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ICOM - Museums and Politics in St. Petersburg
From Tuesday, 9. September 2014
To Friday, 12. September 2014

Three National Committees of the International Council of Museums – Russia, Germany and the United States – have joined together to initiate and carry out the conference “Museum & Politics” (in Russian “Museum & power”) which will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia on September 9-12, 2014. The conference is a special event in two ways:

  • For the first time the conference brings together museum professionals of these three countries to exchange views and thus offers a unique opportunity for personal and professional conversation, the implementation of joint projects and intercultural communication.
  • The conference is devoted to a highly topical issue in museums and the culture sphere, namely the diverse connections between museums and politics. It is about the role and function of museums in the international debate on Cultural Heritage, national and collective identities and the politics of history, about the changing conditions of public funding of museums and cultural policy as well as the growing range of tasks of museums in cultural and non-formal education. It is about nothing less than the localization of museums in the political sphere, their options to influence our world but also the dangers of being influenced.

Papers and session proposals are now being sought on the following topics. Proposals are due February 28, 2014 and the full call for proposals can be found here (in English) and is also available for download here (in English, pdf) and here (in Russian, pdf).

1.    Museums, foreign policy and international interests and conflicts

  • Museum exchanges as a factor of cultural policy

  • Is the process of concentration in the museum landscape consistent with the requirement for cultural diversity. Do national politics echo the policy of the international agencies?

2.    Museum and the “making of memory”

  • Representation of political and contemporary history in museums

  • Museum as public area, where power shows its public face. Museum as a forum for civic engagement to encourage activism, civil responsibility, equality, tolerance and concepts of liberty

  • Problem of the heritage. Museum exhibit as “distillation” of the public nature of the museum. Politics has got the power over the museum exhibit? Museums are independent from the politics in their relationships with the public. Museums could collaborate with the politics in the area of the history.

  • Museums and the fourth estate

  • Censorship

  • Governmental politics in a museum sphere

3.    Museums as instruments for developing state and society – new arguments and legitimations

  • Role of the museum in creation of the area and public capital. Place of the museum in the modern conceptions of the town-planning and development of the territories

  • Museum as a subject of the cultural policy. Principles and formats of the cooperation between Museums and legislature, executive power of different levels: practice and problems

  • Museums and visitors. In contemporary world museums should be welcoming and accessible places for all people

  • Transformation of the social functions of a museum. Museum – is it a cultural institution or cultural and leisure center or it is a polycultural and scientific center?

  • Museum as a factor in regional development. Regional specificity and experience in cultural area formation with museum practices

  • Museum as educational areas

  • Museum as point of tourist attraction

  • Museum as a factor of cultural and economic development of the region

4.    Who cares? The responsibility for financing the cultural and natural heritage between the public and the private sector

  • What is the status quo of museum funding? What are options for co-financing museums in different societies with different traditions? How can the basic values and criteria of the museum be secured in face of budget cuts and idea of profitability of cultural institutions?

  • State programs on preservation and development of culture as forms of the financial support of the museum development

  • State policy and non-governmental support of museums. Achievements and problems

  • Legal control in the sphere of preservation, State protection of objects of cultural heritage

  • Problems of the cultural heritage preservation, including the sphere of technique and collections of the company museums

  • Museums and religious organizations. Should museums return religious objects of the cultural value to the religious organizations?

  • Problems of museums dependent of different ministries or companies. Museum as non-core asset. How to explain the role of museum to the head of the agency?

You are invited to use the blog to test your ideas for a presentation and for discussing them. To find out how click here. To learn more about the blog project, click here.

Location St. Petersburg