Museum Watch Governance Management Project
CIMAM is pleased to share the report Museum Watch Governance Management Project convened and led by INTERCOM and CIMAM and produced thanks to an ICOM Special Project Grant to help the museum community address governance management challenges more efficiently.
The idea emerged out of the existing Museum Watch Programme, introduced by CIMAM with the aim ‘to assist modern and contemporary art museum professionals in dealing with critical situations that undermine their ability to undertake their professional practice and effect a museum’s ability to operate to international standards of best practice’ (CIMAM, n.d.).
As stated by INTERCOM Chair, Goranka Horjan: "The project aims to boost the potential and integrity of museums and reduce vulnerabilities by enhancing resilience. A proper response to the socio-economic challenges is directly connected with good governance and management practices".
Goranka Horjan continues in her chapter that "several areas of importance have been detected in the relationship between museums and politics: from morale and ethics, economic support and maintenance of resources to crisis management. Crucially, the interaction goes both ways. There is a strong political bias in the museum's narrative and museum leaders that often connect meddling of politics with professional morale and ethics".
In this joint project supported by ICOM, the focus was directed toward the reported practices from several European countries about the increasing interference of politics in museum management, thus reducing the autonomy of museums in making professional decisions. INTERCOM and CIMAM initiated the project with partners in South-East and Central Europe — ICOM SEE and ICOM Poland — to follow the trends and see how the professional community can respond to increasing risks.
Bart de Baere, CIMAM Board Member, explains in his introductory chapter On the Question of Governance: Focusing on the relation between Directors and the Bodies governing them that "Modern and contemporary art museums are a special sphere within the immense museum field. (...) Developments affecting all kinds of museums are frequently more intensely visible in contemporary art museums because they are so transformational, acutely connected to transformations within contemporaneity and are thereby themselves a more intensely and highly visible disputed territory."
Conclusions of this research study made by Ian King & Annick Schramme propose, among other key ideas, the introduction of an explicit code for the museum governance which includes: "principles about the value and competences of the board—making the board ‘work’ for the museum rather than for external stakeholders. Boards should possess a clear formal remit to provide advice and guidance as well as serve as a control mechanism for the museum."
Read the full report here: Museum Watch Governance Management Project
Project leaders: INTERCOM and CIMAM.
Project partners: ICOM SEE and ICOM Poland.
Thanks to an ICOM Special Project Grant that enabled the realization of this publication.