Slovenski etnografski muzej

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October 2019
September 2023
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Taking Care. Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care

Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care is a new European project that connects thirteen ethnographic museums around Europe, including the Slovene Ethnographic Museum.

The well-being of our planet depends on the healthy ecosystem. Due to the wholesale destruction of the planet’s forests, oceans, soils, watersheds, and air, the ecosystem has been disintegrating before our eyes. According to the recent United Nations scientific report, more than one million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction. Many regions have recently faced severe natural disasters, for example hurricanes, floods, droughts, extreme heat waves, and wildfires. All these events have been worsened by climate change. However, the negative effects of this natural crisis are unequally distributed, affecting most intensely those whose positions are already most fragile, including indigenous and formerly colonized peoples. Alarming environmental occurrences have raised public awareness of the threats facing the future of the planet, and contributed to the growing anxieties about planetary wellbeing.

Taking Care project was born out of the environmental crisis and accompanying anxiety we are witnessing today. It is a EU-cooperation project, co-funded by the Creative Europe program, that connects thirteen ethnographic and world cultures museums in exploring interconnecting crises: climate change, anti-immigrant racism and xenophobic nationalism with the intensification of right-wing populism. The project’s focus is on ecological knowledge that can be (re)discovered in museums’ extensive collections of the material culture of civilizations globally. It is framed around the notion of care, which is defined as every deed that contributes to repairing and maintaining our planet so that all species can live on it as harmoniously as possible. The important emphasis is caring for things and for people together.

The project is organized in five work packages, namely Matters of Care, Ecological Knowledges, Designing Sustainable Futures, From Preservation to Care and Caring in a World We Share with Others. In a series of workshops, creative residencies and exhibitions, as well as through artistic or activist research, small lab meetings and in joint publications, the project partners will discuss creative solutions for more sustainable use of the earth’s resources, as well as heritage resources, and thus contribute towards fashioning more equitable futures.