Aneta Szylak

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Aneta Szylak, Artistic Director, Plenipotentiary, NOMUS. New Art Museum, Gdansk, Poland

A total of 24 modern and contemporary art museum professionals residing in 19 different cities have been awarded support to attend the CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference The 21st Century Art Museum: Is Context Everything? that will be held in Sydney, Australia 15–17 November 2019 hosted jointly by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

Launched in 2005, CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program is designed to foster cooperation and cultural exchange between contemporary art curators and museums directors in emerging and developing economies and their counterparts in other regions of the world.

Aneta Szylak's Conference Report

This is to report my experience from CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference in Sydney, Australia, supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, Poland. I have attended other CIMAM conferences before, i.e. in Budapest, San Francisco, Istanbul conferences so I am writing also in relation to my previous CIMAM experiences. To come to Sydney was crucial for me as I am one of the organizers of the next conference – the one in Lodz and Gdansk in November 2020. It was thus important to participate both content wise as well as to observe organizational side of it rendered by my colleagues in Sydney.

The other reason on my participation of its very subject as for many years I am working on methodologies of “curating context” (the subject of my PhD project and essence of my curatorial practice) and I am always curious how practices of this proximity operate through different vernaculars. It was especially enlightening to listen to first day speakers and panel, though I would say that it would be more productive may we be allowed to ask questions and engage into discussion with our colleagues. Since it was my first visit to Australia it was essential to visit institutions and spaces and be introduced to local art by indigenous guides, study exhibition practices and learn protocols of public speech.

I was also very much energized by the talk of Suay Aksoy the ICOM President, situating choice as a key word for the politics of instituting, collecting and proceeding in practice.

As for future of our shared work, I would be very much interested in, from one point of view – in some practical material (not reports on practice but rather on solid technologies of doing, like during conference in San Francisco), from other – minimum one strong theoretical input. I found CIMAM – not the first and probably not the last time – a very effective networking platform bringing new possibilities of collaboration and expanding our outreach what I can gladly say work very well in result of this conference.