NEMO Webinar | From mines to mind-maps: A dialogue-based approach to museum planning at Spaç Prison

25 June 2018 | Jonathan Eaton and Mirian Bllaci

When this webinar was held, the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 was in full speed and an aspect that seemed to be forgotten in the celebrations was the topic of difficult heritage. How can we deal with the difficult heritage that can be found throughout Europe? This webinar explores this topic with a dialogue-based approach to museum planning at sites associated with difficult pasts. Eaton and Bllaci discuss different methods for building dialogue on difficult pasts and presents ways of engaging diverse stakeholders in order to unlock the potential for such sites to promote human rights, civil responsibility and democratic ideals.

The focus of the webinar is the ongoing work of the non-profit organization Cultural Heritage without Borders–Albania at a former political prison and forced labor camp in north-central Albania called Spaç. Beyond all of the managerial and conservation issues related to developing this site, Spaç Prison challenges what it means to ‘establish’ a museum.

In an unstable climate, where the future of the site is not ensured, the underlying processes of heritage and museum-making must be shaped by dialogue, engagement and openness. As Spaç shows, a dialogue-based approach is a necessary precursor for an established and successful future museum at the site.

Jonathan Eaton works as program officer at Cultural Heritage without Borders Albania (CHwB Albania). He applies his education in history and anthropology to his work by focusing on the interpretation and engagement aspects of cultural heritage – connecting people, place, history and memory and encouraging people to embrace heritage as an essential and active part of their life, because our heritage is who we are.

Mirian Bllaci is an urban planner and cultural heritage manager, currently working as a program manager at CHwB Albania. He has developed strong interest and skills in designing and implementing activities aimed at strengthening the ties between people and heritage and at connecting between peoples. He is very active in the ongoing efforts to save and promote Spaç Prison as a Place of Dialogue and Action!

The webinar was co-organised with MICC and NEMECH.

Download the presentation here.

This event was awarded with the European Year of Cultural Heritage Label, showing that the event supported the role of Europe’s cultural heritage and its importance to cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Learn more about obtaining the label from NEMO here.