Peace and Human Rights
As museums evolve amidst a changing society and fluctuating public policies, so do their social responsibilities.
Museums, by addressing contemporary societal issues, past and current injustices as well as difficult histories, have an important role to play in supporting peace and human rights. They can do so by becoming a space for dialogue among and between diverse communities, and by fostering creative problem-solving. ICOM and its network seek to promote these discussions through mobilizing the international museum community and its many stakeholders.
DECOLONISATION AND RESTITUTION
At ICOM 25th General Conference, a session was dedicated to the topic ‘Decolonisation and Restitution: Moving Towards a More Holistic Perspective and Relational Approach’. This panel session, divided in two parts and bringing together representatives of over ten national committees of ICOM, examined how the sector is leading and responding to the decolonization movement and considered how decolonisation is influencing our understanding of restitution.
ICOM published in December 2018 an issue of Museum International on ‘Museums and Contested Histories’, which addressed a wide range of contested issues under three central themes: shifting/negotiating narratives, collective agency and museum activism.
“Museums for reconciliation: communities, pedagogies and memories” was a training programme organised by ICOM, the Museum of Historical Memory of Colombia (MMHC) and ICOM-Colombia. The workshop took place in the Museum La Tertulia in Cali, Colombia, from 7 to 11 October 2019, with participants coming from different countries of the region. With this training programme ICOM and the MMHC promoted reflection on the museological and pedagogical challenges that contemporary Latin American museums are facing when developing projects and activities linked to the construction of memories, conflicts, processes of resistance and resilience, dialogue and reconciliation.
Peace and Human Rights is a transversal topic which encompasses many activities developed by the ICOM network, while National and International Committees have led actions which are specifically dedicated to these themes.
A Decolonisation Roundtable hosted by ICOM UK, Arts Council England and the Museums Association, with support from the British Council, was held on 4 October 2019 in Brighton, UK. This invite-only session discussed current issues around decolonisation in the museum sector.
ICMEMO is running a project entitled “Art Focus on Human Rights and Women’s Rights: Nigeria (2018-2021), with the aim to raise consciousness about a range of issues affecting Nigeria today, and how they inevitably affect the rest of the world.
COMCOL held its annual conference from 25 to 29 September 2018 at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, in collaboration with the Federation of International Human Rights Museums, devoted to the theme of ‘Contemporary Collections: Contested and Powerful’.