Rapid Response Webinars

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The CIMAM board has designed a program of Rapid Response Webinars that will allow CIMAM members to continue discussing the most urgent concerns and questions affecting the modern and contemporary art museum community at this time. This initiative responds to CIMAM’s spirit and commitment to be a platform for global discussion, a space for sharing and connecting, for learning and encouraging cooperation.

Rapid Response Webinars are held every last Thursday of the month moderated by board members at different time zones and guests. They aim to provide short capsules on urgent concerns for the profession throughout the year. Rapid Response Webinars are free of cost and accessible only for CIMAM members. Sessions are recorded and posted at the Members Only section of the CIMAM website for those who missed the time.

Calendar of Webinars

- 28 May, The View from Here, with Suzanne Cotter, Ernestine Mifetu-White, and Sally Tallant. Moderated by Frances Morris.

- 25 June 2020, Reaching Across Distancing, with Luis Camnitzer, Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Elvira Espejo Ayca, and Agustín Pérez Rubio. Moderated by Victoria Noorthoorn.

- 30 July 2020, Museum Audiences and Sustainability Today, with Zoe Butt, Rhana Devenport and Gridthiya Gaweewong. Moderated by Suhanya Raffel.

- 27 August 2020, RE-DEFINING POWER: Contemporary Conversations on the Role of Museums in Re-writing Histories with Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, Wandile Kasibe, and Sethembile Msezane. Moderated by Ernestine White-Mifetu.

- 24 September 2020, IN BETWEEN: How are Contemporary Art Museums and their Stakeholders Dealing with a Fluid Situation? with Tone Hansen, Zoran Erić, and Leevi Haapala. Moderated by Ann-Sofi Noring and Calin Dan.

- 29 October 2020, How Should Museums be Defining 'Success’ in a Time of COVID? with Ferran Barenblit, Ivet Curlin/WHW Collective, Annie Fletcher, and Malgorzata Ludwisiak. Moderated by Sarah Glennie.

- 26 November 2020 with Mami Kataoka and Eugene Tan.

#1 The View from Here

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  • Suzanne Cotter, CIMAM Board Member, and Director, Mudam Luxembourg - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg.
  • Ernestine Mifetu-White, Director, William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley.
  • Sally Tallant, Director, Queens Museum of Art, New York.

Moderated by Frances Morris, CIMAM Board Member, and Director, Tate Modern, London.

Statements:

  • In a political and social context where people are not interested in art and culture because they are starving, engaging with artists to unpack what this means for society is critical to demonstrate the relevance and importance of the creative community. Ernestine Mifetu-White
  • This crisis is an opportunity to remind everyone else that museums are part of the economics, the makeup of a place, and the identity of the people that live in that place. Suzanne Cotter

Did you miss it? Watch the webinar at CIMAM's only member section.

#2 Reaching Across Distancing

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  • Luis Camnitzer, Uruguayan artist and writer, New York.
  • Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Director, Museo Nacional de Arte (MNA), La Paz.
  • Elvira Espejo Ayca, Director, Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore (MUSEF), La Paz.
  • Agustín Pérez Rubio, CIMAM Board Member and Curator, 11th Berlin Biennale, Berlín.

Moderated by Victoria Noorthoorn, CIMAM Board Member and Director, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires.

Statements:

  • If one can no longer go to museums as before, what's next? There is no public to justify the museum as a house of spectacles. This reveals how fragile this definition of museums has always been, how it helps to create an art bubble by now held together by a flimsy web of finance threat. And worst, how the exhibition industry doesn't help but is an obstacle to a good education. Luis Camnitzer
  • The main spoken languages in Bolivia don't have such a word as art. So having museums in a country that has thirty-six official languages, what does art mean? First of all, the raison d'être of art should be to contribute to the unconditional equality of everyone and to everyone's non-negotiable right to life indifference. Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz
  • Because museums are placed in urban areas, it is crucial to see how we approach them from a city perspective, as many of these collections, from an archeological and ethnographical point of view, come from communities. We created a program to visit the communities with a portable museum so people can get to know who we are and how we are. Elvira Espejo Ayca
  • Museums are creators of a symbolic capital that can help in the idea of visibility, understanding, and awareness, but with this pandemic, the situation becomes more urgent because it has polarized the vulnerable. So what kind of institutions are we building? What are the discourses museums are giving now that we face lots of injustice within the art workers' world? Agustín Pérez Rubio

Did you miss it? Watch the webinar at CIMAM's only member section.

