The first three days had focussed on the already prepared designs, prototypes and ideas of the individual designers – on day 4 our hosts had planned a different approach: the 12 designers were split into 3 groups and given several “hidden treasures” from our participating archives to choose from and use as basis to elaborate ideas for two merchandising products each- one aiming at a general audience, the other targeting teenagers.
The groups had time until noon to draft and sketch some first ideas that were meant to be elaborated and presented the next day.
The afternoon was then again given to 2 inspiring visits:
1. Renowned designer Alvaro Catalan de Ocón welcomed the group in his new design studio, giving highly interesting and personal insights into his prized design projects, such as the “PET Lamps” – an ambitious and fruitful project that mixes the reuse of PET plastic bottles with selected traditional weaving techniques from different corners of the world in order to create unique handmade lampshades:
In the vicinity of the ACdO-studio lies the spacious complex of the “Matadero Madrid – Centre for Contemporary Creation”, the city’s former slaughterhouse and cattle market – one of the most singular industrial establishments of early 20th-century Madrid architecture, transformed in 2006 into a vibrant centre for contemporary arts.
Our designers had the chance to visit two exhibitions by organised by DIMAD (Madrid Designers Association):
“Fresh Product” displaying the year’s best products designed by Madrid designers or produced by local businesses.
“MARCA” a collection of objects for daily use, the result of collaboration between selected designers and manufacturing companies located in the province of Turin. The project is promoted and supported by the Turin Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Piemonte Agency.
Exhibition of the shortlisted projects for the “Toca Madera” competition for young professional designers
Exhibition devoted to Patricia Urquiola – focussing on her work as a designer, showing her works for industrial production, occasionally for craft production and frequently for the cross between them both.
Afterwards Ms Cristina Alovisetti Ruiz-Ogarrio, General Manager at the Museo Nacional del Prado Difusión shared her experience in handling the communication and dissemination of such a big and internationally active institution.
The first day of our week-long artistic residency started with a brief introduction of the project’s expected outcome and main goals, followed by a session of short presentations of the designers themselves, to get to know each other.
The presentations were each followed by a question-and-answer session, while later on the whole group deepened the impressions in 2 short brainstorming sessions.
The final activity of the first day was the common visit to the Museo del Prado‘s permanent collection, trying to get new impressions and inspiration for other merchandise products to be commonly developed in the course of the artistic residency.
The coworking space “Loom Princesa” in the centre of Madrid will be the steam boiler of creative energy during the upcoming week of 17th to 21st of February 2020.
Our 12 selected graphic and industrial designers from Austria, Hungary, Malta, Norway, Portugal and Spain will get together to present, evaluate and discuss prototypes of merchandising objects based on key documents from the project partners’ archival holdings.
The fine line our creative minds had to balance while preparing named objects was, how to bridge a historical context depicted by an archival document into merchandise with out-of-the-box changeovers, but without unhinging the relevance the archival treasure has in view of our shared European heritage! Not an easy task – but we are expectantly looking forward to a variety of solutions and products to be presented during and after the residency- as each designer has his/her own creative focus, preferred working method and material, educational background etc.!
The first year of our project has passed and we would like to share some of our experiences, achievements and activities with you:
Starting point for all our efforts concerning the enhancement of the visibility of archival treasures was the selection of such documents from the vast holdings of the participating archives. During the preparation phase even before the official start of the project in October 2018, the partners agreed on 3 different thematic areas that would be the basis for the 3 planned interactive, multimedia exhibitions:
The construction of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of Europeanness over 1000 years
Exiles, Migratory flows and Solidarity
European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies
All partner institutions made a first pre-selection of unique, noteworthy and so-far hidden archival documents, creating a pool of storytelling objects to draw from. The three lead partners of the different exhibitions then made a second and final selection, reaching a number of about 40 documents per topic/exhibition.
Currently three expert historians, hired by the exhibition lead partners, are in charge of the contextualisation of the documents and creating a common thread to link the objects with the story of each exhibition. Additionally our partners from the Cork Institute of Technology are working on the trans-medial part of the exhibitions – featuring videogames and interactive storytelling – to attract also the younger generation.
The year 2020 will see the finalisation of the exhibitions, to have them circle around Europe by the beginning of 2021!
For many people the prospect of retirement from work gives an opportunity to seek fresh directions and new challenges. Archives seem to become an increasingly popular place to pursue such new ro(o)utes (key word: genealogy). Our project is keen to explore and co-shape these routes together with the silver researchers.
More and more people spend their active life in retirement and many of them wish to pursue existing or new hobbies, leisure and volunteering activities. Furthering one’s own education at the same time is equally important.
There are already a lot of retirees that use the archives actively, for research on local or family history for example. Also, there are certain groups of volunteers (i.e. retired historians) that support archives in crowd sourcing activities such as the identification of certain items on pictures, etc. “Silver researchers bring both great delight into our reading rooms and proof to be of great help for the archive.”, affirms Ole Gausdal from the National Archive of Norway.
As the archives increasingly adapt to the digital age, it seems though that many of the elderly generation are faced with the challenges of new technologies. The archives clearly need to adapt to their active and potential users and explore together how to improve their cooperation with user communities and keep opening their doors for the silver researchers.
A survey to identify fields of interest of archive users
To learn more about the nature of silver researchers in archives, our project has set up an online survey to identify pan-European fields of interests and acquire more knowledge about the specific needs of this specific user community.
If you are part of the silver researcher community (60+ years old), please be kindly invited to take part in our survey. Your participation will be an important contribution to further amplify the services of archives as well as enhance the cooperation between the public and archives in the digital age.
Hosted by the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade and Historical Archives of Belgrade, this year´s second ICARUS Convention tackled all topics related to digital platforms and digital research of archival sources, challenges of archives in the digital societies, international cooperation networks and initiatives creating new ways to use digital sources and bring history closer to the public.
EBNA meetings are organised twice a year in the country that holds the presidency of the Council of the EU. On the agenda are issues of strategic importance in the field of archives, such as digitisation and digitalisation, storage of electronic documents, document theft, disaster preparedness and standards. The European Archives Group (EAG) as an official Commission expert group that ensures cooperation and coordination on matters relating to archives often meets on the occasion of EBNA meetings.
This time our project partner the National Archives of Finland hosts the joint EAG/EBNA meeting as they are also holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We are happy that we get to share our project with the audience!