SAWA Virtual Series Glossary Project

During the Covid 19 pandemic, SAWA took place as virtual series. 20 former participants of the SAWA Program started working on a trilingual glossary. It contains museological terms explained in Arab, English and German. In small mixed groups with two to four participants from the MENA region and Germany, every team found a different approach to a term. This led them to reflect on their personal perspectives and to identify translational challenges. They were accompanied by the SAWA facilitators in regular online sessions. The glossary is a continuously evolving project; with every year the glossary terms are expanded through new perspectives of a new group of participants. The result of the project can be found on the Glossary page.

SAWA Program

SAWA Museum Studies Program is designed to offer a comprehensive exploration of various facets of museum practices. The program consists of two on-site workshops, each one lasting two weeks, in Sharjah and in Berlin, accompanied by monthly online meetings in between. SAWA Program is divided into modules, each focusing on specific areas of museum practice including, collecting, documenting, curation, interpretation, education and cultural heritage preservation. Participants engage in a combination of workshops, practical projects, and hands-on experiences to deepen their understanding and practical skills in these areas. Additionally, site visits to museums and cultural institutions further enrich the program by offering valuable real-world exposure. 

The program fosters a collaborative learning environment, encouraging participants to actively engage in discussions, share insights, and learn from each other’s diverse perspectives. The SAWA Program seeks to create a safe environment for discussions about barriers and difficulties encountered in the museum practice. Participants are confronted with practical problems as  facilitators speak openly about the challenges of contemporary museum practice and take real examples from their own field. 

Close contact with the facilitators and professional exchange on equal terms offer opportunities for future collaborations, joint projects and the emergence of new international, regional and local networks.

“Working with different participants in each activity
helped me to open my mind to different cultures
and also to different ways of working in museums.”

Former SAWA Participant 2018

Participants emphasize that SAWA is not comparable to other further education programs in the museum sector. They state that as an added value, in each exchange, numerous discussions with museum workers have given them insights into areas of museum practices that they were previously unaware of. Participants do not just spend time together. They live, eat, work and think together. This changes the participants not only on a professional but on a personal level as well. They realize that what remains in the end are not the differences but the similarities.

Module 1
What is a museum?

Local and International perspectives

Module 2
Collecting and Documenting

Participative strategies for past and present

Module 3
Curatorial Strategies

From single to shared authorship

Module 4
Museum Communication

Access, Engagement and Interpretation