Sacred Books

Bruges, Belgium

Experience authentic day-to-day life in a monastery

The life behind closed doors in a monastery

While the doors of churches are usually open to the public, this is not the case for every religious building. Behind the walls and doors of monasteries and convents, monks and nuns live out lives that are largely unseen and unknown in the outside world. This way of life often fascinates us, because it is so different from our ‘normal’ secular existence. The ‘Sacred Books’ project is designed to shed new and authentic light on this life behind closed doors.

The inhabitants of two active religious institutions - the English Convent and the Carmelite Convent in Bruges - are now prepared to welcome respectful visitors and allow them to see places that until now have only been accessible to the nuns themselves. Once you are inside, the door on the outside world closes behind you and a guide takes you on a short tour through different rooms in small groups of maximum 12 to 15 people. In this way, visitors can experience (and, of course, respect) the calming reality of the convent’s silence. During this tour, the guide tells the story of daily life in the convent, both in the past and in the present day.

Unique experience: a meet&greet with one of the convents's residents

In addition to 500 years of architectural and artistic history, the convents’ collections of books and manuscripts are also breathtaking. In these libraries, with their treasure store of centuries of wisdom and knowledge, the sacred atmosphere is almost tangible.

And before visitors return to the outside world, there is a final unique experience to enjoy: a ‘meet & greet’ with one of the convent’s residents.

From concept over scenography till guidance for operational exploitation

What tasks did AlfaVision carry out?

Design, advice and installation relating to the convent scenography and guidance for its operational exploitation:

  • drawing up a feasibility study and budget projection beforehand (a test project supported by the authorities);
  • development of a concept and its content, including a future-proof scenography that takes account of possible future developments in AR technology;
  • the scenography is designed to provide an experience that is as ‘pure’ as possible, which requires a move away from a traditional museum approach, so that maximum focus can be placed on the naturalness of convent environment;
  • development of a style guide and design of a logo;
  • providing concrete and practical advice for the operational exploitation, including specifications for the ticketing software, accessibility, security, facilitating contacts with specialist suppliers and contractors, etc.
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