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July 15, 2019

Workshop | The Backbone of Museums? Roundtables on a new museum definition

When ICOM invited members and other interested parties to propose new museum definitions as alternatives to the current one, some basic parameters on what a new museum definition should, somehow, reflect or comprise were added.

Some of these parameters point to the inclusion of clear values and ethical purposes and to societal, geopolitical and sustainability issues, which are, significantly, absent in the current definition. Some parameters highlight the importance of retaining the unique and characteristic museum functions. And some voice the need for inventing a new, relational language to express the changed relationship between museums and their communities and address the expectation of cultural participation and equal rights to culture.

The workshops will be centered on these parameters and what they mean for a museum definition and for museum practice.

The methodology will be similar to that of the previous MDPP Round Tables on the museum definition, focused on a number of shared questions to be explored and addressed in turn by all participants, allowing equal time for all at each table.

With participation of the Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials Standing Committee (MDPP) members:

  • Margaret Anderson, Director, Old Treasury Building, Melbourne
  • Lauran Bonilla-Merchav, Professor, University of Costa Rica, Chair, ICOM Costa Rica
  • George Okello Abungu, CEO of Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants
  • Kenson Kwok, Founding Director, Asian Civilisations Museum, and Peranakan Museum
  • David Fleming, Professor of Public History at Liverpool Hope University
  • W. Richard West Jr., President and CEO, Autry Museum of the American West Board Member, ICOM US
  • Alberto Garlandini, ICOM Vice-president
  • Jette Sandahl, Chair of the European Museum Forum, Chair of ICOM MDPP
  • and Afşin Altayli, ICOM Secretariat, Museums and Society Coordinator

ICOM Kyoto 2019

Between the 1st and the 7th of September 2019, Kyoto (Japan) will host the biggest and most important conference of museums in the world. More than 3.000 museum professionals and experts from all international backgrounds will participate in this triannual event, the 25th General Conference of ICOM.  After 24 successful editions, ICOM’s flagship conference has become a worldwide reputed hub for exchange about the topical issues museums tackle today, as well as the most innovative solutions.

ICOM Kyoto 2019 website