Rethinking how to operate in a world hit by a global pandemic is a top priority for all institutions, be it the biggest corporation or the smallest NGO. They're all asking themselves the same question: how can we adapt to face the challenges of today, now that the way people live, work and socialise has changed?
That's exactly what Louvre Abu Dhabi and NYU Abu Dhabi plan to address when the online symposium Reframing Museums launches next week.
Running from Monday, November 16 to Wednesday, November 18, the event will bring together local, regional and international voices from the cultural realm to discuss the future of museums. The programme will do so by looking at three institutional pillars that have traditionally defined the museums of today: the collection, the building and the people.
Scroll through the gallery below to discover some key pieces from the Louvre Abu Dhabi's permanent collection:
“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,” said Manuel Rabate, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, in a statement.
The symposium's format includes roundtable discussions, keynote speeches and case studies. Despite the event taking place digitally, attendees will still have the opportunity to network in breakout sessions and continue discussions via an online platform, the Virtual World Cafe.
Opening remarks will be made by Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, followed by Mariet Westermann, vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, and Rabate. Other keynote speakers include Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth in the UAE, Jean-Luc Martinez, president and director of Musee du Louvre in Paris and Nujoom Al Ghanem, Emirati filmmaker and poet, who was the solo artist of the UAE National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale last year.
Here, we highlight three sessions and speakers not to be missed during the three-day event.
Modelling the Future: New Business Models for the Museums: Monday, November 16; 6pm
Moderated by Fiammetta Rocco, senior editor and culture correspondent for The Economist and 1843, this roundtable invites panellists to discuss the need for museums facing financial crises and challenges to shift their models of thinking.
Speakers include Peter Keller, director-general of the International Council of Museums; Max Hollein, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the US; Saood Al Hosani, acting undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi; Francoise Benhamou, an economist and professor at University Sorbonne Paris Nord in France; and Frederic Jousset, an entrepreneur and founder of Art Explora and Webhelp in France.
The session will explore how institutions have had to rethink their strategies in light of Covid-19, raising the question of what it means for the business models of museums in the short, medium, and long term.
A World History of Museums: Krzysztof Pomian: Tuesday, November 17; 2pm
Historian and philosopher Krzysztof Pomian will give a keynote address on the second day of the symposium. The Polish researcher has spent much time exploring epistemology, the study of the nature of knowledge, and, as a professor of history, is an expert on many subjects including the history of museums and collections. His works, written mostly in Polish and in French, have been translated into some 20 languages. One of his latest is this year's Le Musee, Une Histoire Mondiale (The Museum, a World History).
The Future of Curators: Wednesday, November 18; 4.30pm
Moderated by Andrew McClellan, professor of art history at Tufts University in Massachusetts, this roundtable invites panellists to discuss what is next for those charged with managing an institution's collections.
Speakers include Sophie Makariou, president of Musee Guimet in France; Jessica Morgan, director of Dia Art Foundation in the US; Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem in the US; Reem Fadda, director of the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi; and Rose-Marie Mousseaux, chief curator for Early Modern Art at Louvre Abu Dhabi.
This roundtable will discuss how institutions are recognising the importance of embracing outside voices, exploring what that means for the future of curation when it comes to training, recruitment and its practice in general.
How to take part in Reframing Museums
The symposium will be free and open to the public to attend, though advance registration must be made for individual events.
Discussions will be held in English with live translations in both Arabic and French, as well as live captioning in English. Daily 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 starts, is required via the event's website.
For more information about the programme and registration, visit reframingmuseums.ae