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?

Conference overview

Conference schedule


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