CIMAM 2021 Highlights

21 December 2021


2021 has been a year of opportunities for CIMAM. Opportunities to provide our members with tools and spaces for reflection to adapt to new scenarios in which museums must face not only a social and economic crisis derived from the pandemic, but also a crisis of values that has highlighted the need to reinterpret and adapt the function of the museum and its way of interacting with its audiences.

  • 7 Museum Watch public cases
  • 5 Rapid Response Webinars
  • 11 Founding Patrons, Patrons, and Supporters
  • 1 Outstanding Museum Practices Award and 2 Special Mentions
  • 1 Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice
  • 7 Travel Grant Funders and 50 grant beneficiaries
  • 1 Report on Why Museums Should be open and operational
  • A community of almost 700 professionals of modern and contemporary art museums

An opportunity to defend the value of the museum:

This unquestionable issue, the social function of cultural institutions, has been challenged in the last two years by many governments and public administrations, putting at risk the continuity and prestige of museums around the world.

To address this institutional crisis, CIMAM launched an open question to all professionals leading modern and contemporary art museums: Why should museums remain open and in operation? With this question, directors and curators worldwide had the opportunity to unite in a rallying cry to defend the essential social function of the museum in society.

An opportunity to recognize the great work of museums during times of pandemic:

To recognize the tremendous effort and the magnificent work that museums have accomplished in recent years, CIMAM has awarded the first Outstanding Museum Practices Award, which has acknowledged the great work done by the Queens Museums in New York.

We encourage you to participate in the new edition of the Outstanding Museum Practices Award that we will launch in 2022! Stay tuned for further communications!

An opportunity to champion good practice in museum governance

As a global community of museum directors and curators, and to stand by our members and support them in the proper development of their roles within cultural institutions, this year the Museum Watch Committee has published 9 cases to advocate for best museum practices in governance within the modern and contemporary museum sector worldwide.

An opportunity to discuss issues affecting museums in a peer to peer and safe environment:

Some of the issues raised in the Museum Watch Committee have also been discussed in the Rapid Responses Webinars, a series of online meetings to address complex issues. In 2021, we have held five webinars in which different profiles linked to the museum practice have explored various proposals regarding topics such as the defense of museums' social value, curating racially sensitive content, or sustainability and ecology in museums.

An opportunity to take care of our planet and ourselves:

Sustainability and ecology at work, especially in museums, has been one of the most debated topics this year. Therefore, CIMAM published a Toolkit on Environmental Sustainability in Museum Practices, a practical publication for everyday use to develop museum activity sustainably without compromising natural resources.

An opportunity to meet, in person, again:

All these topics of conversation and exchange of opinions are enhanced during the development of the CIMAM Annual Conference, an event that we could not hold in 2020. Instead, in 2021, its 53rd edition, it has been one of the few professional meetings within the museum scene.

With a current and urgent thematic proposal, speakers and colleagues addressed the issues of Xenophobia and Climate Emergency from different perspectives and their own experiences to give food for thought and strategies to address these dialogues.

Because the most important thing about the CIMAM Conference is the opportunity to hear and value different points of view from practitioners from all over the world. This is encouraged by the Travel Grant Program that CIMAM develops with the support of several partners. As always, thank you for making this exchange of experiences, learning, and professional development possible.

A new opportunity to be grateful:

None of this above said would be possible without the great support CIMAM receives from its patrons. Therefore, 2021 has been a revealing year to understand the role and love that our patrons process for modern and contemporary art through interviews dedicated to their careers and professional projects.

And of course, without you, our members, CIMAM's work would be meaningless!