Apropa Cultura (Getting Closer to Culture): inclusive museum, united museum

Elisabet Pueyo

I think that the most interesting thing to share with you in these lines is not only explaining what the programme Apropa Cultura (Getting Closer to Culture) is, but also passing on to you what it has meant to be a part of this initiative that joins together and creates synergies between cultural facilities and social entities.  And let me add, just in case it may seem strange to any of you that from the field of museums that somebody does this thing called marketing, I believe that it is precisely one of the virtues of the programme Apropa Cultura: to integrate and encourage everyone to form part of a common project.

For some years now, with the educational team of the museum we have been working on the social inclusion of people with cognitive impairment, functional diversity or with mental disorders, as well as with other collectives at risk of exclusion.  We already had the bases and the experience.  So, why not form part of the programme Apropa Cultura?

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Well, simply because this would mean making the offer of the museum known to a greater number of social centres and groups with special needs and to increase the reach of the service and the social returns. The online platform Apropa Cultura  includes the programming of the 55 participating facilities – theatres, auditoriums, festivals and museums, and also allows people to make bookings for the shows, visits or workshops.  By forming part we would extend in this way the types of entities we could reach.

The incorporation meant that during the 2013-2014 course, the attendance and the diversity of the groups multiplied, compared with previous years.  75% were centres that hadn’t come before, and the number of beneficiaries was doubled. Within the platform Apropa Cultura the museum offers  the modalities of the participative activity, commented visit or free visit for collectives with functional diversity or cognitive impairment, for the elderly or for immigrants, amongst others.

These results, in terms of figures, are significant enough and that’s why we shouldn’t forget about the need to also think about the sustainability of the model by means of the types of fees – from free of charge, that we started with, to the current reduced fees (all of the programming is offered at prices of between €0 and €3 per person).  And always taking into account the premise of the ideology of the programme Apropa: the value of the culture in all its senses.

Other aspects that have led to the participation of the museum in the programme Apropa Cultura.

First of all, from an outward looking perspective, it has reinforced the networking between facilities:

  • training sessions aimed at the staff which deal with the public so that they learn and agree how to make the experience of the users as satisfactory as possible
  • training course about different artistic languages aimed at educators in social centres (plastic and visual arts, performing arts etc.) so as to provide them with resources which are applicable in their day-to-day work
  • presentation sessions regarding the programming to the entities of the social sector
  • participative sessions of communication work.
sessio formativa Educa am l art sessio d'avaluacio

Secondly, from a more internal perspective, it has served as a way of bonding between the departments.  From the moment it was proposed to us to participate, the museum team, by definition interdisciplinary, has worked, and continues to work in a more united way, closer, if I may say: the department of education elaborating and reviewing contents and methodologies so that the educators-guides can put them into practice by working alongside the social educators; the departments of communication and press for spreading them and carrying out the diffusion; the department of marketing by keeping their ears to ground so as to catch the external and internal needs with the aim of ensuring that everything runs smoothly and is measurable and can be evaluated; the people in charge of the management of audiences by dealing with the bookings and making the hospitality a basic ingredient for the experience of the groups.  And, of course, everything boosted by the management department and accompanied by the director of the museum, given that the social mission of the museum is an unquestionable strategic axis.

The 1st Apropa Cultura Week, held between 26th October and 1st November had the aim of providing visibility to the task of the social entities and spreading the campaign of awareness-building with the aim of the society becoming aware of the importance of making culture accessible to the most vulnerable people.

And to sum up, I would dare to say that all of this has been quite easy, not only because we believe in it and because the museum has been working along these lines for some time, but because the team of the Auditorium, with Sònia Gainza heading it, has given the project the maximum professionalism and emotion. And this gets passed on to everybody.  As example of this, I invite you to take a look at the video Apropa Cultura that syntheses the commitment of this project.

Related links

Accessibility at the Museu Nacional

Community Programmes at the Museu Nacional

The Ultimate Guide to wheelchair accessible Barcelona, Spain

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Elisabet Pueyo

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