ICME/2013/Brasil Annual Conference

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil  10-17 August, 2013

(the International Committee for Museums of
Ethnography), an international committee of the International
Council of Museums (ICOM), will hold its 2013
annual conference on 10-17 August, 2013, as part of the ICOM 23rd General
Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. 

theme for the ICOM Triennial is Museums (memory + creativity = social change) –
which describes the general
notion that museums
wish and work to promote change. The mathematical equation inspiring the 23rd
General Conference of the International Council of Museums suggests that this
work arises from a composition between creative freshness and the memory
constructed and entrusted to museums. It is memory
activated by creativity in the museum
environment reverberating in the society and promoting social change. (see

ICME/2013/Brasil invites papers addressing the following two themes:
  1. Focus on Collecting:  Contemporary Collecting and Reinterpreting (Older) Collections, a joint session with the ICOM International committees COMCOL and ICMAH
  2. Curators, Collections, Collaboration: Towards a Global Ethics

Theme 1.  Focus on Collecting: 
Contemporary Collecting for Reinterpreting (Older) Collections

Museum collections
have to be constantly interpreted and reinterpreted in order to extend
knowledge about the collected objects.  It
is a long-accepted fact that each museum is defined by its collections, but a
contemporary museum offers its visitors much more than the elements of the
past. Museums from different disciplines encounter questions of how to give new
meaning to objects in interaction with a multicultural community.  We ask how can associations between old
collections be made with recent society with the help of contemporary

Some museums
have successfully opening a dialogue with their communities or their
representatives by relating them to the objects in museum collections. Members
of a community have helped to interpret the objects from museum collections, for
example, recent temporary exhibitions at the Museum of World Cultures in Gothenburg.
A museum may be a form, but it is always determined by how it communication
with objects, by the messages it sends. The new ethnographic museum will be
able to start the dialogue with different cultures and find numerous issues
that connect it with their local features; it will invite its citizens to bring
their possessions and tell their stories. 
It will interpret new events in society through exhibitions in which all
social classes will meet and join in dialogue.

Many museums are struggling to display the objects and
stories of recent history.  We often
struggle again academic training to create collections of and write the stories
of our own time. What about the museums? Do we handle contemporary history
differently compared to, let’s say, history of Middle Ages? How can we include
recent history to the activities of archaeological, ethnographic, history and other

We invite papers which focus on the notion and practice of contemporary
collecting and the reinterpretation of (older) collections as well as upon participative
collecting from museum ethnographers, historians, sociologists and others. 

Theme 2. Curators,
Collections, Collaboration: Towards a Global Ethics

Papers invited for these ICME sessions will address issues
in today’s ethnography museums from the point of view of curatorial
decisions.  Who is responsible for
creating memories and whose stories are represented in our museums?  We invite papers which approach these
questions revealing on-going work by museum ethnographers and others to provide
global answers.

Submitting abstracts

of between 250 and 300 words will be submitted for selection to the ICME Review
Committee, chaired by Annette B. Fromm. Submissions should be sent to by April 15, 2013.  If you send the abstract as attachment, please also include the text of the abstract
in the text of the e-mail itself.

The following
information should be included with the abstract:
  • Title of submitted paper
  • Name(s) of Author(s)
  • Affiliation(s) & full address(es)
  • Abstract in English (between 250 and 300 words)
  • Support equipment required

General conference information

Registration forms, registration fee
information, hotels, and other details are available on the ICOM 23nd
General Conference website – Details of the ICME conference will
be forthcoming on the ICME web site –

(the International Committee for Museums of
Ethnography) is an international committee of the International
Council of Museums (ICOM) devoted to ethnography (ethnology, anthropology,
folk) museums focusing on local, national and international cultures.  ICME is concerned with the challenges facing
ethnographic museums and collections in a changing world.

Final details of the ICME
conference, including the annual ICME post-conference tour,  are still being confirmed, but the general
format of the annual meeting will consist of paper and discussion sessions.

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