Resilient, sustainable and participatory practices:Towards the GLAMs of the commons

The outbreak of the pandemic created unprecedented challenges for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs), which were already struggling during the last years with issues of underfunding, increased maintenance and operational costs, and challenges imposed by over-tourism.

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call to rethink how cultural production and consumption are organized and articulated with different sets of actors and local contexts, towards safeguarding sustainability, access, and the well-being of the sector, its workforce, and surrounding communities.

Long before the pandemic crisis, European cultural policy encouraged museums to embrace participatory governance and digitalisation (European Commission, 2010), become more financially self-reliant, and diversify their income-generating activities.

It is thus vital to map pre-pandemic practices across the sector, to fully account for the pandemic effects on the sector, and to explore novel solutions that will inform GLAMs’ response and adaptation to the post-pandemic era, under a new conceptual paradigm that will advance GLAMs as the agents of change.

GLAMMONS project aims to provide answers to the above challenges, fill gaps, and advance research and policy employing the theory of the commons to

i) provide in-depth analysis and evaluation of ongoing shifts (with a specific focus on both pandemic-driven transformations and digitalisation) in the field of GLAMs,

ii) explore and assess practices (concerning management, finance, and participation) that emerge around small-scale, community-led GLAMs and the possibility of transferring relevant knowledge to more “established” and traditional ones to provide more sustainability to the sector.

Rooted in a track record of internationally recognized research excellence and world-leading practice, GLAMMONS will deliver an ambitious work programme, mainly through a novel conceptual approach:

the GLAMs of the commons.