This time last year… Report from ICOM’s 25th General Conference in Kyoto

This time last year, I was returning from ICOM’s General Conference in Kyoto, with fresh ideas, inspiration and knowledge about the present and future of museums. Below you will find a report, for those of you who missed it. Summarising an intense week of talks, debates, workshops and visits was a tall order but I hope you will gain some valuable insight into the conference.


The 25th General Conference was held at the Kyoto International Conference Centre (ICC Kyoto) and various cultural institutions around the city.

It was the third ICOM conference to be held in Asia and the first ever to be held in Japan.

The host city, Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, perfectly embodies the theme as an example of tradition and a rich cultural heritage (it counts over 1,600 temples) integrating with modernity and innovation.

The theme of the conference was “Museums as Cultural Hubs; the Future of Tradition”.

It was tackled through 4 plenary sessions on the topics: “Curating Sustainable Futures’; ‘The Museum Definition: the Backbone of ICOM’, “Museums in Times of Disaster” and “Asian Art Museums & Collections around the World” through workshops, panel discussions, committee meetings and board elections, networking events and cultural activities.

japan ICOM









In the increasingly complex society we live in, museums find themselves facing new challenges and taking on new social roles going beyond the traditional roles of preserving, collecting, research and communication.

The three keynote speakers were world-renowned intellectuals in the museum field: Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado and Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang. They all offered a different insight into their international museum work and how they see the future of museums.

The conference also featured entertainment in the form of traditional dance and Noh theatre performances, showcasing Kyoto’s intangible cultural assets. For delegates like myself, visiting Japan for the first time, it was a wonderful way of experiencing Kyoto’s culture first-hand.

Overall, the ICOM General Conference provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with museum professionals from all around the world, share ideas and learn more about their ways of moving into the future as contemporary cultural institutions.

In the words of the ICOM President Suay Aksoy, the conference “can be the hub where creativity combines with knowledge and intercultural dialogue enhances mutual understanding and peace building”.

Origins of the Conference Theme

ICOM was established in 1946, one year after the end of WW2 with the wish and desire to reconnect the world through cultural understanding. Today we face another complex crisis and museums offer the opportunity to raise cultural awareness. What can museums do in the face of a global environmental crisis?

How can they protect culture from being diluted in face of globalisation?

The only way is for museums to gather their wisdom and join forces in creating an environment with no space or border limits.

Conference Theme

The General Conference was a forum where museums could debate how museums might fulfil new expectations, increase cooperation and partnerships on matters of international interest.

In a global context of climate change, poverty, conflict, natural disasters, human rights issues, museums are urged to consider how they can contribute to a sustainable future.

Each museum will have a distinctive focus – art, history, science, literature- and will vary in scale and history, but in order to become relevant and resilient institutions, museums need to work together, through regional, national and international networks,

These efforts make them effective ‘cultural hubs’.

For a ‘future of tradition’ to take place, institutions need to be “a living, breathing entity, a bridge between past and future.” (ICOM President Aksoy)

Japan sees museums as part of its growth strategy and wishes to enhance museum functions. Next year Japan will hold the Olympic Games and is also preparing a major event, Japan Cultural Expo; many events will be held in museums as cultural hubs.


Noh mask

In a thought-provoking round table, speakers tackled the issue of museums and decolonisation.

Heritage is not innocent or neutral. How can museums continue to serve, considering the issues of justice and inclusivity?

French President Macron defined colonialism as a crime against humanity and stated that African children have every right to enjoy their artefacts in their own home country.

What needs to be dismantled is the language of colonisation.

Shoe Kessi from the University of Cape Town showed an example from her town, of how statues can make political statements when displayed in public spaces and how collective contestation can lead to a decolonial aesthetic (“Rhodes must fall” was a protest movement initiated by the University against the statue of Cecil Rhodes) .







Museums are powerful storytellers – the stories we tell, the objects we select and the meaning we give them become part of our identity and culture. The trend towards inclusive practices is clear and the aspiration to be inclusive is strong.

During the ICEE panel discussion on international relations and cultural diplomacy, Dr Christian Greco, director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin, shared the story about the protest received from Giorgia Meloni, a far-right politician, following his initiative to favour inclusion and send a welcoming message to the Arabic speaking community.

