workshop you will organise)?
With our workshop on 21 November, we will take up the topic of this year's NEMO annual conference and look at the issue of sustainability in the context of digitalisation, focusing on the topic of green IT. 

Anything else you would like to share?
The WG is happy to welcome new members. Colleagues from the European museum sector who deal with the topics of digital transformation, are interested in it and would like to exchange ideas are very welcome.

Working Group Sustainability and Climate Action

This photograph depicts various people sitting around a hexagon-shaped table. They are looking up in the same direction. One person stands and is talking to them.

Estelle De Bruyn, Head of the Sustainability Unit at KIK-IRPA, is the coordinator of NEMO's youngest Working Group Sustainability and Climate Action. The very first meeting and study visit of the group was hosted by KIK-IPRA. Learn about what's to come below.

What is the general aim of the Working Group?
The general aim of the Working Group Sustainability and Climate Action! (SAC!) is to support museums in their transition towards sustainability. Cultural heritage institutions inherently have a role to play in sustainability, but it requires a shift in mindset and daily practices. This Working Group seeks to develop concrete solutions for museums to address emerging sustainability issues and act as a bridge between museums and EU policy on sustainability.

What topic is the Working Group researching/working on this year?
We are currently finalizing our focus for this year. Two core themes have emerged: museums as catalysts for change and sustainable infrastructure. We have identified specific outcomes we aim to achieve:

  • Defining sustainability and areas of high impact: we aim to create a self-assessment tool that enables museums to evaluate their sustainability and guides them on the path of continuous improvement.
  • Connecting existing programs for optimizing indoor climate management and advocating for more flexible climate specifications for loans.
  • Creating a list of sustainable procurement guidelines, as procurement plays a crucial role in the sustainability of projects.

As the leader of this new group, what do you hope for?
I have two hopes for this group. Firstly, I hope that we can provide museums with practical tools and guidelines that address their needs and challenges, enabling them to prepare for an uncertain future while reducing their environmental impact, as advised by the IPCC.

Secondly, I hope that our work will contribute to the deserving recognition and support of the invaluable work museums do in driving sustainable transitions in society, ensuring they receive the necessary resources to sustain these efforts. In my daily work, I witness cultural institutions developing initiatives that integrate local communities, empower individuals, restore confidence, strengthen community ties, and pass on heritage to future generations. I recall the FeliX Art & Eco Museum that we visited during the kick-off meeting of our Working Group in February 2023 as an example. However, these institutions often struggle to secure the funding needed to continue their activities, despite achieving significant social and economic impacts. It is crucial that the museum's contribution to the society is acknowledged and supported financially.

Anything else you would like to share?
Cultural institutions have an extraordinary ability to share stories through heritage, uniting people in envisioning a new, desirable, and sustainable future. I firmly believe that, with our exceptional team and collaborative network, we can effectively support these important missions. While sustainability is a broad theme, our collective efforts as a network can yield significant results by fostering innovation, dynamism, and motivation. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all SAC! members, as well as the NEMO office and board, for their invaluable support of this critical initiative. The work of SAC! will empower us to identify and implement strategies that will elevate our institutions to a higher level of sustainability.

Working Group LEM - The Learning Museum

The coordinator of the Working Group LEM - The Learning Museum Margherita Sani, adjunct professor at the University of Bologna and Project Coordinator at NEMO, shares upcoming plans of the group. Above, the members of the group posed for a picture during the study visit to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2022.

What is the general aim of the Working Group?
The Working Group’s interest is museum education and its general aim is to explore practices and exchange expertise focusing on different topics each year, like, for example: digital learning, interpretation, learning and emotions in museums, how to engage young people, how to attract visitors to natural history museums.

What topic is the WG researching/working on this year?
In 2023 the WG has published the translation into English of the Guidelines developed by the German Museum Association “Developing Education and Public Engagement in Museums”. The guidelines describe key factors of success in education work from a contemporary perspective and emphasise the close relationship between the museum and its audience.

Where will the study visit take place and what is the topic?
In 2023 the study visit will take place from 5-7 October in Skopje, North Macedonia, on invitation of ICOM North Macedonia. There will be two topics in focus: museum accessibility and museums and contested heritage. The two-day study visit will be complemented by a site visit to Bitola and Ohrid, a UNESCO's World Cultural, as well as Natural Heritage, Site.

What can we expect from the WG at the NEMO European Museum Conference?
The meeting and workshop of the WG in Lahti will align its focus with the main topic of the conference, i.e. sustainability. We are working to invite a speaker/museum educator who could present good practice examples and inspire WG members and other participants on how to raise awareness and educate audiences on sustainability.

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