News / EMYA2023 testimonials by Museum Studio travel grants /

Since 2017, Museum Studio has been offering each year 6 travel bursaries (previously known as the Events travel grants) that are awarded to the staff of museums nominated for EMYA who would otherwise be unable to atten, to emerging museum professionals – the next generation of innovators, as well as to the EMF National Correspondents.

We thank Museum Studio for its generous support and to our grantees for joining us in celebrating the EMYA2023 Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony in Barcelona from 3 to 6 May 2023.

Here are the testimonials the 2023 grantees shared with us!
For more information about the Travel Grants please visit here

Eithne Owens, Creative Director of the Event representing Chargeurs Museum Studio and welcoming EMYA2023 travel grantees at a reception organized at CosmoCaixa © David del Val, MUHBA

Although I’ve been working in the cultural heritage sector for more than 10 years now, out of which 6 in the museum sector, to be even more precise, 2023 was my first time attending the EMYA conference. Of course I was aware of the work of the EMF, mainly by keeping up to date with the news on social media, but did not contemplate attending the conference before. This year I had two major factors playing in the favour of my decision to come to Barcelona – the museum I’ve been professionally associated with was one of the nominees and I’ve been lucky enough to receive the Chargeurs Museum Studio Travel Grant.

I came to Barcelona with an open mind, not knowing what type of professional gathering to expect really – whether it would be more in an academic conference style one or maybe focused mainly on presenting the nominees or even something entirely different? To my surprise, between the keynote lectures, discussion panel, nominees presentations, tours and workshops, EMYA2023 had it all, and each and every of the items in the agenda seemed relevant both to my professional knowledge as well as more personal interests. It also brought me a lot of joy simply by being a part of the international community of people “speaking my museum language”.

Having a rather specific industrial-heritage background, it was extremely valuable to me to be able to see where the pulse of the museum sector beats and what constitutes the topic of most vivid discussions at the moment. It’s not always easy to take a look outside of our own “bubbles” of interest and specializations, and being able to confront my reality with that of art museums, for instance, gave me that different perspective I’m not experiencing daily. Another lesson were the workshops I attended where the Workers Museum colleagues shared their best practices and experiences of meaningful participation.

I left EMYA with my sense of purpose and belonging to one big museum world (and/or family) somehow renewed, the feeling most needed after mundane challenges of the public cultural sector, and I do hope to be able to come in the following years to experience that “recharge” once again.

Michalina Bieńkowska
Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze

Michalina Bieńkowska presenting the Queen Louise Adit Complex. Coal Mining at EMYA2023 © David del Val, MUHBA

I have been national correspondent for Hungary since 2014. Due to various reasons (4-year maternity leave, COVID, exhibition opening) I could not attend conferences so far, that is why I was very glad to receive the travel grant for the Barcelona conference. I also wanted to get acquainted with as many national correspondents, as possible. I really appreciated the possibility of the national correspondent meeting, because it was very good to communicate with each other in-person, and also lots of good ideas have come to the front concerning the operation of this group of people. Should there be any task, I can assist with, I am ready to help and participate in the work!

The conference was a great opportunity for me to learn about the main topic Democracy and Democratization: Urgent Challenges Today. Our institution, the Hungarian Open Air Museum will organize the next biannual conference of the Association of European Open Air Museums in 2024, which will focus on the social and historic traumas, and the different presentation techniques and representation questions in an open air museum setting. Thus the keynote speeches and lots of the panels were very interesting for me. Getting to know the nominees is the most fruitful experience, as they highlight the museum presentation and representation trends in Europe, and can serve as models in several areas of museum work. I also found the workshop at the end of the conference very useful, it provided even more possibility to communicate with the presenters. The Barcelona History Museum's programs and venues meant a very good professional experience, and Director Joan Roca was a fantastic tour guide and also had great examples of community participation he told me about. The book stall at the conference was also a very good idea, it would be even better to have a wider range of books on offer, as this is an excellent opportunity for museum staff to purchase books on museum issues. I hope to mediate all this newly acquired experience and knowledge to colleagues and students in the confines of adult and higher education related to museology.

Let me say thank you for selecting me for a travel grant, it was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the European museum field.

Zsuzsanna Nagyne Batari
Head of the Department for Science and Interpretation Hungarian Open Air Museum

Dear members of EMF and Chargeurs Museum Studio,

First, I would like to thank the opportunity to participate on EMYA2023 in Barcelona with the aid of the travel grant, which was essential to guarantee my travelling and stay at the venue.

