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Author Archive for Dana Andrew

ICOM’s new proposed definition of museums – what do you think?

Over recent decades museums have radically transformed, adjusted and re-invented their principles, policies and practices, to the point where the ICOM museum definition no longer seems to reflect the challenges and manifold visions and responsibilities.

ICOM invited members and other interested parties to take part in creating a new, more current definition. New proposals were published here on a continuous basis.  ICOM UK contributed to this work by sharing the outcomes of the roundtable on a new museum definition held before the 2018 Working Internationally Conference at the National Museum of Scotland.

Following the processes of active listening, collecting and collating alternative definitions through its standing committee on Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP), the Executive Board of ICOM, at its 139th session in Paris on 21-22 July 2019 reached the following decision.

The Executive Board selected the below as a new alternative museum definition for a vote to be included in the ICOM Statutes instead of the current museum definition at ICOM’s next Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA), which will take place on 7 September 2019, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Kyoto International Conference Center (ICC Kyoto) in Kyoto, Japan:

Museums are democratising, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures. Acknowledging and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present, they hold artefacts and specimens in trust for society, safeguard diverse memories for future generations and guarantee equal rights and equal access to heritage for all people.

Museums are not for profit. They are participatory and transparent, and work in active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of the world, aiming to contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality and planetary wellbeing.

In advance of the vote in Kyoto, ICOM UK is seeking feedback from ICOM UK members and the wider UK museum community on the new proposed definition.  You can let us know your opinion and give us your feedback and comments via Twitter or this quick poll.

Carol Scott, former Chair of ICOM UK, is running for election to the ICOM Executive Board for a second term

Carol Scott, former Chair of ICOM UK, is running for election to the ICOM Executive Board for a second term. The election takes place at the ICOM Triennial Conference in Kyoto from the 1st-7th September.

In addition to leading a National Committee, Carol has also served on the Executive Committee of an International Committee (ICOM MPR) and was an Executive Board representative on the Strategic Planning Committee (2018-9).  In her statement for re-election, Carol states:

If elected to the Executive Board, I believe that there some important issues that we need to address in the next three years.

From the 2018 Strategic Planning survey, we learned that National and International Committees want ICOM to take the lead in developing a clear position on the role, purpose and value of museums in the 21st century. This position is a crucial platform from which we can engage governments in addressing the urgent need for sustainable future funding and placing museums at the forefront of cultural policy.

In the next three years, we also have exciting opportunities to build ICOM’s capacity by (a) facilitating greater interaction between the national and international committees (b) inspiring young professionals to join ICOM (c) supporting diversity through the establishment of more National Committees in Category 3 and 4 countries and, (d) making sure that the unique ICOM brand is promoted and clearly differentiated from other museum associations.

More than any other museum association, ICOM  not only offers individual benefits to members: its international remit connects members to the global role of museums in respecting diversity, fostering civil societies and actively preserving our collective cultural heritage for present and future generations. 

Fostering Inclusion of Multilingual Students with Shakespeare

After support from ICOM UK, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is about to finish its first international collaboration project. In autumn 2016 the Learning and Participation team from Stratford-upon-Avon teamed up with educators from Germany, Sweden and Slovenia in an Erasmus+ project to support teachers in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms.

Heterogeneous classrooms are a reality now but there isn’t a lot of educational material available that pays attention to this diversification. The CultureShake project set out to bridge this gap between current research and classroom practices in schools around Europe. In addition, one of the project’s aims was to highlight the advantages of multilingualism in a globalised world: including the students’ home languages into the classroom is not only a great way to boost their confidence and deepen their sense of belonging, but it is also of crucial importance in a Europe of many languages and cultures.

The worldwide appeal and continued popularity of Shakespeare makes it possible to approach his writings from many languages and cultures, as particularly the plays often highlight our common humanity. In addition, choosing a writer whose plays were not seen as belonging to any of the two main national groups in the project, i.e. German or Swedish, helped to reinforce the multilingual nature of the project. The Trust’s educational expertise was central to this project setup, particularly with their experience of making Shakespeare accessible for language learners. In addition to providing workshops around the two focus plays chosen, the CultureShake students were able to use Shakespeare translations from the Trust’s extensive library collection for their research, and the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon as well as in the Birthplace and Shakespeare’s New Place offered the setting for some truly experiential learning experience. If you would like to know more about the project results, there are all available for free on the project website

Participating in an international project like CultureShake would have been so much harder without the valuable information and advice we received at a number of workshops organised by ICOM UK through the Working Internationally for Regional Museums (WIRP) programme. The sharing of insights into international networking as well as EU support for funding has enabled the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to reach students beyond the borders of the UK and to reposition itself in the European museum and education sector.  After CultureShake finishes this autumn the Trust hopes to continue forging new international relationships.

Lisa Peter, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Report on Brexit’s Impact on the Museum Sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

This article was first published in NEMO


NEMO member the Irish Museums Association and the Ulster University published the report “Brexit and the Museum Sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland” in January 2018. The report examines possible outcomes of Brexit and offers recommendations on how the Irish and North Irish museum community should plan the UK’s leave.

