Van Abbemuseum was created as a cultural offer to the people of Eindhoven with a purpose to elevate them with the beauty of art and to give them an opportunity to be engaged in the cultural life. But what kind of cultural offer could meet the expectations of a culturally diverse, international community of today’s Eindhoven? Looking for an answer to this question, the curators of Van Abbemuseum in collaboration with Expat Spouses Initiative organization opened the dialogue on internationalization between the museum and expats of Eindhoven. This dialogue is the way to select the topics which should be addressed by the museum in its further work in order to reflect the society in museum’s exhibitions and to establish new relations between citizens of Eindhoven and art. Van Abbemuseum, with its collections containing a significant amount of works created by international artists, is the place where the need for the dialogue between a cultural institution and international residents of Eindhoven appeared naturally.
The first discussion session on internationalization was held on the 15th of November, 2017 in Werksalon of Van Abbemuseum. During the first session, the questions on the social issues most relevant for expats were brought up. How do expats view themselves in the community of Eindhoven? Which problems of life as an expat in Eindhoven are the most important to them? What are the challenges that an expat spouse faces? Are expats more politically active as the residents of Eindhoven or as the citizens of their homelands? How do expats identify themselves: do they feel Dutch, or European or maybe they feel being in the ‘grey zone’ of not fully belonging to any particular group? The questions discussed in Werksalon corresponded with the key topics of the exhibition “The Way Beyond Art” – Land, Home, and Work. “The way beyond art” is the exhibition of Van Abbemuseum which in time will represent the results of co-creation and collaboration of the museum and internationals of Eindhoven, conveyed in commentaries, stories told by the participants of the dialogue and changes in the display.
The museum will continue with the internationalization sessions in the near future. It encourages expats of Eindhoven who love art and are open to the dialogue to join the meetings in Werksalon. The registration for the next session is available at Expat Spouses Initiative.