After all, what are favela museums?

After all, what are favela museums?

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This presentation conceptualizes “new museums”. The first well-known “new museums” in Latin America, more precisely in Mexico, were institutions that although created by the public power aimed to popularize museum processes, both through management democratization, deconcentration, and territorial decentralization, as well as through the emphasis on social memory and heritage of non-hegemonic cultures. They have been implemented at least since the 1970s, but in Brazil, they are a phenomenon mainly from the 1990s. It presents two nuances involved in the “new museum’s” definition. The first one is based on an analysis of the public calls for the Memory Spots Award (MSA). On that matter, which of the call rules most contribute to defining initiatives affiliated to the New Museology / Social Museology? How do MSA’s selective procedures legitimize applications, creating exemplary initiatives? The last section explores definitions for “new museums” given by their managers. Identified as members of the teams at the Hill Museum, High Hill Museum, and the Flat Land Museum, the interlocutors reveal how the topography, proximity to the waters, the location in regions targeted by urban renovations, and real estate speculation affected museum existence. While the Hill Museum is located in an industrial area squeezed between two highways, the High Hill Museum is in a complex of hillside favelas sited among expensive neighborhoods in an area of strong tourist appeal, and the Flat Land Museum was created to fight against favela removal from newly requalified areas. The section ends by answering the following questions: how the territory’s population and democratic management are entangled? How do managers influence funding calls and what effects may it have on the retro-feeding of the “new museum's" concept? How have the latest urban developments and the resulting property value increased affected and conditioned favela morphology and the museums'" existence?

Corresponding Author

Márcia Lopes


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Márcia Lopes


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Preferred Track

6. Urban policies

Second Preferred Track

1. Mega-events and mega-projects: trends and demands

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