ICOM ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Extraordinary Session

4-5 December 2000
Paris, France


DRAFT

MINUTES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SESSION


Introductory Remarks of the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee

Alissandra Cummins , Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, welcomed the members present to this Extraordinary Session of the Advisory Committee, and most particularly all of the new members who had made an effort to join in this most important work of the Advisory Committee. She took the opportunity to introduce the following persons to the meeting:

A minute's silence was observed in memory of ICOM members who had recently passed away. Those remembered were David Proctor (ICOM-U.K., ICMM) and Bengt Skoog ( ICOM- Sweden, ICEE)


0. Adoption of the Agenda
Members agreed to adopt the agenda as presented with the inclusions proposed by the Chairperson of a report by Patrick Boylan on the Global Development Gateway as part of item 6.

1. Intervention of the President of ICOM
J. Perot welcomed the opportunity for members to receive from the President a brief report on the progress acheived on recent initiatives to date. Jacques Perot spoke of the importance of the work being undertaken at this juncture in ICOM's existence.


He remarked that as museums changed ICOM must evolve to be capable of responding to their needs, this was why the organisation was undergoing this gradual process leading to proposals for changes to the Statutes, to the code of Ethics, as well as to the operations of the organisation. He particularly paid tribute to the work done by Bernice Murphy and the Reform Task Force committee, Nancy Hushion and the staff of the Secretariat.

The President also drew attention to the tremendous progress achieved in respect of the <.museum> initiative. He recalled the long gestation of this project , inspired by Cary Karp's vision , first under Elisabeth des Portes from 1996 and continuing to the present, where Cary's persistence and follow up as matters progressed, ensured that , when the opportunity arose , ICOM was the only legitimate claimant to this top-level domain name .Jacques Perot thanked Cary Karp for his commitment to ICOM and the J. Paul Getty Trust for providing vital support to ICOM's work in this area.

Also singled out for attention was the work done by the Ethics Committee under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Lewis.This committee had accomplished critical work in preparing proposals for substantial revisions to the Code of Ethics, noting that the Code was absolutely crucial as a tool to bring museums together.

Jacques Perot noted the statement of ICMAH concerning the destruction of cultural property in the Middle East, calling for the political authorities in the relevant countries to support research and conservation activities, by ensuring the free movement of heritage professionals in carrying out their duties. He stated his support for this recommendation, drawing reference to the similar situation occuring in Yugoslavia.

In concluding, the President thanked ICOM's Barcelona colleagues for the important work they were doing in preparation for the ICOM 2001 General Conference.


2. Report on proposed changes to the ICOM Code of Ethics
The Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Geoffrey Lewis, presented the revised draft of the Code of Ethics (Working Document 3) which had been received by members of the Advisory Committee prior to the meeting. An earlier version had been well received at the June meeting. Since then there had been extensive additional consultation through ICOM News, ICOM-L and the ICOM web site. The present document reflected this and was the result of two e-mail sessions of the Committee in September and October and a normal meeting in Paris on 1 December. It had been prepared as a document appropriate to a mature profession - not as a self-justification - and was up-to-date without being trendy. Although the original principles remained, the application of these had been presented intentionally in a less prescriptive manner. The document would also contain a contents page, and introduction and a glossary.

The mandate of the Committee had been to revise the present Code. However, it was the unanimous wish of the Committee, endorsed by the Executive Council, that the Code should be rewritten in the form of principles and guidelines to the profession during the next triennium. This version would also respond to any revised concepts of the museum agreed by ICOM's sovereign body, additional professional activities resulting from this and continuing technological change. It would also remove the distinction between institutions and individuals in the present Code.

The Ethics Committee had wished to be transparent in its work and the present draft included a version identifying the changes made. Mr Lewis then indicated the principal changes and additions that had been made to the Code and the minor alterations made by the Ethics Committee since the circulation of the document. In the ensuing discussion the revised Code was warmly welcomed. Contributions on specific points included the special status of research collections (UMAC), the need to address issues relating to intellectual property and infoethics (ICDAD), the definition of museums(CIMAM, ICTOP); the definition and aspects of cultural property (ICOM-Russia; IATM; ICMAH,ICTOP), terminology (ICOFOM) relationships with volunteers (ICOM-France) and sponsorship (ICOM-Congo, INTERCOM). Gary Edson (USA) then read a letter from Peggy Loar (AAM/ICOM) suggesting further analysis of theCode with a view to producing easily understood guidelines,which was supported by ICTOP. Mr Lewis welcomed this endorsement of the Ethics Committee's longer-term intention.

