20 Dec 2019
International Museum Day 2020 to focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The International Council of Museums - ICOM has recently announced that International Museum Day 2020 will be devoted to "Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion". The event, to be held on 18 May or around that date, aims at becoming a rallying point to both celebrate the diversity of perspectives that make up the communities and personnel of museums, and champion tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what they display and the stories they tell. By choosing this topic, ICOM stresses the potential of museums to create meaningful experiences for peoples of all origins and backgrounds, which is central to their social value. As agents of change and trusted institutions, there is no time like the present for museums to demonstrate their relevance by engaging constructively in the political, social, and cultural realities of modern society. The challenges of inclusion and diversity and the difficulty of navigating complex social issues in increasingly polarised environments, while not unique to museums and cultural institutions, are important ones, due the high regard in which museums are held by society. An increasing public expectation for social change has catalysed a conversation around museums’ potential for social good in the form of exhibitions, conferences, performances, education programmes, and initiatives created. However, there remains much to do to overcome conscious and subconscious power dynamics that can create disparities within museums, and between museums and their visitors. These disparities can relate to many topics, including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identity, socioeconomic background, education level, physical ability, political affiliation and religious beliefs.