Outstanding Museum Practice Award Winner 2023

Image 2.jpg
Workshop on natural pigments for young people from the community by Yaritza Caisamo and Massiel Bardisa

The CIMAM Award for Outstanding Museum Practices recognizes exceptional practices around the world that champion innovation, accessibility, public exchange, and sustainability within the modern and contemporary art museum sector. In its third edition, particular attention was given to practices that were contributing to real structural change in terms of how the Museum functions and that impact on the broader cultural/economic and socio-political context in which it is operating.

Launched in 2019, the award serves as a testament to the vital work done by modern and contemporary art museums globally, navigating the challenges of an increasingly complex and polarized world. Beyond recognition, the award fosters inspiration and knowledge-sharing among museum professionals, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries.

The award was announced on 11 November 2023 during the CIMAM General Assembly, in the framework of the 55th CIMAM Annual Conference hosted by the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires.

Image 1.jpg
Traditional and Contemporary Tattoo workshop for young people from the community by Elio Cunampio and Ali Dakini

The CIMAM Board reviewed the 12 nominations received in this edition. After a meticulous review, the recognition has gone to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Panamá for its innovative initiative “CHAGRES: the Nomadic Residency Programme.”

Suzanne Cotter, Chair of CIMAM's OMPA Working Group, reflects on this year's nominations: "In a landscape where museums are agents of change, our aim was to highlight practices that foster real structural change, with an impact on the wider cultural, economic and socio-political context."

“The “Nomadic Residency Program” is a decentralized artistic residency project that is carried out directly in and with the communities involved. In this first edition, “CHAGRES: Residencia Nómada” is developed in the Alto Chagres region, in the Emberá Drúa community, Ējuä So (indigenous territory). The project is a joint effort among Enea Lebrun, Artist and cultural manager; Andrea Lino, leader of the Emberá Drúa community; Tranchichi (Community cooperative, Emberá Drúa); and the team of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Panamá, led by our public program curator Kevin Lim.”, comments Juan Canela, Chief Curator of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Panamá.

Image 3.jpg
Workshop on aerial and traditional Emberá dance for young people from the community by Sorelvia Villalaz and Ana Delia Gudiño

With the intention of questioning the boundaries drawn between art and artisan work, the project creates spaces for dialogue between artists and artisans addressing issues related to contemporary artistic practices, the dignity of traditional craftwork, reconnection with ancestral knowledge, rescue of the cultural heritage of the people and the visibility and representation of these art forms that resist to the hegemonic and canonical currents of Western art.

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Panamá's practice is commended for its commitment to increasing the visibility and presence of indigenous artists and vernacular cultures in the institution. This recognition reinforces the museum's role as a transformative force in both the local artistic process and the broader cultural landscape.

Image 4.jpg

Suzanne Cotter, expressing her delight at the selection, underlines the importance of initiatives like CHAGRES: "In difficult contexts, the resilience and impact of projects like CHAGRES demonstrate the power of museums to bring about positive change".

The CIMAM Award for Outstanding Museum Practice not only celebrates achievement but sets the stage for continued exploration and innovation within the global museum community. As the art world evolves, these practices inspire us all to embrace the transformative potential of museums.

The 2023-25 CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practice Award steering committee consists of CIMAM Board members: Suzanne Cotter (Chair), Suhanya Raffel, Joselina Cruz, Leevi Haapala, Chus Martinez, and Kamini Sawhney.

Image 5.jpg
Construction of a communal wood-fired oven to make ceramics by Israel and Barbara Cartier

Previous editions of the Outstanding Museum Practice

In its first edition in 2021, the CIMAM Board recognized the work of museums in response to the aftermath of The Global Pandemic and awarded the Queens Museum in New York.

In its second edition in 2022, the CIMAM Board recognized museums for their commitment to the idea of the museum as a continuing and evolving practice and for their willingness to affirm alternative models to the persistent patriarchal and colonial structures of the European museum. Three institutions were recognized: Kokama Museums, Manaus, Amazonia, Brazil; Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes "Rosa Galisteo de Rodríguez", Santa Fe, Argentina and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand.