The triennial ICOM General Conferences are gatherings of utmost importance for ICOM members and friends. Milan 2016 will offer space and time for the exchange of experiences and expectations, for discussions about the meeting’s theme, “Museums and Cultural Landscapes”, as well as about strategic planning and the ways in which museums are flourishing these days. Milan 2016 will also be a place for new friendships among museum colleagues. I invite all of you to the upcoming General Conference, which will take place from 3 to 9 July, in just a few short days.
For those members who are unable to participate this year, we will keep the network updated as best possible.
I thank the hosts of the General Conference, ICOM Italy and the Milan 2016 Organising Committee, as well as our headquarters in Paris, for preparing and organising this meeting in the 70th year of ICOM’s existence. We are well aware of the work involved in hosting 3,000 guests. Mille grazie, Italia.
My second term as President of ICOM comes to an end in Milan, and I take the opportunity here to thank all of you for making these past six years a success, for working hard to develop our association and our profession. ICOM is thriving: some 8,000 new members have joined us since Shanghai 2010, our finances are stable, support for the ICOM network has increased and we are more present in once-underrepresented areas, and more active as a protector of cultural heritage on an international scale.
My greatest wish is that you, the members of ICOM, will continue to cooperate so well with my successor and the new Executive Council and strengthen your committees’ work. This is the precondition for ICOM to be heard as the international voice for the future development of museums and a well-respected advocate for the protection of cultural heritage within and outside of museums.
The role of ICOM has evolved over its seven decades of existence. Established by a small group of professionals in 1946, the organisation now counts some 36,000 members from a wide array of backgrounds, but united by a common question. The exhibition Where ICOM from recalls some of the elements that shape the nature of ICOM and museums, and asks us about the future of this institution. In 1946, the world was recovering from a global conflict followed by a long cold war. Seventy years later, while the world has not experienced another global war, it has never seemed so close to widespread conflict. What role can museums and ICOM play in this context?
The exhibition Where ICOM from allows for a possible itinerary evoking, if not all aspects (an impossible mission), some of the dimensions of ICOM, blending places, important events, keynote figures and more. It is an incomplete tale that is not an “official” version of the adventure of ICOM, but instead, a selection of stories from its archives that seek to display some of the dimensions of this organisation.
It is curious that ICOM, which identifies itself as the museum forum par excellence, had never tried to communicate and contribute to debates more frequently, through the feature that sets it apart – exhibitions. Nevertheless, it has done so through publications, talks, and now, its website and social networks. If there is a defining feature of museums, it is that they represent a unique, collective way of thinking, which aims to spread knowledge in spatial fashion, through objects, images and sounds. This is no easy task: to develop an exhibition, space, time and means are required. The one being presented in Milan does not intend to be exhaustive, but to make each visitor wonder, at least for a few minutes, about the facets of the organisation that brings us together, as well as about this highly specific space that museums represent.
The exhibition Where ICOM from retraces, in almost 235m2, the evolution of ICOM over its 70 years of existence, and raises questions about its future directions. An immersive scenography links archive
documents – including pictures, posters and videos – to illustrate the rich history of ICOM. An extensive timeline and selection of important dates show the growth of the ICOM network and the achievements of the organisation over time. Its main activities and upcoming challenges are addressed in stories and personal points of view from ICOM members. Interactive devices will enable visitors to take part in the debate and share their thoughts.
Where ICOM from, 4-6 July, Blue Hall 2, North Wing, level +1
New visual identity for ICOM
The saga of ICOM’s logos!
Hand in hand with its transformations and new aspirations, ICOM has updated its image a number of times over the years. Just a few days from the unveiling of its new logo, we invite you to discover the history of ICOM’s different visual identities. Today we set off for the final leg of our time travels!.
In 1992, ICOM completely revamped its identity. In a calmer geopolitical context marked by the end of the Cold War, and faced with substantial growth in its membership, the organisation sought change. ICOM thus asked the agency M&M to design a new logo, which was ultimately used starting in 1995. This new visual featured blue as favoured by international institutions. For the first time, the acronym ICOM was spelled out as “International Council of Museums”, initially in the two languages, and subsequently, in ICOM’s three official languages starting in 2001.
This new visual highlighted the complexity and diversity of the actors who make up ICOM today. The letter “I”, made up of short parallel lines, symbolises the array of ICOM committees. The “O”, central element of this logo, is accented by a semi-circular comma. The image emphasises the universality of a network whose activities span the globe. The font, typography and boldness are typical of the era, demonstrating ICOM’s status as a modern organisation.