The report gives key recommendations for Funding, Policy, Planning and Practice, Workforce, Training and Partnership. In short, the writers, Elizabeth Crooke and Gina O’Kelly, also summarizes the key findings;

  1. The museum sector will continue to place importance on exploring the shared and diverse histories and cultures on this island.
  2. The legacy of UK membership of the EU will continue to be felt and nurtured by the museum sector.
  3. Due to likely funding restrictions, the potential to build in new ways on past EU projects is now likely to be restricted.
  4. We must urge our government departments to work closely with museum and culture bodies to address the impact presented by Brexit.
  5. There is an appetite to consider how all island bodies in the fields of arts, heritage and culture might work together in new ways.

Preparedness is key. The chief recommendation of this report is that individual museums and cultural organisations are supported to undertake a Brexit Audit for the Museum Sector.

Read full report here.

Around ICOM Kyoto 2019: events and excursions

Excursions are an ICOM General Conference tradition. More than 40 tours have specifically been arranged for ICOM Kyoto 2019 participants !

ICOM Kyoto 2019 has planned a variety of social events for participants to fully enjoy all that Kyoto has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you!

Register today:


Social events:

NEMO met with ICOM Chair Suay Aksoy in Berlin

This article was first published in NEMO


On 28 June 2019, NEMO Chair David Vuillaume met with Suay Aksoy, Chair of ICOM, in Berlin, Germany. Among other things, they discussed a structured exchange between ICOM and NEMO, ICOM’s new museum definition and museums’ role in sustainable development, the theme of NEMO’s 2019 European Museum Conference.

Also, David Vuillaume, Director General of the German Museums Associational discussed the Association’s main topics at the moment; dealing with collections from colonial contexts.

Take a look at Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts, published by the German Museums Association last year.

If you want to learn more about museums’ role in regards to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, join us in from 7-10 November 2019 in Tartu, Estonia, for the 2019 edition of NEMO’s European Museum Conference.

If you want to learn more about museums’ role in regards to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, join us in from 7-10 November 2019 in Tartu, Estonia, for the 2019 edition of NEMO’s European Museum Conference.

Register to Museums 2030 – Sharing recipes for a better future

Looking for funding for international travel? Apply now to the ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme

Applications are now open for the 2019-20 ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme.

ICOM UK, with support from the British Council, is pleased to offer travel grants to support UK organisations seeking to build reciprocally beneficial international projects and partnerships.

The 2019-20 ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme will enable recipients to undertake an international visit to meet with colleagues and share skills, expertise and experience.  The Travel Grant Scheme supports museums who are starting to develop mutually beneficial international projects and partnerships.

Applications will be considered for grants up to £1,500 per organisation or consortium for visits beyond greater Europe and up to £700 for visits within greater Europe.  The total amount of funding available for 2019-20 is £28,500.

The grant will cover the cost of travel, including international and local transport, visas, accommodation and subsistence.

Case Studies from previous grant recipients can be read on the ICOM UK website



Deadline for applications: 09:00 Monday 14 October 2019

Successful applicants notified: w/c 28 October 2019

Travel must be completed by: 30 June 2020


The eligibility criteria, guidelines and application form are available on the ICOM UK website at

Museums to visit in Osaka


For those of you attending ICOM Kyoto 2019 in September, you might consider spending time visiting museums across Japan. This article is the second in the series about museums to visit in Japan. Many of you might be flying in and out of Osaka on your way to Kyoto, so we hope this list will be useful for your visit.

Osaka has some amazing museums. We hope you will have a chance to visit some of them (with your ICOM card) on your next visit to Japan.

Osaka Museum of History

Osaka Museum of History opened in 2001 and is dedicated to the history of Osaka from ancient to modern times.

Peace Osaka

Peace Osaka explores Japan’s experiences during World War II with an emphasis on Osaka.

Osaka Museum of Housing and Living 

The unique Osaka Museum of Housing and Living presents a glimpse of the streets of Osaka during the Edo Period (1603-1867) through recreated houses which visitors can enter.

Osaka Science Museum 

The Osaka Science Museum on Nakanoshima Island has four floors of interactive exhibits and displays. The museum was designed with children in mind and takes visitors through displays on the universe, chemistry, electricity and energy.

National Museum of Art, Osaka

The National Art Museum of Osaka focuses on Japanese and international contemporary art, with exhibitions from the museum collection and special exhibitions.

HOUSE OF reFASHION (Greece) is looking for partners for a European partnership project


HOUSE OF reFASHION (Greece) is a socially engaged project seeking to combine traditional crafts with contemporary design to launch a sustainable fashion repair and innovation movement.

The aim is to design circular economic models, raise awareness, inspire new audiences to become catalysts for social change, and create opportunities for designers and textile artists.

They are looking for partners such as community-based arts centers; academic and design institutions well-versed in fashion and sustainability practices; craft initiatives; experienced media campaign management organizations; and refugee migrant centers interested in skill shares, vocational development and art therapy.

Contact for more information.

Creative Europe Culture Information Seminar


Culture Programme Advice Sessions across England

Christoph Jankowski and Julia Birch, together with local beneficiaries, are running informal advice sessions in cafes across England to help organisations prepare for the Cooperation Projects deadline in the autumn.

Tuesday 30 July, 2-4pm at Taste, Leeds

Register here

Join Julia for an informal and informative chat over coffee at Taste, 3 Butcher Street, Leeds.

Missed us in your area or unable to travel to London, Leeds or Newcastle?

Tell us where you are, share your questions and queries. We’ll share our advice – or see if we can come visit!