The AMIR team regularly produces texts and documentation using both video and photography when developing new projects on specific calls for tender, events to publicise the project, accounting reports, and press conferences.
Other resources available
Monitoring and assessment
A monitoring and assessment process was implemented by the anthropologist Sabina Tosi Cambini. Through focus groups and interviews, she assessed the impact on the mediators, museum educators and the public. In 2022, a curricular internship was established with Camilla Santoni, which led to the writing of a master’s thesis titled “Museums and intercultural dialogue: from theory to practice. AMIR project: analysis and impact assessment.”
Presentation and publicity
The AMIR project was presented at conferences and conventions.
In 2019, it won the MUSACCES award at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid for the section: “Protection and valorisation of cultural heritage for all people”, as an initiative for social inclusion and empowerment of the general public.
It has been the subject of research theses and printed articles.
The activities are regularly communicated and shared using the AMIR website and various social media channels.
Most of the funding comes from the Fondazione CR Firenze, which guarantees the ordinary activities, and from public bodies including the City of Florence, the Region of Tuscany, UNAR - National Office against Racial Discrimination, for the extra activities.
In all the participants, the project raised awareness of the potential inherent in the interpretation of cultural heritage as a space open to new narratives, perspectives and subjectivities. This heritage is not static, but a living and relevant system, which fosters the equitable, respectful and multifaceted representation of cultures, valuing the contribution of underrepresented communities (immigrants, lgbt+, political movements and activists). For museum professionals, the project consolidated practices aimed at the social function of museums, capable of becoming spaces for lifelong learning, cultural promotion and participation.
Quoting one of our mediators: “Not only does AMIR invite you to the party, it also gets you dancing”.
One of the main challenges is the continual updating and innovation of the programmes, favouring the construction of original narratives and the specific contribution of each of the mediators in order to guarantee a quality museum experience for visitors.
Where it originated - the actions that preceded it
AMIR began in 2018 as part of the European project “Emme - education museums and migrants experiences”, financed by the Erasmus+ programme and coordinated by Stazione Utopia. Its aim was to offer to a group of museum educators examples of best practices, strategies and tools to implement programmes for and with foreign nationals and citizens.
Thanks to “Emme” we were able to travel to Berlin together with the mediators to study and learn about the exemplary experience of “Multaka: Museum as Meeting Point”, also meeting the directors of some of the State Museums that promoted it. It was an opportunity to develop a methodology and framework for action to be adapted to the Florentine situation.
The participants involved - the project network
• Sponsoring institution: Stazione Utopia, coop a.r.l Impresa Sociale
• Partners: Thematic Museum Network “Musei di Tutti [Museums for All]”: Municipality of Fiesole | Archaeological Museum and Archaeological Area of Fiesole and Museo Bandini; Fondazione Primo Conti | Museo Primo Conti, Florence; City of Florence | Mus.e, Museo di Palazzo Vecchio and Museo 900; Istituto degli Innocenti | Museo degli Innocenti, Florence.
• In addition to the institutional partners, the project was extended to other institutions for specific projects, including: Uffizi Gallery | Boboli Gardens; University Museum System, Florence | Botanical Garden; Regional Directorate of Tuscany Museums | Garden of the Villa Medicea di Castello and Villa Medicea La Petraia; Fondazione CR Firenze | Art Collection.
• Supporting partners: Region of Tuscany Region and Fondazione CR Firenze for ordinary activities; public and private bodies for individual sub-projects (see item “How it is organised - the working stages”).
The workforce - the project team
• Heads of Educational Services and educators from the museums involved
• 32 mediators from a wide range of backgrounds and nations such as Afghanistan, Angola, Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, The Gambia, Morocco, Cameroon, Colombia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Peru, Ghana, Romania, Brazil, Guinea, Pakistan, China and Italy.
The project is aimed at different target groups, without priority criteria, including: the Italian adult public; foreign resident communities; the school-age public according to the different school systems and grades (elementary schools, first- and second-year high schools) and after-school pupils; CPIAs and cooperatives dealing with the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers; volunteer associations.
AMIR seeks to valorise people from migrant backgrounds as bearers of unprecedented values and points of view, with the power to enrich and enhance the reading and interpretation of cultural and museum heritage; not just audiences or users, but active participants who can develop autonomous narratives and enrich museums and their presence in the city with original content and experiences.
The guided tours, workshops and video lectures are designed for the participants as opportunities for intercultural dialogue and comparison, aimed at building a counter-narrative in which migration and cultural differences are recounted as a phenomenon that has always existed: not as a social emergency, but a historical process that has contributed over the centuries to enriching and altering the creation of our own cultural identity.
