Café da Memoria, Galicia
This program started in 2008. It is an open chat while taking a coffee, where the guests are elderly people who are invited to talk upon a subject that is both part of its personal history, and part of our cultural heritage.
The process implies previous talks with ethnographers and anthropology researchers who mediate to contact the men and women we´d like to invite to every Memory Café. Once the link is made, the MPG staff visits the people at their place, in order to meet each other and establish some fellowship, solve doubts and clarify the invitation to speak at the Museum. The Cafés aims to give visibility to people who have much to tell, but did not use participate in the Museum life until recently. In the Cafés these beholders come to share their memories into the space of the Museum, where many items related to their childhood are exhibited. Thus they can feel recognition of their knowledge and life experience. The coffees wouldn´t be possible without the generosity of these people.
We seek to bring together a diversity of public, in order to ensure intergenerational gathering and dialogue. It´s also a mean to collect oral accounts in the museum itself, while recording a way of expression that shows the richness and variety of our language. Memory Cafés are a chance to keep on learning.
During the activity there´s a facilitator of the talk. chat. Usually anthropologists knowledgeable of the topic addressed, who prepare a script to search out the things we need to gather information upon during the conversation. This person and the informants meet in a common lunch we all have the same day of the activity, as the Memory Cafés take place in the afternoon.
Most of the Cafes we have done so far have been carried out by women. For example, the two starting ones dealt with female leisure time, first in the field of urban postwar Compostela and then within a rural parish, but also we it was comprised topics as women in the world of sailor or motherhood . This predominance of women is not by chance: women in a traditional society play a crucial role in the transmission of what we now call intangible cultural heritage. Furthermore, we believe that older women were and are silenced, due the many obstacles that patriarchy and inequality has been infringing on us. As a result, Museums have scarcely been able to build a message beside the andro-centrism of classic ethnography, by including the feminine without resorting to stereotyped formulas.
Cafes are recorded in video, keeping the raw material of this recording in the Museum archives.