‘Fortunato chi parla arabo’ (‘Lucky who speak Arabic’) was a social campaign launched by the museum and aimed at drawing visitors from Egypt and other Arabic-speaking countries.

The 2×1 discount offered to Arabic speakers was seen as “discriminating against Italians”.

The video where he is seen confronting the politician went viral.


Photo credit: Alessandro Cristiano
Photo credit: Alessandro Cristiano






Relevance is the key to survival. Storycafe Museum in Rotterdam or the Migration Museum in Adelaide offer inspiring examples of inclusivity.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma shared his vision of relevant and resilient museums as spaces for communication and to reinforce ties with the local community, as well as spaces for education and tactile learning.

He advocates for museums to play a role in the local economy, working with local craftsmen and locally available materials to boost the economy.

“In the 20th century, museums were boxes of concrete; they were closed buildings that drove out the local community. Now they have to be open to the public. This is how I came up with the Age of Forest – museums should be open, welcoming, with a good atmosphere like a forest.”, Kuma said.

He showed examples of his international work: Hiroshige Museum, where Van Gogh’s painting inspired by the woodblock artist is also on display to promote cultural dialogue; Yusuhara Wood Bridge Museum, built on the roof of a bridge; Santori Museum where he worked with local ceramic artists on the façade of the museum; Nexu Museum where the bamboo tearooms act as community spaces; the new Tokyo Olympic Stadium built with cedar from different regions of Japan to show Japanese diversity; V&A Dundee which mimics the cliff of Dundee whose oak foyer offers a welcoming ‘living room’ atmosphere and is used young people as a co-working space.


Curating Sustainable Futures through Museums

“Museums need to reduce negative impact and increase the positive one; trying to do more good and less harm.”

Henry McGhie, founder of Curating Tomorrow


The purpose of the plenary session was to see how we can create a sustainable future through museums.

Some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relate clearly to museums and will benefit all of us. Goals were agreed on by world governments in 2015 for people and planet’s prosperity, addressing the greatest challenges: hunger, degradation of nature, poverty, inequality between countries and climate change.

These goals are relevant to all museums, apply to all countries and are sensitive to local circumstances and challenges: they have been sent out to all sectors to achieve a future where people and nature flourish together. Some goals relate very clearly to museums and if they believe they can make a difference, they cannot ignore this call. There are 17 SDGs and 179 targets to support them.

Henry McGhie suggests applying a framework to connect with the SDGs goals through 7 activities that can be implemented by all museums:

1) To protect and safeguard natural heritage (objects in their collections and intangible cultural heritage)

2) To support and provide learning opportunities. Learning is not just about information: people need to care about the problems and be empowered to look for solutions

3) To enable cultural participation for all. Culture is a human right and everyone has the right to participate in the cultural life of the community

4) To support sustainable tourism that can have positive  social, economic and environmental benefits and works to reduce any negative impact of tourism

5) To enable research in support of SDGs – collections are research resources that need to be cared for and developed for the long term

6) To direct our internal leadership / management / operations to support SDGs – this means to enhance our positive impact supporting staff, using energy wisely, running ethical institutions

7) To direct external leaderships, collaborations and partnerships to support SDGs – partnerships are crucial to achieve any goals

If museums work to support these 7 activities, that is how we will be able to create a sustainable future together.

Dr Mohri, CEO of Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, illustrated the concept of interconnectedness, Tsunagari.

By examining the Tsunagari (connections) among various life forms on Earth as an ecosystem, developed through 4.6 billion years of history, we can attempt to position the existence of human beings within the framework of Tsuganari.








 Museums in times of disaster

 At times when we witness increased damage to cultural heritage, it is essential to have a forum to discuss challenges that museums face. Therefore we were well placed in Japan, famous for its technological advances in disaster risk reduction.

The Disaster Risk Management Committee has turned into the International Committee for Disaster Resilient Museums. ICOM was founded in the aftermath of World War II for the protection of cultural property, so it is within its original mandate.

Following the Irma and Maria hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico, Museo Ponce had to deal with the issues of generators to keep paintings protected.

In the aftermath of such a devastating event, the museum managed to rise as an institution for its community.

“We may lose power but not joy”

Museo Ponce


Museo de arte de Ponce
Museo de arte de Ponce






Heritage institutions and museums are often not connected with the disaster risk management services. ICCROM joined UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and launched the flagship programme First Aid and Resilience (FAR) in order to standardise response.

