Barcelona, Spain –
The venue of the 7th INMP conference in May 2011 was again an imposing castle, as had been the case for the second conference in 1995, but the setting could hardly be more different. Whereas the castle in Stadtschlaining overlooks a small village surrounded by woods, the Montjuïc Castle dominates the sprawling metropolis that is the Catalan capital Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city.
The offer to host the conference came from Jordi Capdevila, director of the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center (BIPRC), the main occupant of the castle. Until 1960, it had served as a military prison and in the two preceding centuries had born witness to many violent events. In 1963, it became the site of a military museum.
When the Spanish army handed the control and management of the castle to the Barcelona City Council in 2007, it was decided to create a Peace Center in the castle. The Center was created in 2009 to promote a culture of peace through offering training courses for professionals working in peacebuilding, crisis management and humanitarian action as well as through the organisation of diverse events including exhibitions. It was also envisaged that the military museum which was closed down could be replaced by a peace museum.
These developments inspired the conference theme, ‘The role of museums in the transformation of a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and nonviolence’. A special feature of the conference was a round table with a number of local and regional peace organisations.
Many of the papers presented at the conference were published the following year by INMP in a volume entitled Museums for peace: transforming cultures, edited by Clive Barrett and Joyce Apsel.