Louvre Abu Dhabi and NYU Abu Dhabi reveal symposium programme

The three-day online event titled Reframing Museums will tackle challenges facing cultural institutions today

June 24, 2020 - Louvre Abu Dhabi reopens to the public with new Mindful Museum program in place for visitors. © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi / Photo Teody Garcia - Gulf Colour
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The programme for Reframing Museums – an online symposium that addresses the present challenges and responsibilities of museums – has been revealed.

Organised by Louvre Abu Dhabi and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), the symposium will run from Monday, November 16 to Wednesday, November 18, and has its programme built around the three institutional pillars that have traditionally defined museums: the collection, the building or site, and the people.

Discussions around the collection will be the focal point of the symposium’s inaugural day and will look at acquisition practices by museums.

The following two days will examine the importance of a museum’s physical space in light of closures and travel restrictions amid the pandemic, as well as the civic role of the museum, what it represents and how it serves its communities and their histories.

Now is the time to discuss how to forge ahead with new models to engage audiences and present our collections

"As a young museum in an entrepreneurial city, we are proud to be able to (virtually) host these critical discussions at such a pivotal moment," Manuel Rabate, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said. "Now is the time to discuss how to forge ahead with new models to engage audiences and present our collections. We certainly won't find all answers to these complex challenges in three days, but it is vital to seek constant dialogue among global peers and to continue to exchange experiences and ideas for an agile, sustainable, and relevant museum sector."

The programme format will include roundtable discussions, keynote speeches as well as presented case studies. There will also be regular opportunities for attendees to network in breakout sessions and to continue discussions via an online platform called the Virtual World Cafe.

The event will also see the participation of a number of prominent figures in the UAE government, including Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, and Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

Experts in the field who will also be taking part in the event include Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Musee du Louvre in France, Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at NYU and NYU Abu Dhabi, Krzysztof Pomian, historian and philosopher, and Nujoom Al Ghanem, the Emirati poet and filmmaker behind a number of films including Sharp Tools and Honey, Rain and Dust.

A pre-symposium series called Unframed Voices will invite museum professionals from across the world to gather online to discuss the key questions they would like to see addressed during the symposium.

"Through this symposium, we seek to initiate a more hopeful and inclusive conversation among museum professionals, scholars, artists, and others about the relevance and future of museums," Mariet Westermann, vice chancellor of NYUAD, said. "This is the right time to think about how to transform traditional definitions of the museum, to ask what and who museums are for, and to reimagine how they can build connection and community."

The three-day event will be free and open to the public to attend through advance registration. The discussions will be held in English with live translations in Arabic and French as well as live captioning in English.

The daily symposium programming will run between 11am and 9pm on the first two days of the event, and from 2.30pm to 6.30pm on the final day.

Advance registration, open until the day before the symposium, is required via the symposium’s website. Those who want to attend the Virtual World Cafe conversation must sign up before Wednesday, November 11.

For more information about the programme and registration, visit www.reframingmuseums.ae