#3 Museum Audiences and Sustainability Today

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Thursday 30 July 2020
2:00 pm HKT / 3:30 pm ACST / 8 am CEST

  • Gridthiya Gaweewong, Director, Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok.
  • Rhana Devenport, CIMAM Board Member and Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
  • Zoe Butt, Director, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Saigon.

Moderated by Suhanya Raffel, CIMAM Board Member and Museum Director, M+, Hong Kong.

Statements:

  • The relation between audience and sustainability is obvious. Without the audience, we cannot sustain in the short term because most of our visitors are tourists, so we need to attract a more local audience as an immediate strategy. Gridthiya Gaweewong
  • Artworks in themselves are time travelers, so our role is to choose the portals, and the platforms because that connection between audiences and art forms have never been more critical. Rhana Devenport
  • I think we all realized how important it is to keep the physical institution as a reminder of sight specificity when it comes to artistic ambition, and also it lends itself to this idea of small invited groups, and our audience is already quite comfortable with that as a notion of experiencing art. Zoe Butt
  • Working online requires ingenuity, commitment, and time commitment, and what has taught us is, when thinking about sustainability, is that we are very agile as a group of people, as artists, as art workers. So, do we need to travel so much? Can we think about a more sustainable way of sharing artistic and creative work? But also thinking about the online experience in a more thoughtful way because of the relationship between the content and the audience. Suhanya Raffel

Did you miss it? Watch the webinar at CIMAM's only member section.

#4 RE-DEFINING POWER: Contemporary Conversations on the Role of Museums in Re-writing Histories

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Thursday 27 August 2020
5 pm CEST

  • Malgorzata Ludwisiak, CIMAM Board Member, Independent Art Critic, Curator, Ph.D., Warsaw, Poland
  • Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, Director of the institution formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Wandile Kasibe, Public Programmes Coordinator of the Iziko Museums of South Africa, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Sethembile Msezane, Multi-award-winning Artist, Masters in Fine Arts, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Moderated by Ernestine White-Mifetu, CIMAM Board Member, and Director of the William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, South Africa.

Abstract

In the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd in the United States, arose a national and global call for justice to end the victimization and killing of black and brown people. Global movements such as BLACK LIVES MATTER and RHODES MUST FALL have been at the forefront of the current wave of protests calling out in their masses for a global reckoning of historical wrongs that continue to impinge on individuals and communities across all levels of contemporary society.

With this as its backdrop, museums and cultural institutions have been called upon to be proactive players in the call for change – to assist in correcting the skewed narratives that have for far too long left only one side of the story told, prompting renewed debates over the ethics of representing and glorifying (in the form of a public sculpture), a singular historical narrative of national identity and heroic leadership.

Colonial histories, notions of power and privilege, racism and the violence experienced by black and brown bodies are crucial subjects to define a discourse on historical politics and to provoke changes in the symbolic field. How should Museums and cultural institutions respond to these unprecedented global movements? How should Museums respond to the call to serve as custodians of these symbols of empire and oppression? How might the concept of decolonization contribute to the process of redefining the notion of history, memory, commemoration and the museum practice?

Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Ernestine White-Mifetu, Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, Wandile Kasibe and Sethembile Msezane will talk about their recent experiences and challenges in the artistic and museum field and engage with the possibilities of imagining different models and modes of representing and interpreting histories, memories and collections.

Statements:

  • Against the backdrop of the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) protests to end institutionalised racism and the brutal killings of black and brown bodies across America, protests on the prevailing legacies of injustice that still plague our society also took place in public spaces in the US spilling over to a number of European countries. Ernestine White-Mifetu
  • The Rhodes Must Fall movement began as a response to the colonial figure of Cecil Rhodes, which was in a prominent space at the University that sought to produce African leaders. So how could we critically engage with this problematic figure? We needed to address structural issues and generate a necessary conversation and dialogue in a society that would pressure the University to remove the statue, and through that, we would address the issue of colonialism and symbolism in institutionalized racism. Wandile Kasibe
  • What symbols do we put in public spaces, and what do they mean for the people who exist in those spaces now? How do we make our identity make sense and that we are humanized in the spaces we are in? Because most of these spaces were appropriated by white people especially in an African context; so how do we move in these spaces where the ideology is still very colonial? Sethembile Msezane
  • The removal of statues is a symptom of a much deeper global crisis, and the discussion about what kind of representations should replace them is, for us as museum directors and curators, interesting both in terms of what it means for a museum and how it can remain relevant in the face of this crisis, re-prioritizing its missions and programmatic practices. Malgorzata Ludwisiak

Did you miss it? Watch the webinar at CIMAM's only member section.