Second, this participation allowed me to amplify my knowledge on the European museum field, either through the candidates presentation (and their richness and diversity of this lot), and either getting renewed notions and concepts on European museology, reinforcing the learning process on my current post-graduate museology studies. The contact with other museum professionals like myself gave me the chance to understand new approaches and augmented my professional knowledge and my critical vision on new practices and thoughts.

Last, but definitely not the least, I want state the importance of my presence in EMYA2023 on the fact that (my museum of) Portimão will host this same event in 2024, therefore all the knowledge captured here will serve as an added value in terms of preparing the event during
the following months. And I look forward to welcome the European museum family in my home town!

Joaquim Carvalho
Técnico Superior at the Museu de Portimão, Portugal

A great part of the Portuguese participants in EMYA2023. Joaquim Carvalho is on top left. Andreia Filipa Conceição is on bottom left.

First of all, I would like to thank, on my own behalf, and on behalf of Sesimbra Maritime Museum, for the unique opportunity that the European Museum Forum has given me.

Attending the EMYA 2023 annual conference, the award ceremony, and the national correspondents meeting was one of the most rewarding, and inspiring, experiences of my professional life. In this sense, I deeply believe that the skills i´ve gained will help strengthen the work of the Museum I represent with its different audiences.

In spite of its small size, the Maritime Museum is playing a key role in carrying out the European Strategy for Culture in the local community and Portugal, and I am very grateful for having the opportunity to exchange knowledge with professionals from the participating museums, which will be key in bringing our initiatives to the next level.

In this sense, I would like to highlight that this opportunity will help me, and my team, improve and continue growing with the ever-developing role of the museum.

Finally, I believe that my experience, particularly from the perspective of “Do Local and Think Global”, was a true value to the other participants of the Conference, with whom I had the chance to talk.

Andreia Filipa Conceição
Técnica superior, Divisão de Cultura
Câmara Municipal de Sesimbra

As a representative of The Union of Tbilisi Municipal Museums - Ilia Chavchavadze Literary-Memorial Museum, I won a travel grant in the framework of a competition announced by the European Museum Forum. This grant allowed me to attend the annual conference and European Museum of the Year Award - EMYA2023 ceremony in Barcelona From 3 to 7 May. One of the nominees among the 33 museums of EMYA2023 was our museum - Ilia Chavchavadze Literary - Memorial Museum.

The great success of two Georgian museums in one of the world's prestigious competitions is an important precedent and is truly a great recognition for the Georgian museum field. For the first time in history, Georgian museums became winners in important categories, thus marking a worthy position for Georgian museum institutions on the European museum map. For me personally, attending the annual conference and award ceremony of the EMYA2023 was an honor and great opportunity to meet representatives of popular European museum institutions, getting interesting experiences and innovations from museum professionals. And most importantly, I was given the opportunity to proudly share the success of my museum.

Thank you once again for this great opportunity to the European Museum Forum, the entire organizing team, your attentive and very polite staff and the host country for such a great welcome and hospitality.

Maka Kvaratskhelia
Curator of Ilia Chavchavadze Literary-Memorial Museum
The Union of Tbilisi Municipal Museums

The EMYA Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony was truly an eye opening experience for myself and our entire team. Of course we heard of EMYA before, but having been able to attend this conference was an amazing opportunity. I thought I understood the significance of our nomination for EMYA 2023 before the conference, but I was wrong.

Being able to participate in the Conference and represent Olive Museum Klis as a candidate made me realize what an accomplishment this truly is. After seeing all those other candidates, the level of their commitment, the grandiosity of their museums and the efforts they've put in to get to this level of recognition, I was astounded. To be able to represent one of those entities nominated for this award was personally a very important and rewarding experience.

Having the chance to chat with other representatives made me understand that EMYA is truly the most prestigious award in the world. Upon entering the MUHBA and realizing how many people are there to make sure every aspect of the Conference is being taken care of, I was speechless. The ambient of the place was also breathtaking, everything went smoothly and was so inspiring that the time simply flew by.

After witnessing the emotions clearly shown on the faces of the winners, I became aware of how significant this prize really is in the museum world. This travel grant really helped me cover some costs and allowed to be able to have some friends and partners at the Award ceremony, since I really wanted them to see and realize what an accomplishemnt being nominated for this award really is. They were also amazed to witness the ceremony and to understand that we have something to be proud of.

The nomination and the entire experience will certainly mean a lot in our future business and it will definitely encourage us to keep working even harder in upgrading the level of experience for our visitors.

Marin Jerković
Olive Museum Klis, Croatia

Marin Jerković presenting the Olive Museum Klis at EMYA2023 © Afsin Altayli