Museo ICO. The end of a cycle

After fourteen years at the helm of Museo ICO's educational activities, hablarenarte announces the end of its collaboration with this public museum dedicated to architecture and photography.

Started in 2009, hablarenarte's collaboration with Museo ICO responded to the association's desire to activate mediation programs and support the creation of education departments and teams in those cultural institutions that lacked them.

As formal and rigorous as the legal form of the tender may be, over the years hablarenarte has found in Museo ICO an accomplice with whom to define an increasingly rich educational program. Over time, the program has diversified, opening up to schools, families, people with functional diversity, youth and adult groups. Conversations with the Museum staff were always based on co-learning and empathy, which made it possible to move away from the traditional approach of guided tours for schoolchildren.

It has been years of experimentation in a little-explored field: the intersection of art education and architecture. Mediating architecture is not an easy task, because of the technicalities of the discipline, its abstract representations, its economic scale or its apparent tectonic coldness. We have always wanted to read the city and the urban landscape, on the contrary, as an inhabited, contested, intergenerational, multi-species territory, where our voices, gestures and ways of being have a place. Inspired by essays such as Jill Stoner's Towards a Lesser Architecture, we have softened the built to make room for imagination, desire and ephemerality.

Among many other things, we have made impossible plans, flimsy models and rooms with tape. We have questioned the sustainability of the construction industry and celebrated architectures of mud, adobe and reused textiles. We have reflected on domestic care and visited cooperative housing such as Entrepatios. We have strolled around Zorrilla Street, with its dense parliamentary, representative, commercial, tourist and museum architecture. We have entered hundreds of landscapes, houses and buildings through photography. We have used plastic arts, music, theater, performance and games to approach architecture from another point of view.  And we have drawn and drawn, or as Paul Klee would say, we have taken pains to "take the line for a walk".

Special mention should be made of Empower parents, an accessibility project focused on children with autism and their families, which hablarenarte discovered at the Queens Museum in New York and which we brought to Spain with the support of Fundación ICO.

Today, as valuable as this stage at ICO has been, we feel that our capacity to contribute to the project is partially exhausted. As happens to many long-lived projects, habits, ways of doing things, structures have been installed that slow down the flow of sap. This is especially the case in rigid frameworks such as the bidding process, which tends us towards a vision of education as a service. However widespread it may be in the landscape of cultural mediation, tendering - understood as a service and not as true collaboration - does not quite fit our current structure, know-how and projection.

The baton is now passed on to Cápsula Cultura, the winner of the new tender, to whom we wish the best of luck for this stage. We have taken care of this transition as much as we could, for the sake of our colleagues Paula and Samuel, who will continue working at Museo ICO, and for the immaterial memory of the mediation practices we have developed over the years.
And, who knows, maybe the lines will cross again at some point.


The educational program at Museo ICO has had the support of the entire association, and especially with the coordination and mediation of Álvaro Molina Martín, Sofía de Juan, Ignacio González Cavero, Javier Martín, Sören Meschede, Eva García, Tanit Lagüens, Fran Rojas, Nuria Gregori, Laura Donis, Elena Pavón, Carmen Mateos, Carmen Riesta, Miguel Díaz, Paula Mateo López, Hanna Hincapié, María Ene, Mamen Adeva, Carlos Almela, Carlota Cabello, Eva Garrido del Saz, Samuel Vilella and Alba Recio.

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