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The 21st Century Art Museum:
Is Context Everything?

Museums emerge and exist in changing contexts of history, culture and locality, constantly modifying their operations accordingly. The accelerating rates of change in technology and modes of communication, environmental crisis and massive migration that mark the 21st century, along with the demand upon museums to be not only socially responsive and engaged but effective cultural and economic agents within their locations, arguably intensifies the museum’s necessary sensitivity to context and a culturally diverse demographic.

The CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference will address the evolving relationship between core museological practices and values (related to artists, collections, custodianship, scholarship, display, education and the public) and the necessary responsiveness of museums to context in their drive to remain relevant, innovative and accessible.

The presentations and discussions will be inflected by the context of Sydney, acknowledging conflicted histories of cultural ownership – whose stories are these? – indigeneity and place; that define the cultural landscape of Australia – looking out from the east coast to the Asia Pacific and beyond in its reflection upon questions and topics urgent to museums globally.

Day 1: Challenging the Narrative: Indigenous Perspectives
How and to what effect are museums in the 21st century recognizing and incorporating the cultural leadership of First Peoples?

Day 2: The Future of Collections
How could museums approach to collecting change as they face the consequences of their infinitely expanding collections? And what challenges and opportunities exist in digital strategies for collections?

Day 3: Beyond the Walls
The identity and activity of the 21st-century museum is less bounded by physical architecture than its 20th century precursor. How are museums growing publics and transforming audiences into participants through programs taking place ‘outside’ the museum?

Registrations close on 30 September. 

→ Register Now
View Program


Past, present and future in Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami Director Franklin Sirmans leads us through Miami’s infamous history into the museum’s contemporary place in representing a city and its desires.

Go beyond the walls

Queens Museum Director Sally Tallant shares her experience in bringing the community into the museum at Serpentine Gallery and now in one of New York’s most diverse boroughs.

Build your professional network

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to engage with industry leaders from around the world, sharing knowledge and best practice advice while extending your networks.

Cultural walking tours

Step into Australia’s Indigenous history in Redfern – a site that remains a key meeting place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout the country.

Join the post-tour to Queensland

Dive into Queensland art and culture in this conference-exclusive two-day program from 18–19 November. Visit QAGOMA – one of the leading institutions for Australian and Asian-Pacific contemporary art; Milani Gallery and Artist Studios – one of the best galleries in Brisbane; and the Institute of Modern Art – the oldest contemporary art space in Australia.

Take a day cruise to Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) and experience Aboriginal culture in a sharing of dance, creation stories and local language. Registration closes 30 September.


→ Register Now

Fabra i Coats
C/ Sant Adrià, 20
08030 Barcelona

CIMAM’s office at Fabra i Coats is supported by The City Council of Barcelona.


Copyright © 2019 CIMAM - International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art, All rights reserved.

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