3. Report on the ICOM-RTF Proposals
Bernice Murphy, the Chairperson of the ICOM Reform Task Force, presented the revisions to ICOM RTF proposals resulting from extensive work of the Task Force since the Advisory Committee's initial introduction to the Toolbox for Renovating ICOM: Report from the Task Force for Review and Reform at its June meeting. A Summary of ICOM-RTF Task Force Recommendations had been circulated in advance to members of the Advisory. She reported that it had been prepared as a result of further meetings of the Task Force (both in September and just prior to this extraordinary meeting of the Advisory), as well as taking into account the detailed comments communicated by many members of the Advisory, and the hard work of the Secretariat in creating a critical profile of the organisation's functions and activities which informed development of the ICOM Strategic Plan 2001-2007.

The Chairperson thanked all those who had so actively participated in this critical review process. She updated members on even further revisions to the latter document as a result of the most recent meetings, including one with the Executive Council and a wider testing group from the Advisory Committee. Members were now invited to give due consideration to the various sections of the Summary Recommendations, which the Task Force felt were of priority and involved changes that could be undertaken immediately, once endorsed by the Advisory Committee and Executive Council for approval and ratified for action by the general Assembly in Barcelona. She nevertheless acknowledged that there was clearly still more work to be done in a number of areas over the subsequent triennium.

Bernice Murphy introduced the further revised versions of R.1 and R.2 on the proposal for ICOM to adopt CORE VALUES and a MISSION STATEMENT, noting that there were still some difficulties in absorbing latest changes in terms of increased length and awkwardness of the text - changes which might obscure the intent of the organisation to be as accessible as possible to a wider public beyond the museum profession. Wide-ranging and enthusiastic discussion ensued on these items, with members giving their fullest attention to merits of including certain key concepts such as research; preservation ( ICOM-CC); continuation (ICOM - ASPAC); intangible heritage [already approved to go forward to Barcelona as a recommended expansion of the terms defining museums in the Statutes]; contemporaneity of certain arts and science institutional programs, where permanent collections might not be a priority ( ICTOP, CIMAM); training of personnel and skills diffusion ( ICOFOM, ICTOP); mutual and voluntary nature of cooperation /collaboration amongst the profession; interpretation and communication(AVICOM, ICOFOM, Austria); reinforcement and promotion of the museum profession; regional/intraregional cooperation in museum work; democratic service-oriented character of the organisation; reversal in the order of museum professionals and museums in the Mission statement. Members endorsed the further development and refinement of these two statements as a result of the discussions outlined.

With respect to other recommendations, following a full review of all the recommendations encapsulated in the Summary, members generally agreed to approve these proposals for transmission to the Executive Council for consideration by the General Assembly. Some recommendations generated vigorous debate before reaching consensus on these matters. These included R.5: urgent need for a full redrafting of the Statutes, not least the definition of museums; R.10: a full exploration of the benefits to members needed to be undertaken (Austria,??) and the possibility of a category of Associate membership to be introduced (Congo); R.13: the issue of student membership should be subjected to careful review, particularly by the National Committees, where it was recognised that much of the burden would be borne, including determination of appropriate student course status and entitlements. Nevertheless members also stressed its importance as a mentoring system for young professionals and for the future development of the profession (Austria, Australia, Algeria, Intercom, ICTOP, AAM-ICOM, ICOM-Spain); R.17: improving communications with members in developing countries, particularly those with limited or no access to the Internet needed to be prioritized (Czech Republic, AVICOM).

