News & events > CIMAM 2017 Annual Conference | Singapore
10 Nov 2017 - 12 Nov 2017

CIMAM 2017 Annual Conference | Singapore

The 2017 Annual Conference of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), an affiliated organisation of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), will be held in Singapore from 10 to 12 November. The conference is hosted by the National Gallery Singapore, an ASEMUS member. The conference is entitled The Roles and Responsibilities of Museums in Civil Society. Given the rising sentiments of populist nationalism that we are witnessing around the world, and extending from the focus on the conference held last year in Barcelona (The Museum and Its Responsibilities), CIMAM believes it is imperative to re-evaluate and re-examine the roles of museums, their public functions and how they respond. Key questions include the following:
  • How can national museums and art museums counter this global phenomenon of xenophobia and populism, to connect a local public with regional and international histories, perspectives and concerns?
  • How can museums continue to be effective forums in society where different communities and peoples of all backgrounds and beliefs still come together, instead of retreating into parochial isolation?
  • At the same time the conference will return to the mission of CIMAM and consider: Who are CIMAM’s stakeholders? Who has vested interests, and what are the constituencies to whom the organisation is responsible?

Conference programme

In the course of the conference, the following issues will be addressed: Cities: National, Supranational? Discussions at the CIMAM 2017 Annual Conference will start by considering the role of the city on Day 1. It will consider the importance of cities for art, identity and history within the context of the national, regional, international and supranational. Can we speak of the contemporary city as sanctuary, as we speak of the museum as sanctuary? If contemporary political crises are inextricable from the politics of centres versus peripheries, can cities and the urban-international (art) elite be both the problem and the solution? Learning from Southeast Asia On Day 2, the conference will focus on the multifarious cultural and artistic contexts of Southeast Asia. It will look at the specificity of art museums and spaces in the region to consider their driving forces: what are some of the positions adopted by institutions, artists and agents in this part of the world? What are some of the lessons we can learn from Southeast Asia, a political construct as imaginary as it is intractable? What and How do Museums Collect? On the last day of the conference, participants will turn their attention to envision how collections can be activated to manifest their potential for civil society: how can collections and collection strategies of museums be representative of the constituencies they are intended to serve? How are a museum’s civil responsibilities reflected in its collection, and are there national, regional or international implications? Confirmed speakers at the CIMAM 2017 Annual Conference include: Nikos Papastergiadis, Director, Research Unit in Public Cultures, and Professor, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne; Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Singapore; Chen Chieh-Jen, Artist, Taipei, Taiwan; Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Patrick D. Flores, Professor of Art Studies, University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines; Ade Darmawan, Artist, Curator and Director, ruangrupa, Jakarta, Indonesia; Gridthiya Gaweewong, Artistic Director, Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand; Post-Museum (Jennifer Teo & Tien Wei Woon), Artists, Singapore; Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, São Paulo, Brazil; Tiffany Chung, Artist, Vietnam/USA; and Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director, M+ Museum of Visual Culture, Hong Kong. The CIMAM 2017 Annual Conference is preceded by a Pre-Conference Tour to Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (8-9 November) and a Post-Conference Tour to Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia (13-15 November). Registration for the Conference is open until 30 September. For additional information and registration, please visit