There is an expanding network of around 500 professionals in 78 countries dedicated to risk management (#culturecannotwait).

Museums need to standardise their operations and coordination with relief agencies before this can happen. They need to speak the same languages as emergency crisis and civil protection units.

Following the Earthquake and Tsunami that ravaged Japan in 2011, Japan developed further links with ICOM and UNESCO. World Tsunami Awareness Day was set up on 5th November, in collaboration with UNDRR (UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) and the World Tsunami Museum Conference was organised, aimed at strengthening cooperation among museums, as centres of education for disaster prevention.


World Tsunami Awareness Day
World Tsunami Awareness Day






In 2019, the Sendai Seven Campaign will be promoted, which focuses on reducing disaster damage. Investing in infrastructure, early warning systems and education are critical to protect assets against tsunamis.

The fire that ravaged the Brazil’s National Museum one year ago was caused by an electrical failure of air conditioning and spread quickly because the building had no equipment to contain it.

In June 2019, a seminar was held on fire risk management for cultural heritage entitled “Heritage on Fire: who is next?”

Prof. Kellner, the director of Brazil’s National Museum, launched an appeal as the cultural diversity section of the new museum won’t be possible without international cooperation. China has already offered to give some artefacts.







Plans for the new museum include a new education centre for children and for temporary exhibitions and a refurbishment in four stages. The tragic fire that ravaged the museum was seen by the Director as an opportunity to rethink and update the museum.

“We may have lost part of the collection but we have not lost our ability to create science”, he said.

The museum launched the #museunacionalvive project and received funding from UNESCO and Brazilian government.

Sebastiao Salgado undertook a photographic journey of the Amazon forest in Brazil and shared with us a visually stunning, evocative and moving presentation.  He documented the daily lives of an indigenous tribe living in harmony with the Amazon. The impact of his iconic black and white photographs was enhanced by the Bachianas Brasileiras, a series of suites composed by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Salgado describes the tribe members as “extremely gentle and pacific people, not aggressive at all, that only eat cold-blooded animals (turtles and fish)”.

Through deforestation between 1988 and 2016, we already lost 20% of the Amazon forest. The forest currently has a surface of 4,196,943 km2 (12 times the size of Japan), it provides 25% of the oxygen of the planet and a third of its sweet water.

©Sebastião Salgado
©Sebastião Salgado






130 languages are spoken here and there are roughly one hundred groups that have never had any contact with the outside world.

Salgado’s aerial pictures show the dramatic changes in the forest caused by deforestation and fires.

He launched a passionate appeal to museums urging them to put political pressure on the Brazilian government for the protection of the Amazon forest.



“If we don’t act now, we ignore environmental and ecological disasters at our peril.”

Sebastiao Salgado


Museum Definition


“Museums are not temples but should be civic spaces

where cultural dialogue is encouraged.” Richard West Jr


Popular perception is that museums sit apart from the societies they serve but they can be much more than that in the 21st Century.

They offer multiple possibilities, which are in the very nature of a public institution – a gathering place for debate, a “safe place for unsafe ideas” as Richard West Jr suggested.

This should be their intellectual and epistemological aspiration.

During the Conference, it was decided to postpone the vote meant to settle what ICOM defined as a “profound healthy debate” around the new definition.

Complaints and concerns regarding the accuracy and quality of French and Spanish translations of the definition were raised by members of various national committees.  Some of the word choices were seen as too literal, ambiguous or wrong.

A new working group was set up within ICOM UK to take forward engagement around the new definition and the debate remains open.

As a linguist, I found the discussions around the new museum definition (and its subsequent translations) fascinating as the power of words is openly acknowledged. The debate presents us with the opportunity to rethink the wording we use to describe the mission and vision statement of museums.

It offers a valuable opportunity to reflect on the importance of words in our museums and cultural institutions and the sensitivity of communication across different cultures.

For the past few decades, ICOM has made only minor adjustments to its current statement defining the museum as “a non-profit institution” that “acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.”[1]

Over the past few years, there has been a heightened sensitivity about the language used in the museum field, especially around decolonisation.

