The Van Abbemuseum is for everyone. It tells and collects stories that connect art to the world around us. But those who look closely, see that these stories are usually told by one group of people: the staff of the museum. This population is often white, well-educated and over forty years old. Therefore, they are not a good reflection of society. Yet this small group creates programs that are supposed to be for the whole society. Is the museum really for everyone? And are the stories that the museum tells and collects actually about the world around us?
Looking back: watch the video in which we look back on the Werksalon along with a participant. The video was made by Lidewij Meijer from Jumping Jackdaw.
At the Van Abbemuseum, we believe that a larger, multifaceted group of people should be given the space to tell stories. That is why we organised the Werksalon from 2017 to 2020. This three-year program the Van Abbemuseum, together with a number of groups from the city of Eindhoven, investigated how the stories and perspectives that are not yet shared, can get a place in the museum. This makes the museum more fun, interesting and recognizable for more people.
You can see the Werksalon as a laboratory; a place for experiment and gaining new insights. We use these insights to make the museum a place that is accessible to everyone - regardless of your background, ideology, health, age or gender.
From 2017 to 2020 we invited a number of Eindhoven groups to the museum. Together with them we work towards an intervention within a year. Each group choose a theme and developed a presentation which was added to the collection display The Way Beyond Art. The Van Abbemuseum worked with groups such as a mentor class from the International School Eindhoven, a group from the non-profit organization Vluchtelingen in de Knel and a group representing the foundation IamSHERO, an organisation that invests in the empowerment of young women with a migrant background.
PUBLICATION: TWO YEARS OF WERKSALON
In the booklet below (click on the photo to open the pdf) we look back on two years of Werksalon in the Van Abbemuseum. We also consider its origins; what motivated the museum to this form of collaboration with the city?