Rio de Janeiro will host, from 10 to 17 August 2013, the largest international meeting of museum professionals.


From 10 to 17 August, Brazil will be the seat of the 23rd General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), a meeting held in a different country every three years with the participation of over 2,000 professionals in the field. The theme this year is “Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change” and it encourages the presentation of numerous ideas and experiences that are based on the creativity, with a special emphasis on the transforming role of museums through social memory – an area in which Brazil stands both as a pioneer and driving force. The 31 International Committees of the institution will gather in Rio de Janeiro at Cidade das Artes for a series of meetings to debate the new paths of museology in the country and the world. The event will also be a symbolic opportunity for the Brazilian society to discover the importance of their local museums – which explains why a cultural program of excellence has been developed having both specialists and the general public in mind.

Over eight days, delegates from over 100 countries will discuss topics such as the exchange between museums, knowledge diffusion, participation and qualified mobilization of the public, professional education, innovation and qualification, updating of professional standards, the fight against trafficking of cultural goods and preservation of the world’s heritage. There will also be cultural and social activities held in parallel to the conference (cultural visits, urban expeditions, visual arts shows, literary events, workshops open to the public, music and dance experiences).

Within the professional scope, there will be a fair of national and international products and services, with an emphasis on the world’s most technological and contemporary products for museums to be able to lure their public. This is an action aimed at valuing museums as an important link to the creative economy of culture. An institutional fair will be the living proof of the colossal work museums develop with the communities where they operate, merging experiences from Brazil and different countries, thus encouraging international exchange. Great international and national institutions will be present. Both the professional and institutional fair will be open to the public.

The Conference’s proposal is to welcome participants with a series of activities to value and disseminate the Brazilian culture. For that purpose, museums located all over the country will welcome Conference participants and the general public with open doors, offering an unprecedented high-quality program. One of the keynote speakers is Ulpiano Toledo Bezerra de Meneses, who will open the conference discussing key issues such as the importance of museums as memory agents in the ever-changing world. The roll of conference speakers also comprises award-winning Mozambican writer Mia Couto, who will speak about museums as memory institutions; Spanish researcher Jorge Wagensberg, who will talk about the observatory museum; and Colombian journalist Jorge Melguizo, who will bring an emblematic experience of how the city of Medellín has been transformed by culture from its high crime rates, especially attesting the transforming role of museums.

According to Dr. Hans-Martin Hinz, President of ICOM, “it is an opportunity to strengthen ICOM’s presence in the region, allowing professionals from across Latin America and around the world to dialogue on the future of our field.” Ever since the entity was founded in 1946, it is the second time a conference is held in South America – the first was in 1986, in the capital of Argentina.

For the 23rd Conference, ICOM and ICOM Brazil rely on the co-organization of the Brazilian Institute of Museums / MINC, the Rio de Janeiro State Government, the State Secretariat of Culture and the Rio de Janeiro City Government through the City Secretariat of Culture. The event is sponsored by Petrobrás, BNDES, Bradesco bank, Oi, Light, Gerdau and Vale, in addition to the institutional partnership of Cidade das Artes and the Official Press of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

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