Elif Kamisli

Exhibition Coordinator, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey

CIMAM’s annual conference in Barcelona was an inspiring experience for me in terms of the keynote speeches, perspective talks, discussions with the conference participants and art spaces that were visited. I work in the field of art because I truly believe that exhibition making is an important way of story telling; and the stories create a connection with life, serve as a shelter in difficult times and invite us to envision other worlds. Different stories can touch people’s lives in different ways and could create small changes that can hopefully lead bigger ones for a better future.

As a young professional, it was an exceptional opportunity to observe and to listen the prominent colleagues who have been creating constellations through their significant exhibitions that were the results of passion and diligent work. For all these reasons and more, I felt a moment of tranquility and hope for the future during the conference of CIMAM.

I am living in Turkey, a country in a turbulent geography. Our discussions regarding the archiving, future of public collections and preservation of cultural heritage contain different sensitivities in the context of the region (such as several digital archive projects around the reproduction of the artifacts and the historical sites that were demolished by ISIS over the last years, come with many ethical and esthetical questions). Coming through this reality, it was stimulating to listen about a variety of models in exhibition making, collecting and archiving from different institutions. I strongly believe that I did benefit from all the examples and had the possibility of rethinking our role in Turkey. I am very grateful to Getty Foundation for giving me the opportunity of participating in CIMAM’s annual conference. After this first experience, I think CIMAM is a unique structure that establishes bonds between the institutions in a macro level through close relationships built in micro level. Considering the possibility of engagement with major discussions in the field, I believe it is utmost important to be a part of it and I sincerely hope to be present in the following editions.