Press Release

2022 European Museum Academy Prize Winner

I-ON (Identity on the Line project)

The European Museum Academy is known for its thematic awards – the Luigi Micheletti Award, the DASA Award, the Art Museum Award, the Children in Museums Award (in cooperation with Hands On! International) and the Heritage in Motion Award (in cooperation with Europa Nostra and Europeana – currently on hold). All the above awards are presented annually, with prospective candidates submitting applications.

The EMA Prize is not presented every year. It is given by the Board of EMA on the basis of proposals submitted by its Pool of Experts, National Representatives, Institutional Supporters or other groups involved in EMA activities, and was established with the aim of recognising the outstanding results of organisations, researchers and cultural institutions in creating pioneering museums, or producing studies and carrying on projects of European relevance destined to influence the development of museological discourse at the international level.

For only the fourth time in its history the EMA Board has selected an EMA Prize winner: I-On, an overall project between six cultural history museums and one university from seven European countries. They all researched the consequences of migration processes in their own country/region. Lead partner of the project is the Vest-Agder Museum, Kristiansand, Norway. The seven participating institutions are:

Croatia: The Ethnographic Museum of Istria researched, based on the political history of the Istrian peninsula, the multi-ethnic population of 200.000 emigrants after WW II.

Denmark: The house of Knud Rasmussen focused on the migration of Greenlanders to Denmark from 1945 onwards.

Lithuania: The University of Vilnius studied the migration process related to the Lithuanian Jews and Poles forced to leave the country after the occupation by the Soviet Union.

Norway: The Vest-Agder Museum has studied the temporary migration of 500.000 German soldiers between 1940-1945.

Poland: The Museum of Middle Pomerania studied the demographic structure of Pomerania due to the changing frontiers in the aftermath of WW II.

Slovenia: The National Museum of Contemporary History focussed on the migrants from former Yugoslav republics to Slovenia.

Sweden: The Ajtte Museum paid attention to the forced migrations among Saami people.

The seven migration processes cover, in sum, experiences of soldiers and children of war, indigenous people, internally displaced peoples due to war, multi-ethnic inhabitants emigrating and their descendants searching for roots, and a mixed group of migrants collectively deprived of their identities and basic human rights.

The project unfolds common features of migration and its impact on future generations: children and grandchildren. It is about identities, basic human rights, discrimination. It is all about so-called difficult history.

I-On is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

The EMA Board has decided to give the EMA Prize to I-ON because:

  • It is admirable that a mid-sized museum as the Vest-Agder Museum has set up such a complex international project, bringing together six other small/mid-sized institutions scattered all over Europe.
  • The impressive outcome is a joint travelling exhibition, separate exhibitions in all countries concerned, publications, webinars, school packages and so on. It shows what mid-sized museums can achieve!
  • The project is for sure an important contribution to the understanding of the history of migration in the 20th century, thanks to its international exposure Europe-wide.
EMA Prize

The EMA Prize, which is held by the winner for one year, consists of a piece of contemporary sculpture by the Swiss artist, Etienne Krähenbühl (1953- ). The Prize will be handed over during the EMA annual meeting in Esch-sur Alzette, Luxembourg on Saturday 10 September 2022.

Previous winners:

2011    Galileo Museum, Florence, Italy

2013    Europeana, The Hague, The Netherlands

2016    POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Poland

Further information: Karl Borromäus Murr, EMA Chairman karl.murr@timbayern.de