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IMD Think Piece by Ozalp Birol, General Manager of the Pera Museum and the Istanbul Research Institute

The pandemic has shown us, once again, that access to culture and the arts must not be limited by the walls of institutions.  During this period, we will see that institutions using the opportunities afforded by digital technologies, understanding the dynamics of digital media, creating appropriate solutions, emphasizing the importance of digital infrastructure, electronic archives, and information management, and using these assets smartly, will make a difference.

At the Pera Museum and the Istanbul Research Institute, we were quite prepared.  During this period of pandemic in which we have found ourselves, we found strength and advantage in the work we have been doing since our founding: our digital archive; our web-based work; the new section we set up in 2008 for social media and public access programs; the cooperation that began in 2012 upon the invitation of Google Arts & Culture; the virtual reality experience begun in 2019 with “A Journey to the World of Osman Hamdi Bey”; and the holograms, mappings, games and virtual reality applications we have put to use in a number of our exhibitions over the last ten years. 

This global situation, however, is unpredictable, dynamic and difficult.  The key is to maintain the strength and permanence of the connection we have with our visitors.  The chaos created by the pandemic dissolves everything we know and ushers in a new period.

All actors in the world of culture and the arts will need to come up with flexible, fast, and effective solutions in this period, emphasizing participation and sharing.  Museums, too, will have to rapidly reassess and renew their paradigms regarding museology, event planning, management, and corporate governance. 

This is what we aim to do at Suna and Inan Kıraç Foundation, Pera Museum, and the Istanbul Research Institute.

ICOM UK