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Words by Laurie Giraud

Pre Creative Study Lab – Marseille

On October 7th, 2021, partners from Weltmuseum Wien, the Royal Museum for Central Africa, MARKK Hamburg, the Research Center for Material Culture, Pitt Rivers Museum, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Cambridge and the Slovene Ethnographic Museum participated in the online meeting “Collaboration for Future Practices”, in preparation for the Creative Study Lab, which is part of the project's Work Package 1 “Matter of Care”.

It intended to reflect on possible approaches for the in person meeting in Marseille at the Mucem on February 2022. In the course of the exchange, Mucem presented the activities it is responsible for in the framework of the TAKING CARE Project and other subjects related project (see details below). The participating Partners were invited to react and share their respective experiences. Professor Sandra Laugier, teaching philosophy at Panthéon Sorbonne university attended the meeting and introduced her thoughts on the notion of “Care”.

Many questions arose, among them:

  • How to integrate the question of intersectionality in the work carried out by a museum within its collections?
  • Can we rely on existing models to create a more democratic world?
  • How to take care of the audiences and donors to the collection?

These issues will be tackled in the next meeting which will take place in Marseille.


Mucem activities in a nutshell:

The artistic residency

For their project residency the Mucem is hosting the artist and photographer Antoine d'Agata (March-December 2021) whose work illustrates the experience of marginality and transgression, the sharing of destitution and of a reality that is sometimes violent and less represented.

In 2020, Antoine d’Agata adopts this position in the pandemic situation, in the streets and intensive care units, where he captures intimate fragility, death and its harsh truth, and economic and social power relations. 

More here


The experimental exhibition “Psychodemia”

On December 10, 2021, the exhibition Psychodemia, will open its doors at the Conservation and Resource Center of the Mucem. It will combine Antoine d'Agata's photographs with the collection "Vivre au temps du confinement" (Life under lockdown), which was created following a call for donations launched by the Mucem during the first lockdown in the spring of 2020. The exhibition will be built in several parts, each opening a dialectic between Antoine d'Agata’s work and the collection’s objects. This dialogue between the hospital, museum and social fields is a subjective and sensitive restitution of what care (but also non-care) can represent, in time of a global pandemic.


The survey-collection
The Mucem has gathered several hundred photographs, objects and stories revealing different living conditions under this unprecedented situation. These donations are part of an investigation that analyzes the participatory process, its impacts between donors and the museum, but also the discriminations that it can generate from a socio-cultural point of view. Simon Le Roulley, post-doctoral student in socio-anthropology and specialist in daily life, is conducting this survey for the Mucem.

The research
In this issue of taking care, the Mucem associates experts from different fields: philosophers, caregivers, researchers, artists, thus allowing to bring different answers.

Sandra Laugier, Professor of Philosophy at Panthéon Sorbonne University, shared her expertise on the ethics of care, and to accompany the Mucem in the development of theoretical tools around the question of taking care, in its entirety. She details the importance of recognizing vulnerability, of the need to extend our concern for the other beyond the pandemic; to make it a social value, as important as autonomy, justice and freedom.

Researchers highlight the difficulties encountered in carrying out a representative and accurate survey of the world. Social conditions and living standards seem to be determining elements in the study of the donors’ panel. As the call for donations was made via social networks, the majority of responses came from social classes linked to the museum world. The survey tends to broaden the panel of donors, by surveying various social fields that are far from the "museum" institution.