In recent years, the project has initiated a shared and participatory exploration of colonial processes that still contribute to the stratification of meanings and readings related to cultural heritage. The project is attempting to develop decolonial practices starting with marginalised and under-represented minorities.
Since when, and for how long
The project was launched in 2018 and is still ongoing. The project regularly offers training opportunities which focus on the specific nature of each museum, as well as transversal training opportunities (guided tours of the city centre, intercultural dialogue topics, in-depth studies on specific themes). Recently, we have also experimented with peer-to-peer training sessions, where the mediators themselves prepared lessons for other groups of mediators and the general public.
Over time, AMIR has provided various training opportunities.
- In September 2018 two days of updating and training were organized aimed primarily at educators of partner museums, so that they could become tutors of groups of citizens of foreign origin, but also open to external professionals.
- In theNovember 2018a 24-hour history and art history course was held (from the Etruscan civilization to the European twentieth century), conducted by two lower secondary school teachers and aimed at a group of 40 citizens of foreign origin including refugeesə residents of the Florentine area for a long time and an inmate of the Sollicciano prison with a special award permit.
– The group was subsequently divided into smaller groups, entrusted to the heads of the educational services of the individual museums: together, they deepened the general themes of history and art history already addressed, as well as the more specific ones inherent to the respective collections, while developing methods and approaches to museum mediation
– The project still guarantees hours oftraining dedicated to the specificity of each museum and transversal training opportunities(guided tours of the city centre, issues related to intercultural dialogue, insights on specific topics - for example the Robbiane, futurism, etc.). Over time, new men and women mediators have been added, while 12 of those who participated in the first part of the project have left the group.
– We have recently also launched opportunities forpeer-to-peer training, in which the mediators themselves, together with the tutors, prepare lessons aimed at the group of mediators and the general public.
How it is structured – the phases of work
The project has become ordinary and continuous, and theactivities are part of the educational and mediation programs of the partner museums. This means that the work steps intersect according to the various designs.
Theideation stagesand implementation of the activities are normally divided into:
•definition of the disciplinary contentswith respect to the collection and/or the museum, by museum educators
•meetings with all mediators and with all the mediatorsto jointly define specific topics to address; mediators are encouraged to build original contents with respect to those proposed by educators during ordinary visits, or aimed at tourists
•writing a textwhich, alongside the essential historical-artistic elements, includes the individual contributions of the mediators and mediators, in order to create a sort of canvas shared and revised by the mediators same, available for consultation and usable by any new mediators and mediators who join the network
•proposal of visit itineraries to the general public, which can be booked through the project secretariat (during the visits we try to minimize the interventions of the educators, in some cases up to leaving all the phases - accreditation, tickets, accompaniment, chat management in the case of online activities, etc. . – are conducted by men and women mediators).
The project developed sub-projects based on the needs that gradually emerged:
• AMIReduis the section dedicated to training meetings, appointments aimed at mediators and dedicated to specific issues, and subsequently made available to all audiences and to online mediators themselves for further information.
•AMIRlab: in the summer of 2020, laboratory activities were proposed for children aimed at schools, summer centres, families and after-school activities, in the impossibility of carrying out activities in the museum due to the health restrictions due to Covid.
• AMIR video: during the pandemic we have proposed digital contributions to be shared on social channels dedicated to more general themes and less related to the individual museum.
More recently new sub-projects have been started:
•“2021 AMIR | prospects": on the occasion of the "Week of action against racism" a special calendar of activities has been prepared, both online and (where possible) in presence, aimed at school and after-school pupils, adults and museum professionals; the common goal was to bring cultural heritage to life as a resource for anti-racism education and for intercultural comparison.
•“2020-2021 AMIR4ALL”:a cycle of free visits and special workshops aimed at schools, summer camps, families, after-school activities in the Piagge, a suburb with severe social and housing hardship.
•“2019 Like seeds on a journey”: visits to explore the botanical and cultural diversity that has made vegetable gardens and gardens real laboratories, where plant and artistic forms that come from other climates and from other crops and cultures have always been reproduced and crossed.
• “2019 Multaka International Network, AMIR”:is among the projects that have set up an informal network of 15 museums in Europe which, inspired by the "Multaka" model, offer museum mediation activities conducted by citizens of different linguistic-cultural backgrounds.
The fields – the disciplinary areas
History and history of art, civic education.
The strategies and tools
The methodologies used in training mediators, who in turn are invited to use these methodologies during the visits, are object-based learning and constructive dialogue. Through questions and contributions, these methodologies encourage conversation and the active participation of each person.
In recent years, various original activities have been produced by the mediators and geared towards different audiences, including museum tours, workshops, videos, video lectures and video conferences, and podcasts.