Back Intercultural Museum

Purpose: The aim of the museum is to exhibit and tell the history of diversity in Norway, conceptualizing the museum as a space of dialogue that involves as wide and diverse a range of people as possible. Consequently, the museum works with issues of mental health and discrimination against gay people, intergenerational and intercultural relationships. The museum draws on universal and shared aspects of culture - such as rites of passage - to make connections across ethnic differences.

An important aspect is to offer assistance to young people in accessing training and the cultural heritage job market. Other important aspects include indirectly helping artists with minority background to enter established networks, and presenting them in the gallery and promoting them to other professional galleries and museums. There is provision of special training in cross-cultural awareness and competence to professionals in the city council and to school-children.

The museum also takes a public stance to advocate the rights of migrants through exhibitions, debates and seminars, including an ongoing series of public debates and meetings in cooperation with the University of Oslo and the Anti-Racist Centre, tackling controversial themes relevant to diversity in Norway.

Stimulus/Rationale: The Intercultural Museum was founded to reflect intercultural reality of Oslo that other museums were failing to do. It was set up as a public foundation which undertook a prize-winning transformation of an old police station and in 2006 merged with two other museums including the old City Museum. Its ethos of respecting diversity and casting an equal gaze was embodied from its inception in its representation– with a majority of people of migrant background on its management board.

Process: The museum has staged more than 100 art exhibitions, performances and courses (painting, dancing, storytelling) for children and youth. It also arranges tours in the most diverse part of the city and tells stories about historic and contemporary migrant communities and mutual influences between different population groups.

Impact: The expected impact is to raise awareness of the diversity of Oslo

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