The colour blue, now at the heart of ICOM’s image, will also feature in the organisation’s new identity. For the rest, you have to wait until 6 July!
We’ll see you in Milan for the unveiling of ICOM’s new visual identity at the General Conference!
A number of surprises await to go hand in hand with the change. Get ready!
Reminder: The talk of Milan!
We are delighted to welcome five keynote speakers, artists, thinkers and doers renowned the world over, each distinguished in their very different lines of work and sharing a commitment to the ideals of ICOM. The Opening Ceremony on the morning of Monday, 4 July will include speeches by Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist, and Christo, artist famous for his environmental interventions, carried out with his late partner Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009). The Plenary Session the following morning, 5 July, will feature keynote speeches by Michele De Lucchi, Italian architect prominent in movements including Cavart, Alchimia and Memphis, and Zambian Minister of Gender and Child Development Nkandu Luo. And finally, the morning of Wednesday, 6 July will see a keynote speech by David Throsby, Australian cultural economist at Macquarie University in Sydney.
The afternoon of Tuesday, 5 July will feature another event of vital interest for the ICOM community: the ICOM Memorial Lectures, which were launched at the 2007 General Conference in Vienna. Sponsored jointly by ICOM Austria and the International Committees for Education and Cultural Action (CECA), for the Training of Personnel (ICTOP), for Exhibition Exchange (ICEE) and for Museum Management (INTERCOM), the 2016 edition of this series features interdisciplinary talks on current issues and future developments in our field. Bernice Murphy will give the Jubilee Lecture for ICOM’s 70th anniversary, entitled “ICOM 70 years on: An ethical vision of nature, culture, heritage, and museums’ continuing social mission”; René Rivard will give the Fourth Alma S. Wittlin Memorial Lecture, devoted to “Museums and changing cultural landscapes”; and Cristina Vannini will give the Eleventh Stephen E. Weil Memorial Lecture, on “Revisiting Weil’s cabinet of curiosity”.
Finally, three different Expert Panel Discussions are to be held as well, respectively on the afternoon of Monday, 4 July, the afternoon of Tuesday, 5 July, and the morning of Wednesday, 6 July immediately after the keynote speech. The first will address the implications for museums of the new UNESCO Recommendation on the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society, with the participation of Francesco Bandarin, Tereza Scheiner and Paola Marini, and moderated by François Mairesse. The second is devoted to museum efforts to counter illicit traffic in cultural goods, featuring Eric Dorfman, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Markus Hilgert, and moderated by France Desmarais. The final discussion will focus on the “Social Role of Museums: New Migrations, New Challenges”, featuring David Fleming, Robin Hirst, Marlen Mouliou and Giusi Nicolini, and moderated by Brenda Emmanus.
Fill your Milan evenings
Every new General Conference is another opportunity for participants to discover places of stunning beauty, during the different cocktail parties and activities organised by ICOM. The opening ceremony will take place on Monday, 4 July in the Sforza Castle, the famous 15th century castle located in the centre of Milan. On this occasion, participants will have the chance to visit the new Museum of the Rondanini Pietà of Michelangelo, as well as the recently restored frescos of Leonardo in the Sala delle Asse.
On the evenings of 5 and 6 July, exceptional receptions are scheduled. On 5 July, the National Museum of Science and Technology will open its doors for a public event dedicated to ICOM Milano 2016, a special evening opening to visit the museum's historical sections and undertake experiments in its interactive laboratories. This museum is considered the biggest science and technology museum in Italy, and one of the biggest in Europe and the world.
On 6 July, participants will be able to attend a free concert in the Duomo, the famous 15th century Gothic cathedral of Milan. They will be entitled to a free guided tour of the new Museo del Duomo, as well as access to the roofs of the cathedral, offering a breathtaking view over thousands of marble statues and the urban landscape.
The closing ceremony will be held on Saturday, 9 July at the Triennale Palazzo dell’Arte. Participants will be able to visit the Museum of Design of the Triennale, its park and the 21st Triennale International Exhibition of architecture, visual and decorative arts, design, fashion and audiovisual production.
The complete list of the social events, with the maps and all details on opening times and other useful information are available on the conference website: http://network.icom.museum/icom-milan-2016/socialevents/social-events/.
Some events are open to a limited number of participants: no reservation is needed and the participants will be granted access upon availability.