Prague event offers a preview of what to expect

As world cultural leaders prepare to leave Prague after the conclusion of the 26th General Conference of the International Council of Museums, Dubai is gearing up to host its own event in 2025.

After a week of events under the theme The Future of Museums, Icom Prague comes to an end on Sunday, and the host city has now officially passed the flag to Dubai.

The Icom flag, a symbolic baton entrusted to the organizing committee of the next Icom general conference, was officially handed over to Dubai during the flag relay ceremony held at the National Museum in Prague.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Member of the Dubai Council, and Head of the Icom Delegation to the United Arab Emirates, said the Dubai Icom journey officially began after this time. historical.

“This is an incredibly historic moment for Dubai as our city has become the first city in the Menasa region to host Icom. Winning the bid to host Icom would not have been possible without the support of our wise leadership and the hard work by all cultural entities and our partners in Dubai and the UAE over the years to develop and enrich our cultural offerings as an emirate and as a nation.”

Sheikha Latifa spent this week meeting with experts from Arab museums to discuss areas of collaboration, key challenges and opportunities. She praised the members of Icom Arab for representing the region on the world stage, saying, “We must all unite as Arab nations to preserve and elevate the rich cultural heritage of our region and further develop our museums.”

The event is a cultural hub where international art leaders design solutions to the challenges facing museums and world heritage.

Sheikha Latifa said, “The UAE recognizes the importance of museums as vital centers of knowledge and is committed to developing them, as it understands their importance in the broader creative and cultural sector.

“Icom 2025, to be held in Dubai, will be an opportunity for the Menasa region to draw the world’s attention to what this region has and is capable of.”

What is Icom?

ICOM is an international organization of museums and museum professionals dedicated to research, conservation and communication of the world’s natural and cultural heritage.

Every three years, Icom brings together the international museum community in a different host city and focuses on a critical theme to promote international cooperation through a range of cultural exchanges.

From debates, roundtables and panels to networking events and cultural activities, participants come together with the common mission to explore past, present and future realities.

Icom Prague 2022

The 26th General Conference of Icom, held in Prague, Czech Republic, started last Saturday and ends on Sunday.

This year’s theme explores a number of tangible and intangible challenges facing the museum community.

This includes their relationships with society, resilience, leadership and new technologies and this year’s event marks the first time the conference has been held in a hybrid format.

More than 3,500 participants from 123 countries met, with keynote speakers including Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian, as well as Ugandan climate and environmental rights activist Hilda Flavia Nakabuye.

Highlights of ICOM Prague 2022

For the first time in 50 years, a new definition of what a museum is has been approved.

After an 18-month process, hundreds of museum professionals from 126 National Committees agreed: “A museum is a permanent, non-profit institution in the service of society that researches, collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits the tangible and intangible. .

“Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums promote diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with community participation, providing varied experiences for education, fun, reflection and knowledge sharing.

This definition reframes the traditional notion of the museum as an institution that preserves and exhibits a collection of objects of artistic, cultural, historical or scientific value, accessible to the public. Going forward, museums will take a more active role in recognizing the importance of inclusiveness, community involvement and sustainability.

Icom Dubai 2025

In November, the United Arab Emirates was announced as the host of Icom 2025, to be held in Dubai, beating out bids from Sweden and Russia.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted at the time about the importance of Dubai hosting the global event.

“Dubai’s victory to host the world’s largest museum conference, Icom 2025, with the participation of 119 countries, covering 20,000 international museums, gives a strong boost to the country’s cultural sector,” he tweeted.

“Our international museums in our beloved emirate and our national museums across the country will lead the global debate on the future of museums at this major international conference.”

As the first Icom to be held in the region, the conference is expected to strengthen the UAE’s position as a hub of innovation, particularly in the areas of cultural heritage and conservation.

This comes at a time when the UAE is rapidly expanding its array of museums; notably with the recent Museum of the Future and the future Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum, among others.

What will be the theme in three years?

Building on Prague 2022, the theme for 2025 will be The Future of Museums in Rapidly Changing Communities. It will explore future uncertainty, change and recovery, in the context of museums and the communities they support. It will also examine how museums can be active agents of positive change.

With sub-themes such as accessibility, digital experience, sustainability, inclusion, collaboration and cooperation, Icom UAE will explore how museums can integrate into the community and create a better future through the recovery and transparency.

Updated: August 28, 2022, 10:57 a.m.

Berta D. Wells