#5 IN BETWEEN: How are Contemporary Art Museums and their Stakeholders Dealing with a Fluid Situation?

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Thursday 24 September 2020
2:00 pm CEST

  • Tone Hansen, PhD, Director of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK), Høvikodden, Norway
  • Zoran Erić, PhD, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Leevi Haapala, PhD, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland.

Moderated by Ann-Sofi Noring, CIMAM Board Member, Co- Director, and Chief Curator, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and Calin Dan, CIMAM Board Member, Director, National Museum of Contemporary Art - MNAC, Bucharest.

Abstract

Welcome to a webinar panel with voices from the north, south-east and Balkan regions of Europe, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, Romania and Serbia. Covid-19 has affected every country in different ways, but our art museums have one thing in common: after being suddenly closed to the public, they are now open again. The reopening occurred slowly, with a lot of caution, as both museum workers and the general public must follow all kinds of new rules. In the current situation, which can easily be characterized as fluid, museums might be forced to close down again, if the pandemic gets worse.

In this framework, the mission of museums has not changed. They are still a crucial element of the public sphere, and thus agents of influence in the service of democracy. Directly and indirectly, museums are in charge of the wellbeing of various social and professional categories. From youth education to the entertainment of the elderly, from the inclusion of marginals to the administration of cultural heritage, from scientific research to the support of the independent art sector, museums are at the center of a complex web of agencies.

Despite various inclusive geo-political systems, in Europe politics, economics and culture have different dynamics according to country, and the experience of the pandemic and its consequences has been different from one place to another. This, together with the continuous fluidization of circumstances in the context of the pandemic, challenges us to answer many questions. Are the statements from above still valid? How can museums act for the public good? What is the public sphere in an era of pandemic? How is it manifest in countries with different cultural values and backgrounds?

How will these new experiences affect the very existence of museums in the long run? Will they become more nationally-centered than before? How will international collaborative networks develop during and after the pandemic? How will be the relation between museums and their public evolve? And how will museums maintain their position as active agents for the stimulation/support of cultural production?

Key words: pandemic, public sphere, local/national, international, cultural production, democracy.

Statements:

  • The keyword is fluidity. Since the beginning of this year, we are in a constant flux situation, and the museum community is experiencing a wake-up call and a feeling that we can and must address important issues about the survival and functions of contemporary art museums and of the art scene. Calin Dan
  • When our museum closed down, we had to rethink what success is because numbers constantly measure us. There is no interest in actually discussing what quality is and what museums are doing and their functions. So it is a big challenge for programming a museum if you are programming for the numbers or the local audiences. Tone Hansen
  • In these times that numbers cannot measure us is a fantastic opportunity to think about our mandates. What kind of platform can the museums be in our society? How we deal with these mandates, how does our collection look like, how is our gender balance, how is the representativeness of the program, how do we create something that is locally important right now? Tone Hansen
  • What Serbian political oligarchy wants from art museums is to provide revenue, to work on big blockbusters shows in spite of pandemic. With recently introduced flexible epidemiological measures we are allowed to have more public, but the main question remains how to handle the museum programming in the current situation which is challenging particularly in respect to the educational role of the museum and work with the public, whom we consider is our most important stakeholder. Zoran Erić
  • Immediately following the crisis came the budget cuts for culture, and we are all on the edge of existence with no support from the Government for artists and free lance cultural workers. Different states are behaving in different ways in that respect, and some even extend substantial support to the artists, but Serbia is not among them. So the economic aspect can't be neglected, and I think this will be key for the future of museology for the years to come. Zoran Erić
  • We are part of the Finnish National Gallery, and our program and collections are national and international. We decided internally along the acquisition committees' work to support our local communities by focusing the new collection acquisitions in Finnish and nearby regions' artists during this special year of pandemic. Leevi Haapala
  • In terms of a sustainable future in times of the new normal, we have discussed the issue of traveling as a part of our Green Handprint program (instead of carbon footprint) and we had good comments about co-commissioning and co-producing things, as well as sharing costs with co-producing partners. Now we've promised to achieve the same carbon-free status as Finland has agreed for 2035. Leevi Haapala
  • What will the world become like when we cannot connect with each other like we used to? Is there new hope when we come throughout the worst part of the pandemic to build new bridges? It seems that we, museums, are based together and have more in common than we thought. Ann-Sofi

Did you miss it? Watch the webinar at CIMAM's only member section.