In the Netherlands, the term Golden Age when referring to ‘17th Century’ as the pinnacle of military and trading power is currently being challenged. The Amsterdam Museum has decided to ban the term Golden Age from its exhibits.

As Tom van der Molen, a curator of the museum, says: “Positive associations with the terms such as prosperity, peace, opulence and innocence do not cover the charge of historical reality of this period. The term ignores the many negative sides of the 17th Century such as poverty, war, forced labour and human trafficking”.[2]

Less than one year ago, the Department of Education and Public Programs at Portland Art Museum changed its name to ‘Learning and Community Partnerships’ in order to ‘more accurately reflect its core values and goals’. By switching from Education to Learning, the museum seeks to foster a ‘more open, inclusive and active process that everyone and anyone can be involved in’.

(…) The word Community helps us think more deeply about the role the Museum plays in bringing people together, creating a sense of belonging, and building connections with new audiences. Finally, the word Partnerships draws attention to the important work of building and sustaining relationships in everything we do.”

What is a museum?

The ICOM President Suay Aksoy shared her view of the role of museums in our changing society. Museums are becoming “more interactive, inclusive, visitor-oriented, accountable, flexible and mobile in order to stay relevant while pursuing their primary mission of collecting, preservation, communication, learning and research”. Museums have transformed their practices to better serve their communities. As museums are growing into their roles as cultural hubs, they are finding new ways to provide meaning for future generations and relevance to current ones.

The definition debate forces us to question the ethical values that define the very nature of our work as museum professionals.

ICOM is changing, as museums and society are changing. The latest UN report on Sustainable Development (2018) warns us on two issues, climate change and increasing inequality among countries, which are undermining progress on sustainable development.

Revisiting our core values and professional standards is part of ICOM’s efforts to address these issues.

It will be our generation of museums professionals to transmit these core values to the future generation.


ICEE – Building resilience and reinforcing relevance in exhibition exchange

University lecturer and art historian Dr Susan Douglas shared her insight into young visitors and generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010). She is inspired by how museums participate in the creation of shared heritage and the role that museums play in a participatory culture.

Social media and the digitisation of artefacts affect not only the character of cultural activity but the legacy that we pass to future generations.

Her concern is the cross-generational transfer of knowledge and the relationship of younger audiences, their cognitive, emotional and ethical landscapes. The presentation is part of an on-going research project.

How is the market for museums doing?

In 2012, only 18% of 18 to 24 year olds visited a museum. This number is reportedly decreasing. The average museum visitor is trending older. It is not however a matter of culture;

“they like culture and art; they pin it, share it, take it to Instagram and revisit it. They just don’t think museums are appropriate for them.”, Dr Douglas said.

In 2019, museums should be adapting to the needs of younger visitors whose lives are digitally-driven.

In April 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral was burning – thanks to the social media, there was an outpour of sentiment shared instantly and on a massive scale. Social media encourages openness and merges heritage with the every day.

There is a language of social media that we converse in – it is the language that we share and with which we contest views, sometimes simplistically.

As Greta Thunberg’s emotional address to EU leaders in Strasbourg illustrates, within the last 50 years there is a far greater awareness of the natural environment and concerns about its destruction are becoming more visible.

This generation is aware of the overcrowding of the built environment and its impact on our physical and emotional health.

We are facing a moment of profound paradigm change – at a time when culture is something to be consumed by our social media, reaching out to hundreds of thousands of young people and there is no distinguishing fact from fiction. The new generation of museum visitors want to create their own shared culture, their own heritage and landscape, because their permanently connected lifestyle represents a maze of windows.

The challenge for museums: forget the millennials, are you ready for Gen Z?

Born between 1995 and 2010, there are nearly 17 million people around the globe. The size and influence makes them an enormously important group in terms of consuming what we produce in museums. They are sometimes stereotyped as the ‘selfie generation’ and even more digital than millennials.

By 2020, half of Gen Z will come from a multicultural family so it is more important than ever for museums to embrace diversity in their programming; it means outreach, marketing and renewed fundraising efforts.

The ‘digital natives’ cannot remember a time when there was no digital. They don’t know the world before social media.

They see social media as a communication platform and to them it is not even “a thing”, it is the normal way to connect to the world, express themselves, show off, debate, and so much more.