With regard to the Advisory Committee, R.21 to R.24: emphasis was placed on the need to transform the Advisory Committee into a much more active body in intersessional periods, reiterating the need to hear the voice of those who were not present, and noting that in fact some National Committee chairpersons are apparently ignorant of their position as members of the Advisory Committee (IATM, Australia, Algeria, Congo, Czech Republic); R.36 to R.41 on National Committees: that role of National Committees as a strong basis for International Committee activities should be properly recognised, as well as the need to clearly identify their identity and activities as complementary but distinct from national museums associations (CECA, CMA, Spain,??). Members actively supported R.41, calling for the establishment of a Task Force on National Committees, giving particular priority to the issue of student membership. They endorsed the Terms of Reference for this Committee, as proposed.

With respect to International Committees, R. 42: a range of opinions was expressed on this item - varying from those who wished to retain the status quo with respect to retention to non-voting membership in two committees apart from voting privileges in one international committee, to total support for the proposal as it stood (i.e., solely for voting membership in one committee). In addition opinions varied on whether membership in an International Committee should be optional or compulsory. Members also brought their experience to bear regarding additional charges being instituted for servicing non-voting categories (Demhist, ICR, ICMAH,Congo, CIMAM, Security, ICME, ICOFOM, CIMCIM,CIDOC, ICAMT); R.46: members supported the inclusion of regular reviews, including review of the viability and effectiveness of existing International Committees; R.45 was generally accepted, and members approved the Terms of Reference of the Committee on International Commitees as proposed, including a closing date for the committee.

Recommendations R. 47, R.48, R. 49 and R.50 concerning Regional Organisations, Affiliated Organisations and Financial Issues respectively, were adopted by consensus. R.51, R.52 and R.53 (excluding sub-para (c) on Legal and Statutory Issues, which included the proposal to create a Bureau as well as Standing Committees on Legal Affairs and Properties and Finance and Resources) were also approved without debate.

On matters pertaining to the Executive Council, R.25 to R. 31 as well as R.34 and R.35, were all approved by acclamation. However, R.32 and R.33, which proposed the establishment of a Nominations Committee, received some critical attention. The issue of regional representation would be difficult to achieve on the basis of geographical criteria (an alternate suggestion was representativity based on cultural areas), but it was felt that this should be explicitly included in the Committee's mandate (Algeria, ICOM-ASPAC). Some members felt that the committee might prove a retrograde and undemocratic step, which might serve to exclude some potential candidates, concentrate power in the hands of a few persons, and infringe on the rights of members to nominate candidates (Australia, Congo, Demhist, Latvia, Czech Republic). A few members voiced opposition to this proposed new nominations process altogether (France, Demhist, Italy). Others were uncertain about the 'agenda' of such a Committee and felt that the mandate of the committee needed to be specifically articulated (CIMAM, ICOM -ASPAC). Others noted the difficulty with current voting process to ensure adequate representativity and the unsatsifactory results obtained (Denmark, ICME, ICTOP). Proposals to develop voting systems to ensure regional representation were also outlined (Algeria, ICMS, MAC). In addition, concerns were expressed that many members did not know about their right to stand for election, and that clearly an educational process needed to be put in place to address this (ICOFOM). Others meanwhile noted the perennial problems of lack of financial support and lack of time which prevented worthy candidates from coming forward, particularly from developing countries (Madagascar, CECA). The right of the Advisory Committee to make the final selection of candidates for election was reaffirmed (CECA,AAM-ICOM).Concerns were expressed over the apparent conflict between the need to keep the General Assembly short and the conduct of the business of ICOM (Australia, Austria). Notwithstanding this however, there was general support for the proposal that the Nominations committee, with a clearly defined mandate, be put into action for a three-year trial period from 2002 (ICTOP, ICOM-ASPAC, Intercom, AAM-ICOM, ICOFOM). Both this proposal, and the urgent need to critically review the election process, were approved for consideration by Executive Council.

On the recommendation R.54 regarding Ethical Issues, there was general support for this proposal, although there was some concern that this process of revision by stages caused problems for those preparing to publish the code in various languages (Denmark, Madagascar, ICOFOM). With respect to R.55 on Other Issues /Further Tasks, this also received general approbation from the Advisory Committee, with the proviso that aspects such as the mission, committees, membership and the representativity of the RTF should be placed on a more 'operational basis' (ICAMT, France, IATM, Demhist, CECA, MAC, Algeria).

