The 2017 Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded to Mémorial ACTe (MACTe), Caribbean Centre of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery, Guadeloupe (France).
The museum was selected from a shortlist of three candidates by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Paris today.
According to the rapporteur on the Museum Prize, Adele Gambaro (Italy, ALDE), this “outstanding, stunning and innovative museum fits precisely with the Council of Europe criteria. Initially conceived as a memorial, the museum has become not only a living, dynamic place for memory of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery (connecting Africa, the Americas and Europe), but also a commemoration of the resilience of human beings. It promotes tolerance and opens up in a creative way perspectives for the future.”
The judging panel praised the founding principles of the museum, whose role is to make the act of remembrance a means of producing a new society, with the goal of providing intellectual tools for the fight against the social and societal consequences of slavery such as racism, social exclusion, inequality and contemporary forms of infringement of human rights. Its interdisciplinary approach includes recruiting and training local staff in order to create a sense of belonging and ownership in the very disadvantaged neighbourhood of Carénage. Late opening hours also make it into a lively centre for living arts and a meeting place for the local population.
The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage. The winning museum will be presented with a bronze statuette, “La femme aux beaux seins” by Joan Miró, which the museum will keep for a year, together with a diploma.
The prize is decided on the basis of a shortlist presented by a jury of the European Museum Forum, and forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards.
Recent winners of the prize include the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk, Poland (2016), the MUCEM in Marseille, France (2015), and the Baksi Museum in Turkey (2014).