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- 19 June 2009
ICOM's Annual Meetings
The World Museum Community reflects on solutions to escape the economic crisis
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 8 to 11 June 2009. These Annual June Meetings convened museum representatives and museum professionals from all over the world. The days were marked by intensive meetings reflecting a revival of the organization, which initiated a reflection on the impact of the financial crisis on museums as well as their future.
As in previous years, 300 representatives from 155 countries met in the General Assembly in order to review the actions taken by ICOM and its members on important questions traditionally concerning the world of museums but also the organisation itself.
In 2010, ICOM will reinforce its presence in several areas of the world. First, in Asia, where two major events will be organized both in Shanghai: ICOM’s presence at the Universal Exhibition from May to November 2010 followed by ICOM 2010 General Conference which will take place in November 2010, Second, in the Middle East, development was intensified this year, with the creation of the ICOM United Arab Emirates Committee. Third, the Latin American focus: during the meetings, Rio de Janeiro was elected to be the host city of ICOM 2013 General Conference.
Finally, ICOM will seek to amplify its previous activities in the fight against illicit traffic (by introducing new Red Lists of cultural property in danger in 2010), programs in the event of emergency situations and general sharing of ideas for best practices and code of ethics.
For the first time, and confirming the role of ICOM, a discussion was launched aimed at the heart of the problems for museums on the theme “What is the global economic crisis changing for museums?” Here, Jacques Attali, author and President of PlanetNet Finance as well as James Chung, forecaster and President of Reach Advisors became involved.
Jacques Attali reminded that today’s crisis will be long. He envisions three trends for the future of museums: more museums for more assertive nations, new roles and new publics for museums and new technologies for museums. James Chung focused on the situation of North American museums which survives with 90% of private funding. Today, current major consequences are visible: redundancies and museums closing. Thanks to a parallel with the Japanese financial crisis in the 90’s, James Chung imagines that museums will have to meet the demands of new social and economic categories. Will it be a new Golden Age for museums?
Julien Anfruns, Director General of ICOM, adds that “The exchanges of these General Annual Meetings were intense and constructive. Thanks to this discussion of experts like Jacques Attali and James Chung, ICOM and its members profit from external visions which open new perspectives to the world museum community.”
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