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What it means to be a Judge

Marlen Mouliou, Greece

I have been following EMYA’s work for long time, long before I joined the panel of judges, not only for learning more about the candidate museums, and their diversity of types and approaches but mostly for better understanding the evaluation grid EMYA has elaborated over the years. In my view, quality evaluation and institutional accreditation are key factors for museum regeneration and innovation in every country. The key elements that render a museum successful and socially valuable, if compiled together, can create a unique map of museum qualities. These qualities can help museum professionals navigate the challenging seas of their profession and develop further the connecting value of museums and their relationships with diverse audiences.

As an EMYA Judge, I have broadened my appreciation and respect for the EMYA institution, first for the incredible effort put by candidate museums in compiling their applications and for the immense breadth and depth of museum innovation and social engagement advocated and practiced by museums in Europe. Each year these museums co-create an influential network of progressive museum thinking in Europe from which all museums can benefit a great deal.

As an insider now, I have also cemented my comprehension and appreciation for the evaluation methodology developed by EMYA (the “package of museum qualities” as Kenneth Hudson called it), which is solid enough to provide benchmarking guidelines for museum excellence but also flexible enough to acknowledge and salute the uniqueness of each museum, irrespective of size, status, budget, type or geographical location, and reward the best of the best for their high achievements. In this respect, the intellectual capital, co-created by all candidate museums and the EMYA Judges during the process of annual evaluation, stands out for its quality and profoundness.

On a more personal level, traveling to different locations in Europe to visit museums brought me closer to different cultures and places, always positively surprised me and gave me the opportunity to meet very talented museum professionals. Being a judge is a great responsibility, as this role demands not only sound knowledge of the museum world but also intensive work within tight deadlines, clear and logical arguments that are crucial for reaching impartial decisions, fairness and open-mindedness, integrity and vision to acknowledge innovation. It is by all means a very exciting challenge and rewarding experience!

Karmele Barandiaran, Spain

To be an Emya Judge is an opportunity to connect with other cultures and to be aware of our diversity. Not only cultural and socially, but also in the way people think and see the world or, more focused, in the model of management or the relationships with the public in the different museums. It helps to share knowledge and experiences with other European museums in a local perspective, which improves and contributes to the overall cultural and social development. To visit the nominated museums as an Emya Judge gives the opportunity to get to know a cultural project at first hand, explained by its staff. It is an incredible experience to get to know other professional realities and it gives the possibility to compare in order to improve and develop your own cultural projects.

Metka Fujs, Slovenia

To be an EMYA Judge is primarily a great honour and responsibility. It is at the same time also an opportunity to meet European museums in all of their wonderful diversity of collections, missions, ideas, stories, values and experiences.

Marco Biscione, Italy

An EMYA Judge has the possibility to get a deep insight on many interesting new and renovated museums. Being an EMYA Judge is also an opportunity for meeting colleagues, for discussing their vision and their approach, for understanding the connection between museums and communities, the communication with a wider public. It is an enrichment both at professional and human level.

Kimmo Antila, Finland

Working as an EMYA Judge opens a unique viewpoint to the European museum development. It is a responsible task and a role in which you can highlight the very best practices and expertise in the museums to your colleagues and to a larger audience.

Agnes Aljas, Estonia

To be a judge means having the opportunity to learn about and understand the innovative ways in which contemporary European museums are working with different topics across diverse fields. It can be a testing duty to evaluate different museums from different traditions that work in different conditions, on different topics and with different collections. As a jury member, I will endorse the new developments and strategies with which museums have engaged. I hope to be able to highlight practices that encourage innovative knowledge and viewpoints, that lead to creative approaches and which promote socially responsible museum work.

Afşin Altaylı, France

I accepted the invitation to join the EMYA Jury with great joy and enthusiasm. As a new judge I am particularly interested in two main areas of our work: exploring and understanding contemporary museum practices in Europe, with a focus on innovation and the social role of museums; and discovering new ways of making accessible the knowledge and expertiese accumulated through the EMYA scheme over decades to a wider museum community. 

Amina Krvavac, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Over the past years, I have had a chance to interact with the EMYA judging panel, to learn about its work and the values it stands for, as well as its detailed evaluation process, but from the perspective of a museum candidate for one of the prizes awarded under the EMYA scheme.

In the course of this process, I understood how valuable the existence and work of EMYA is for any European museum, big or small, old or new, as it continuously inspires and motivates the museums to strive for higher quality and excellence in all aspects of their work.

Becoming a judge and finding myself on the other side of the process is an incredible honour, one that comes with great responsibility to contribute to this important mission.

Joining EMYA judging panel is an incredible opportunity to get to know and work closely with an inspiring and dedicated group of professionals on promoting and advocating for excellence and innovation in the European museum sector. The privilege that comes with being an EMYA judge also lies in visiting and learning about the incredible work of nominated museums. Engaging in meaningful conversations with a very diverse pool of professionals allows for personal and professional growth, resulting in life-enriching experience.

Dhikshana Turakhia Pering, United Kingdom

I am extremely proud to have been asked to join the EMYA judging panel, and to work alongside such brilliant peers. In a time when representation and inclusion has never been more important I know connecting with colleagues and museums across Europe, will enable me to see the brilliant ways organisations are run as much as how they produce their content and engage their communities. I also look forward to meeting the people that make their museums what they are. Finally, I know the experience of being a judge will make me a better museum professional in the years to come.

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