Recommendations on Ethical Issues

On the recommendation R.54 regarding Ethical Issues, there was general support for this proposal, although there was some concern that this process of revision by stages caused problems for those preparing to publish the code in various languages (Denmark, Madagascar, ICOFOM). With respect to R.55 on Other Issues /Further Tasks, this also received general approbation from the Advisory Committee, with the proviso that aspects such as the mission, committees, membership and the representativity of the RTF should be but placed on a more 'operational basis'.( ICAMT,France, IATM, Demhist, CECA, MAC, Algeria).

Statutory Amendments

Finally, as a result of the detailed discussions which had ensued during the course of the review of the RTF report and the members' agreement to support the RTF recommendations, the Advisory Committee approved the following proposals for amendments to the ICOM Statutes (see attached for text of amendments)

The Advisory Committee approved the transmission of these proposals to the Executive Council for adoption at the 2001 General Conference in Barcelona, along with those already approved from the Advisory Committee meeting in June 1999.

ICOM Strategic Plan 2001 -2007

The revised ICOM Strategic Plan 2001 -2007 , which now incorporated the draft Triennial Programme 2001-2004 as requested at the June meeting, was introduced by Nancy Hushion. She detailed the background and process of its development and acknowledged the excellent work of the Secretariat in supporting this activity. She also reviewed the additional changes made since the preparation of the document now before the Advisory Committee. Members generally supported the three principal objectives as outlined, although it was agreed to include the natural heritage in Objective 1. ( ICOFOM) . In addition it was requested that end dates be shown for each of the actions identified ( CMA).

Under Objective 1 members approved the actions outlined with the inclusion of

Regarding Objective 2 the Advisory Committee agreed to the specified actions including the amendments indicated below

Objective 3 was approved by the Advisory Committee with the following additions

As part of the process in defining a strategic plan for ICOM, Nancy Hushion reported that a financial analysis of the audited statements for the period 1995 - 1999, plus the projections for 2000 - 2004 (including the draft Triennial Budget projections), had been undertaken. Based on the pattern of increases achieved over the past 5 year period (expressed in percentages), the financial and human resources projections required to implement the strategic plan over the next 2 triennia (2001 - 2007) should be realisable. These points are to be further discussed with the Treasurer and the Executive Council.


4. Draft triennial programme 2001-2004
As a result of the discussions which took place immediately preceding this item, members agreed by acclamation that the ICOM Strategic Plan which incorporated ICOM's principle objectives as approved should replace this plan for transmission to the General Conference.

5. Report on the ICOM 2001 General Conference
Vice Chairperson, Gunther Dembski took the chair and invited the representative of the ICOM 2001 Organising Committee, Sra. Andrea Sastri to address the meeting. Sra. Sastri outlined the recent developments in the planning process which had taken place since the June meeting of the Advisory, and distributed copies of the provisional programme, the associated activities including open platform sessions and trade fair, the social programme and a plan of the conference facilities. She outlined their progress regarding the selection of speakers, the arrangements for pre and post conference tours, and the arrangements being put in place for servicing the International Committee and other meetings.

In response members indicated their pleasure on learning more about the programme and asked for clarification a number of points. Some members placed stress on the importance in receiving the detailed conference programme in a timely fashion. Others expressed their concern with respect to the apparent lack of communication with some international committees, and the need for a detailed interpretation of the conference theme which would enable them to better develop and structure their programmes which lay at the core of the conference . The issue was raised of a possible conflict or competition between the open platform sessions and the international committees programmes due to their being scheduled during the same periods . In addition, some members expressed their concern that the final selection of the keynote speakers was still provisional and could not be further elucidated to ensure inspiration and complementarity with the international programmes as a whole.

The ICOM 2001 Organising Committee took note of the points raised by the meeting and promised that they would act swiftly to resolve these matters, but urged the International Committees to assist in the process by contacting them as soon as possible and discussing their most critical needs.

6. Information Session on the Internet
6a. <.museum> Top Level Domain Name Initiative
Alissandra Cummins resumed the chair and invited Cary Karp to provide an overview on this most exciting and successful venture in which he had played the leading role, after so many years of determinedly encouraging ICOM to take the initiative in the field of internet communications and linkages. Cary Karp outlined the process by which ICOM and the J.Paul Getty Trust formed a partnership which created the entity MuseDoma, for the purpose of making their successful application with the dot. museum proposal to ICANN. ICANN's approval of this proposal was the first step in the creation and management of a restricted, top-level domain for the benefit of the museum community whether on-line or not as eligibility would be based on the parameters of ICOM's definition of a museum.

