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Cultural Diversity, Social Memories and Communities (VII)

Tensions and opportunities

The tensions of globalization and critical decolonial thinking have been fertile instruments that reveal the ways museums have shown themselves, not only as places of encounter and cultural creation, but also as a space of confrontation and conflict between cultures. And this cannot today be forgotten as future challenges.

That is why the question that museums want for the future cannot help but be considered as to what professionals are needed for the museums of the future.

Museum professionals in the future must be equipped with heritage education work tools for diversity. They must be prepared to work with the community, from their memories, in dialogue with a culture of peace and diversity.

But this statement is not easy to realize: First, the question of who represents the community raises questions of legitimacy. The community is not something immutable and pre-existing. It is composed of memories and identities in process that carry tensions and compromises. It is therefore necessary to take into account the need to mobilize the main actors and seek to include subordinate communities.

Secondly, the idea of ​​heritage relevance, also not necessarily the same in all cultures. If this is the case, the extreme situation of the destruction of the Buddha Statues in Afghanistan by the Islamic State, which denied the valuation attributes as patrimony. But outside of this most extreme case, there are situations that still raise doubts about patrimonial processes, when they are removed from their original contexts, to be placed in museums. It is, for example, the case of indigenous artifacts, which today, appropriated the patrimonial tools by these communities, allow for a new museology based on the values ​​of these communities.

One must not forget that among museum professionals there are quarrels between traditionalists and modernists, between families and regions between sovereign nations and nations without states; between communities within state. Often these quarrels arise from agendas and narratives that develop in the context of heritage institutions. The world is a complex reality and in each place, minority communities play against majorities. States seek to consolidate their hold on society through culture, which can in many cases collide with traditional practices.

It is therefore necessary to be alert to good intentions. It is not enough to proclaim universal principles and to use them as instruments of transformation, as it is necessary to be alert to the traditions, so that these traditions do not allow people to lock up and prevent them from assuming their destiny according to their convictions

After all, the Heritage of Humanity can be an instrument of education for difference. To show that aquili that is a treasure, and that often is only enjoyed by some of the community, can become a common good.

It should not be forgotten that museums were in their time a process of making public access to private goods.

Por Pedro Pereira Leite

Dinamizador do Museu Educação Global e Diversidade Cultural
Museu Afro Digital - Portugal.

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