Brazilian Social Museology, Identity, and Resistance (EN)

The museum is an ancient European institution that prompted the emergence of museology as an independentdiscipline. The field has grown to provide academic endorsement to practitioners and to broaden the study of techniques of collecting, preserving, studying, and displaying cultural heritage towards reflecting the role of museums to society. This response to meeting social demands was especially reinforced by the New Museology movement that took shape and spread worldwide in the 20th century. In the early 2000s, through intellectual exchanges with Lusófona University in Portugal, these dynamics influenced new public policies in Brazil.
Among other things, they enabled the establishment of both the Maré Museum and the Museu de Favela in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Memory Spots Program as a decentralized initiative conceived and implemented by the national government to foster grassroots experiences around social memory. They have since become a resistance instrument for historically silenced and marginalized groups. Now commonly known as Social Museology, the field has expanded to encompass practices that have been referred to as indigenous museology, quilombola museology, or LTBTQIA+ museology. Respectively, these comprise practices ofautochthonous peoples, of the quilombo settlements founded by runaway enslaved people that still exist in urban and rural contexts, and of those who fight for their existence as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, intersex, or transgender. They are among a varied set of identities of individuals and groups struggling to survive in a country where they are exposed to significant levels of aggression and even murder. Resisting gender and sexuality repression, racism, and the destruction of the natural habitat of Brazil’s first inhabitants, such museologies have become the avant-garde institutional practices related to culture and identity in the country today, providing inspiration for the development of museum practices around the world. Drawing on personal experience and concepts related to identities, as well as significant cases, I will present and acknowledge the current Brazilian museological landscape that, in 2023, is recovering from several years of misgovernment that destroyed structures once created to foster and protect memory experiences. A time when the strengthening democracy turns again towards guarding the minorities whose identities have been threatened by exploitation,neglect, and extermination for over 500 years.