In response to a number of questions and comments from the members,Cary Karp detailed the importance of this development not only for museums and ICOM in securing the internet identity of all types of museums and related phenomena, but also for the general public seeking information about museums and their collections which would inspire, excite and educate them by making such unique resources immediately accessible and identifiable. He further articulated the potential of this initiaitive beyond museums to the wider heritage and culture community whereby it was entirely feasible to consider that MuseDoma could play a significant role in the establishment of dot library, dot archives amongst others.

He then outlined the next steps in the process of establishing a viable basis of operations and indicated that if all went well that MuseDoma intended to launch this formally by opening for registration at the ICOM Barcelona Conference in July 2001.

6.b Global Development Gateway
Patrick Boylan was then invited to take the floor to provide information on Global Development Gateway, another internet-based initiative in which ICOM was closely involved, supporting the GDG information service recently established by the World Bank. The Global Development Gateway is an important a new initiative that is being launched by the World Bank and partner institutions around the world, which is already at the development and testing stage.

The GDG aims to be a premier Internet site that will consist of easy to find and use "portals" of information focused on specific topics - such as Culture and Development (with sub-topics such as Heritage Preservation, Cultural Management and Cultural Economics), together with country gateways representing each client country. The purpose of the GDG is to foster partnerships and create effective development strategies by bringing together the many different stakeholders who can contribute solutions local and donor communities, civil society, specialized agencies, the private sector, and other partners. It will facilitate the availability of better information and know-how to the development community around the world. It will also enable information-sharing among development partners on development activities and trends, funding, and commercial opportunities.

Patrick Boylan noted that ICOM has become one of the founder specialist non-governmental organisations contributing information and advice to the project and is already pledged to assist in making relevant information available, and it is, of course, itself already recognised in the Culture and Development area of the GDG. Both ICOM-CIDOC member Eleanor Fink ( now Senior Cultural Heritage Specialist on the staff of the GDG Development team)and himself , who had been appointed to a part-time position as "Guide" (Manager) for the Culture and Development initiative were actively involved , with Secretary-General Manus Brinkman and Communications Officer, Valerie Jullien as the initial contacts.

To be a success, and to serve all who urgently need such information, including cultural organisations, governments, development agencies, non-governmental organisations (such as ICOM itself) and interested individuals, this has to be a collaborative effort bringing together both all the agencies dedicated to, or interested in, culture as well as agencies involved in development.

However, this is intended to be a truly open and democratic new service, in which anyone with information, experiences or views can fully participate. All ICOM bodies, and all individual members are therefore urged to consider whether they have anything to recommend or contribute - particularly at this stage publications, reports, case studies or similar material relating to the very wide area of interest of the GDG.it is now up to ICOM members and the wider cultural sector community to contribute content to it.

7. Other Matters
Jacques Perot announced the details of the Printemps du Musée programme being developed by the Direction des Musées de France. Il will be held on the 1st of April 2001.

8. 61st Session of the Advisory Committee
The Chairperson announced the dates of the next session of the Advisory on Friday 29th June 2001, at the Palacios de los Congresos, Barcelona, Spain. She commended the Organising Committee for having prepared such an exciting programme for the General Conference and noted that the members were eagerly looking forward to participating in such important activities.

Alissandra Cummins thanked all of the members of the Advisory Committee for having demonstrated their continued interest in and commitment to the organisation, through their active participation in this extraordinary meeting, as well as those not present who had added to the success of the reform process through their comments and communications prior to the meeting. She reminded that arising out of their deliberations, members would be receiving completely revised documents , based on agreements reached, in advance of Barcelona.

The Chairperson then asked the Advisory Committee to join her in thanking the staff of the Secretariat for their dedication and hard work and congratulating them for their professional approach to the reform process of the organisation.

Having thanked the interpreters for their support throughout the meetings, Alissandra Cummins declared the meeting closed.



Top of the page


For further information, please contact: thibet@icom.org

Created: 8 January 2001
ICOM Welcome Page