42% of Gen Z say that social media affects how people see you, so it is tied to identity – there is a feeling of the outside looking in which affects what they post. They are hyper-connected and can access information anywhere, anytime. Research suggests that Gen Z believe that developing skills and knowledge using technology, they will be able to help others and solve the problems we left them.

They can hack through anything, they don’t see limits but opportunities; they feel they can break down tradition and achieve great things.

They are multidimensional spatial thinkers; some research has shown that the brains of Gen Z are structurally different than those of previous generations. They have become wired to complex, sophisticated visual imagery and the part of the brain for visual imagery is far more developed, which makes visual forms of learning much more effective; auditory learning (lectures and discussion) is strongly disliked by this group but they like collaborative projects, interactive games, challenges. They are used to pinching, zooming and swiping, they are used to 360 degree photography and they like being co-creators.

They gravitate towards live stream media and prefer instructional videos over anything else. They don’t wait for their parents to teach them something, they will search for it on YouTube.

Many have a great fear of failure and are not risk-takers but are ironically characterised by their optimism and feel highly about their abilities.

What we see emerging is the picture of a generation interested in global issues and wanting social justice.  This is a critical consideration for museums, educators and heritage professionals.

The average attention span of a millennial is 12 seconds while the average attention span of a Gen Z is 8 seconds.

Gen Z prefers to engage in self-exploration and would rather pursue their interests and develop skills that they can leverage for a future occupation.

They are extremely innovative and through technology they have become accustomed to learning independently.

So what does this mean for museums that we are developing in the 21st Century?

Between concerns about museums, our resilience and sustainability, we need to look ahead and figure out how museums can be resilient in light of the reality of a global population that thinks in this way.

Dr Douglas illustrates the requirements for a gen Z museum in 2016 and 2019 and changes in communication landscape:

2016 – Internet, smartphone, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter –


2019 – YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, live streaming, Chatbox and tutorial videos.

Museum communication teams have to engage with these platforms in 2019.

The exhibition environment is changing: event-driven exhibitions that would bring people in because there was a party. Gen Z do not have time for the party you set up and they are tired of taking selfies.

They look for exhibitions and events relevant to them and that helps them reach their objectives.

In terms of content, we had global content and wanted to be as inclusive as possible. Three years later, young audiences want meaningful, personal connections.

Regarding technology, Gen Z want human interaction (more 3D printers, things that they can interact with), they are looking for contact and are ‘’post-digital.

The aim is to include Gen Z as a driving force of knowledge, not just as a tokenistic act.

There are new ways we need to think about heritage if we want to engage the next generation and deal with the challenges they represent in terms of their values, ethics and how they make sense of the world.

We are creating interactive cultural experiences to bring Gen Z into the museum.

Gen Z feels overwhelmed by the profusion of information thrown at them daily. They don’t make time for social events especially if outside an urban area, Digital has become mundane, inseparable from daily life.

They have many platforms on at the same time and like to watch activities, people do things (like people playing videogames).

They like live streaming in their study session, communicating via a chat running the whole time.

They also learn languages on these platforms.

In terms of social media, there is often a distrust and they are often aware of the amount of disinformation out there and concerned about online privacy.

Because they are post digital, they collect vintage materials like books and records and they are interested in craftsmanship.

This offers museums an opportunity for innovative exhibition design, equalising the status of digital and analogue; to envision materials and practice that starts with asking people to take part in the development process (3D printing, models…).  Post-digital also means making materials available to the touch; tactile exhibits make culture accessible, getting young people involved and keeping the objects safe.


 “Heritage artefacts not only constitute a legacy for future generations but they also play a crucial role in shaping our sense of place and sense of identity.”

Prof. Elisa Giaccardi, Reframing Heritage



The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar offered an interesting example of building resilience and relevance through its Relaunch project and exhibitions.

MIA is a centre for information, research and creativity as well as a hub for dialogue and cultural exchange. Since its opening 10 years ago, it has been developing as an institution with a civic role focused on attracting a variety of audiences both national and international. It has become a place where people come and have coffee, join in activities and events, lecture series, concerts and movie screenings.

The aim is to encourage visitors to also learn about Islamic art and it is proving to be a winning strategy.

Visitor numbers decreased after initial opening and sanctions imposed on Qatar.

The Qatar government changed its visa policy, allowing many countries to enter without a visa to encourage international visitors and visitor numbers have gone up by 20%.  Attendance numbers also dwindled in 2018 after the opening of a neighbouring museum.

