The Sixth Issue of Newsletter and Feature Articles Released

The Sixth Issue of Newsletter and Feature Articles Released

Topic: Agitation Reverberation: FIHRM-AP 2023 on Synergizing for Human Rights

Editorial Note

In 2019, on the 25th General Conference of International Council of Museums (ICOM) held in Kyoto, David Fleming, the founding president of the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM) announced the establishment of the Federation of International Human Rights Museums- Asia Pacific (FIHRM-AP) as a platform for museums and NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region. It is expected that the platform could encourage organizations and associations to address difficult issues, usually contested and sensitive, through sharing, collaboration, and learning from each other, and to take further action.

As the headquarters of FIHRM-AP, National Human Rights Museum (NHRM) in Taiwan reached out to a total of 174 organizations and museums in 2020 through two projects - the Inventory Survey on Human Rights-related Issues and NGO Resources in the Asia-Pacific Region and the Inventory Survey on Human Rights-Related Cultural Institutions and Resources in the Asia-Pacific Region; the goal is to bring together professionals from different sectors to achieve empowerment, engagement, partnership, and collaboration.

In addition to connecting institutes in the Asia-Pacific region, efforts within Taiwan are also made through co-learning communities and empowerment events to engage 29 museums and NGOs. In October 2021, results of the collaborative learning on migration and human rights were presented through a special exhibition - Ayo! Ayo! Tomorrow Must Be Better, in the same year. In 2022, NHRM was also invited to share experiences at the International Conference on Open Access to Culture in Japan. Following these events, there was also the 2022 FIHRM-AP Climate Change Co-Learning Program in 2022, where 18 museums and environmental NGOs were invited to discuss climate issues. In July 2023, a webinar for FIHRM-AP members was held to share each organization’s views on the topic – “From the Pandemic to the Post-pandemic: New Perspectives on Museums and Human Rights Work” as a warm-up to kick off the following FIHRM-AP annual conference.

Starting from 2019 to 2023, almost from before the pandemic till its end, a milestone since the establishment of FIHRM-AP goes to the first annual conference conducted in November 2023. Themed with “Synergizing for Human Rights”, the event called on voices from member organizations, both at home and abroad, museum and institutes, researchers, and human rights practitioners. The four articles in this issue are crafted by a team consisting of graduate students from Fu Jen Catholic University (FJU) and Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA). Over the two-day event, there were practices of contemporary human rights and also ideas exchanged to incite in-depth discussions; the press team collected information from keynote speeches, paper presentations, the workshop organized by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC), and also through interviews with practitioners.

There are two parts to the feature article - The Power of Action: FIHRM-AP 2023 on Synergizing for Human Rights I & II. It covers how museums, as institutions, are able to make changes under the historical contexts as of today, in terms of challenges faced and reflections that come along. In sessions centering on negative heritage, contemporary practices by museums, promoting community participation, as well as diverse communities and human rights of migrants, participants learned the complex political landscape and cultural diversity in the Asia-Pacific region, along with practices and feedback on dealing with challenges encountered.

News article - Collaborations with Communities: ICSC Workshop features the discussions conducted at the workshop; the participants were invited to re-examine the definition of “community” from multiple aspects and to explore approaches that enable effective collaboration and innovations.

Another piece of story - Cross-border Synergy Dialogue: Practitioner Perspectives on Human Rights Collaboration covers interviews with practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region. On the one hand, serious issues have become more accessible to audiences; on the other, there is also a need for these practitioners to foster mutual trust with communities in the long run, so that a solid and long-term partnership can be established.