#6 How Should Museums be Defining ´Success’ in a Time of COVID?

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Thursday 29 October 2020

4:30 pm CEST

  • Ferran Barenblit, Director, MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona
  • Ivet Curlin/WHW Collective,Vienna
  • Annie Fletcher, Director of IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
  • Malgorzata Ludwisiak, CIMAM Board Member, Ph.D. Independent Art Critic and Curator, Warsaw

Moderated by Sarah Glennie, CIMAM Board Member and Director, National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

Abstract

As we are now more than half a year into living with the global pandemic CIMAM would like to invite its members into an open peer to peer reflection on what we have collectively learnt in the Museum sector, what the future looks like, and the nature of contemporary art museums that will emerge out of this.

Recent surveys by museum associations in Europe and United States show that the future viability of many museums is under threat as a result of the pandemic and economic crisis. Museums have reported fundamental changes in their audiences, programmes and income sources which will require radical new solutions. Should museums “adopt” to a new reality by simply downsizing to a smaller scale and less ambitious programming or should they develop new models and metrics for ‘success’ which are appropriate to our current context? Which of the institutional practices that have been already tested during last months might stay with us beyond the current pandemic and what potentials can be found for new forms of engagement with audience and artists?

Statements:

  • What kind of challenges do institutions face in the context of reduced visitor numbers and a reduction in business opportunities? While our discussions clearly recognise that this moment is an opportunity for museums, it remains a massive financial challenge. The potential of increased state Funding resulting from the emergency will allow us to have a slightly different model of success and production, slower and less driven by the numbers coming through the door and activities that generate partnership funding and philanthropic support. Sarah Glennie
  • There is an opportunity to claim in some of these fundamental values that culture can hold, and it is now the moment to do it, to restart something that will not be the same as before, and we will have to negotiate again with reality. Ferran Barenblit
  • We have to generate a new notion of success – or even forget about this word. There will be no other option but to abandon the obsolete quantitative metrics, linked to neoliberal ethics, and return to the idea of the museum as a public service. Relationships should be put at the center of our operations: the traditional attributions of the museum -conservation, interpretation, mediation- should be the result of considering the different agents involved, including its empowered audience, but also the staff, the members of the governing bodies, the artists and scholars. Ferran Barenblit
  • The question of success is not the volume of numbers but the quality of the interaction you can have with your audiences. We have an excellent education department, great programs dealing and working intensely with various communities, and now, with the pandemic situation, these values are accepted by the city and by the media much more easily. The question of numbers is not a question anymore. Ivet Curlin
  • The numbers from the surveys confront us with inevitable questions of the museum's physical survival on the one hand and adapting to a new reality, on the other hand. And does adapt means simply downsizing or instead redefining what does it mean for a museum to successfully fulfill its mission, with which formats or models of operating, which of them approved to be successful, and in which terms can we talk about the future of museums? Malgorzata Ludwisiak

#7 Re-examining International Exchange: The Future of a Global Art Community

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Thursday 26 November 2020

5 pm Singapore Time (10 am Central European Time)

  • Mami Kataoka, President of CIMAM, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
  • Andrea Lissoni, Artistic Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich
  • Haegue Yang, South Korean artist, Berlin

Moderated by Eugene Tan, CIMAM Board Member, Director of National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the internationalism upon which contemporary museology is premised. Yet given the current situation, such as with travel restrictions, doubts have surfaced about the sustainability of this premise and its practices (to say nothing of its impact on the climate crisis); this is coupled with the rising perspective that museums should focus on local communities and their collections. How then should museum professionals, curators, artists, and cultural workers approach and rethink the relationship between institutions, locals, and the world? Are there ways we can re-think what the international can mean? Will we witness—or even bring about—an entrammelled internationalism, or can we conceive of new modes of exchange and collaboration that is both more sustainable, and more inclusive? How can we support new generations of practitioners to ensure that we do not lose the sense of a global art community?

Register here

Rapid Response Webinars are free of cost and accessible only for CIMAM Members. Sessions are recorded and posted at the Members Only section of the CIMAM website for those who missed the time.