MIA decided to conduct an evaluation of visitors and it emerged that visitors focussed on the aesthetic qualities of the artefacts and had a  fleeting level of engagement with the objects and learn very little about Islamic art.

Visitor feedback showed that basic questions about the objects were not being answered and key messages were not being conveyed.

Looking at the museum display strategy, it offers a deeply aesthetic experience with the objects at the centre of attention providing minimal information about the object.

As a result, MIA decided to undertake a project they named ‘Relaunch’.

They identified improvements that could enhance the visitors’ experience across the museum; they refreshed the presentation, changed the aesthetic of several key areas in the museum such as main reception, education, auditorium.

Some of the key desired outcomes of the ‘Relaunch’ were:

  • To improve the museum relevance for today and the future
  • To increase the level of visitors’ engagement, understanding and appreciation of Islamic art collection
  • To contextualise the objects and tell the wider stories
  • To offer an insight into production and creative process
  • To provide a multisensory experience to cater for different learning styles.


The analysis suggests that a strong motivator for coming to MIA is to learn about the building and architecture so they will tell the story of the building through an immersive and large projection.


The main galleries will therefore change from merely aesthetic to more comprehensive, context-driven presentations. The museum has also developed a new storyboard that is less focused on the objects and more focused on cultural and historical themes.

Their recent “Syria Matters” exhibition, which opened in 2018, tackles the historical and architectural heritage of Syria.

The exhibition took the visitors on a multisensory journey through time and space, featuring immersive and innovative digital projection of three key sites: Aleppo, the Great Mosque in Damascus and Palmyra.

This satisfied the need of visual learners from different age groups and languages and the sense of experiencing history first-hand.

MIA also offered a Reflection Room at the end of the exhibition, where visitors had the opportunity to have a voice and share their thoughts on how Syria matters to them. Visitors of all ages and backgrounds wrote touching comments, especially nostalgic ones by Syrians and people who have visited Syria.


The exhibition was the best received today with 110,000 visitors in 6 months. Some of the key factors for success were the relevance of the topic that matters to everyone, especially in the Middle East and they were able to engage visitors though interactive learning and activities that proved extremely popular.

Asian & Western Art

Curator Min-Jung Kim shared her curatorial intention of the ‘Reflections of Asia’ exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Australia, which showcases the enduring western fascination with Asia and vice versa, “celebrating the exchanges of culture that resulted in new, hybrid cultural objects”.

The Lolita dress shows how people in the East romanticise the ‘exotic West’; it is inspired by Victorian England but is characterised by the Japanese kawaii (cute) style.

The intention is to celebrate exoticism of both East and West through the museum’s hybrid collection.

We had the opportunity to learn more about Manga, a famous part of Japanese pop culture and the graphic art of storytelling.

Curator Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere discussed the latest Manga exhibition at the British Museum, a record-breaking event with a very positive response from the press (“Manga has much in common with Michelangelo”,) 180,000 visitors, 20% of which were younger than 16.

The British Museum was already deeply involved with Manga and it boasts the newly refurbished Mitsubishi Gallery, housing the most comprehensive collection of Japanese artefacts outside Japan.

The Kyoto Seika University International Manga Research Centre, an education and research centre, supports the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Its collection includes 300,000 items, 50,000 of which can be read in the museum and remaining 250,000 volumes are kept in the underground archive where temperature and humidity are regulated.



As a translation and cross-cultural communication professional, I am particularly delighted for the privileged access to Japan’s rich cultural heritage and the greater insight into the inner workings of Japanese society and culture, with its complex etiquette in both social and business situations.
The conference was a platform for international dialogue with fellow museum professionals from every corner of the world and I am keen to take further the discussions started in Kyoto.
I have come away with a clearer vision of where museums are headed and how some of the challenges ahead can be tackled to create more resilient and relevant institutions. It is now our responsibility and obligation to put this into practice and implement such ideas in our daily activities.

“Museums have no borders, they have a network”







[1] The Art Newspaper, What exactly is a museum? ICOM comes to blows over new definition,

Accessed on 17/09/2019

[2] The Guardian online, “End of Golden age; Dutch museum bans term from exhibits”

Accessed on 17/09/2019