CIMAM – International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art – is an Affiliated Organization of ICOM.*
CIMAM is the only global network of modern and contemporary art museum experts in the field. CIMAM members are directors and curators working in modern and contemporary art museums, collections, and archives.
Founded in 1962, CIMAM’s vision is a world where the contribution of museums, collections, and archives of modern and contemporary art to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society is recognized and respected.
CIMAM’s aim is to foster a global network of museums and museum professionals in the field of modern and contemporary art in order to raise awareness and respond to the evolving needs of modern and contemporary museums, and to take a leadership role on issues of concern.
By generating debate and encouraging co-operation between art institutions and individuals at different stages of development around the world, CIMAM plays a key role in the growth of the sector.
CIMAM is a largely volunteer-driven organization and relies heavily on the generous support of individuals and organizations.
The members of the Board work on a volunteer basis throughout the triennial, overseeing the everyday operations of the committee.
An executive team of two based in Barcelona, Spain runs CIMAM’s programs and activities.
*ICOM – International Council of Museums – is a network of more than 35,000 members and museum professionals created in 1946 who represent the global museum community.
- An Annual Conference that brings together members from different parts of the world to debate theoretical, ethical and practical issues concerning the collection and exhibition of modern and contemporary art, and to share experiences, followed by visits to the foremost contemporary art institutions, collections, and projects in the region. The first CIMAM Annual Conference took place in 1962 in The Hague. Since then the Committee has celebrated 51 conferences that have been held in over 30 different cities around the globe.
- The establishment of professional codes of practice and ethical standards for institutions and individuals. In 2009, CIMAM generated and adopted the General Principles on Conditions of Deaccession from Modern and Contemporary Museum Collections.
- Museum Watch, an advocacy program intended to be a tool to assist modern and contemporary art museum professionals in dealing with critical situations that impact on the ability of museums and individuals to maintain their professional codes of practices. It does so with the aim to stimulate reflection by generating debate and by uncovering topics for future conferences.
- A supportive network for professional development. CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program supports the curatorial and research development of individuals through their attendance at the Annual Conference. Since 2005 CIMAM has supported over 300 young curators and museum directors in attending the Annual Conference.
- CIMAM’s membership program. The most renowned international network of modern and contemporary art museum experts in the field.
- Free admission program to a network of almost 200 museums and biennials worldwide.
Projects and Working Groups
The board plays a vital leadership role in supporting the mission of CIMAM to ensure the continued recognition and sustainability of museums, collections, and archives of modern and contemporary art as contributors to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society.
During their honorary tenure, CIMAM board members each contribute to practical and strategic working groups that look to ensure a global participation and perspective, acknowledge visionary practices, and to address some of the more urgent challenges facing modern and contemporary museums today.
1. CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practice Award
Launched in November 2019, the CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practice Award recognizes exemplary practices in the programs and activities of museums around the world. It is dedicated to promoting excellence in innovation in modern and contemporary art museums, and to encouraging exchange and sustainability within the sector. The Award aims to give visibility to outstanding cases of success in modern and contemporary art museums and to establish an online directory of examples as references for the international community of modern and contemporary art museum professionals.
The 2020–22 CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practice committee consists of six CIMAM board members: Suzanne Cotter (Chair), Suhanya Raffel, Ernestine White-Mifetu, Ann-Sofi Noring, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, and Rhana Devenport.
2. Museum Watch Program
In 2012 CIMAM initiated a series of statements regarding difficult situations affecting Museums and Collections around the world. This led to the Museum Watch Program that serves as an advocacy program addressing specific critical situations that impact on the operations of museums, not-for-profit institutions, and individuals working in the modern and contemporary art field, sometimes in regions affected by world economic and political crises.
The 2020–22 Museum Watch Committee consists of six CIMAM board members: Bart de Baere (Chair), Calin Dan, Sarah Glennie, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Victoria Noorthoorn, and Eugene Tan.
3. Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice
This program was launched in November 2019 with the aim of responding to the current climate emergency and of working together with ICOM’s Sustainability Working Group to identify and put together a set of best practice guidelines. The group on sustainability and ecology will be addressing the following questions and developing them collectively with CIMAM members: How can museums respond to the climate emergency?
The 2020–22 Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice group consists of five CIMAM board members: Frances Morris (Chair), Suzanne Cotter, Mami Kataoka, Ann-Sofi Noring, and Rhana Devenport.
4. CIMAM’s Annual Conference Contents Committee
The committee works together with the hosting institution to identify the conference topic and sub-subjects for each day. The Annual Conference aims to anticipate and discuss questions relating to the running and development of contemporary art museums and collections worldwide.
The 2020–22 Contents Committee consists of five CIMAM board members: Saskia Bos, Agustín Pérez Rubio, Eugene Tan, Victoria Noorthoorn and Malgorzata Ludwisiak.
5. Engaging with ICOM – International Council of Museums
As part of CIMAM’s strategic goals for this triennial, this new working group initiated in 2020 will work closely with ICOM on key issues that concern museums globally, such as climate change and ethics.
The 2020–22 Engaging with ICOM group consists of six CIMAM board members: Mami Kataoka (Chair), Suzanne Cotter, Suhanya Raffel, Frances Morris, Ernestine White-Mifetu, and Bart de Baere.
6. Travel Grant Program
It supports the curatorial and research development of individuals through their attendance at the Annual Conference. The aim of this working group is to secure funding for the program ensuring the geographical diversity of opportunities in underrepresented areas.
The 2020–22 Travel Grant Program committee consists of three CIMAM board members: Agustín Pérez Rubio, Eugene Tan, Victoria Noorthoorn and Ernestine White-Mifetu.
7. Museum Best Practices
It consists of identifying documents of reference for the profession that can be endorsed or shared on the CIMAM website. This is an ongoing task for all CIMAM board members. The establishment and support of professional codes of practice and ethical standards for institutions and individuals are key for CIMAM as it is the forum of reference for the international professional community
This is an ongoing task for all CIMAM board members. As a largely volunteer-driven organization and constituted as a not-for-profit organization, CIMAM relies heavily on the generous support of individuals and organizations. CIMAM is led by a voluntary board of contemporary art museum professionals that set the strategy and oversee the operations of the committee. CIMAM is funded through the generous support of a group of patrons and its membership.