CIMAM – International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art – is an Affiliated Organization of ICOM.*
CIMAM is the only global network of modern and contemporary art museum experts in the field. CIMAM members are directors and curators working in modern and contemporary art museums, collections, and archives.
Founded in 1962, CIMAM’s vision is a world where the contribution of museums, collections, and archives of modern and contemporary art to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society is recognized and respected.
CIMAM’s aim is to foster a global network of museums and museum professionals in the field of modern and contemporary art in order to raise awareness and respond to the evolving needs of modern and contemporary museums, and to take a leadership role on issues of concern.
By generating debate and encouraging co-operation between art institutions and individuals at different stages of development around the world, CIMAM plays a key role in the growth of the sector.
CIMAM is a largely volunteer-driven organization and relies heavily on the generous support of individuals and organizations.
The members of the Board work on a volunteer basis throughout the three-year term, overseeing the everyday operations of the committee.
An executive team of three professionals based in Barcelona, Spain runs CIMAM’s programs and activities.
*ICOM – International Council of Museums – is a network of more than 35,000 members and museum professionals created in 1946 who represent the global museum community.
- An Annual Conference that brings together members from different parts of the world to debate theoretical, ethical and practical issues concerning the collection and exhibition of modern and contemporary art, and to share experiences, followed by visits to the foremost contemporary art institutions, collections, and projects in the region. The first CIMAM Annual Conference took place in 1962 in The Hague. Since then the Committee has celebrated over 50 conferences that have been held in 30 different cities around the globe.
- The establishment of professional codes of practice and ethical standards for institutions and individuals. In 2009, CIMAM generated and adopted the General Principles on Conditions of Deaccession from Modern and Contemporary Museum Collections.
- Museum Watch, an advocacy program intended to be a tool to assist modern and contemporary art museum professionals in dealing with critical situations that impact on the ability of museums and individuals to maintain their professional codes of practices. It does so with the aim to stimulate reflection by generating debate and by uncovering topics for future conferences.
- A supportive network for professional development. CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program supports the curatorial and research development of individuals through their attendance at the Annual Conference. Since 2005 CIMAM has supported over 300 young curators and museum directors in attending the Annual Conference.
- CIMAM’s membership program. The most renowned international network of modern and contemporary art museum experts in the field.
- Free admission program to a network of almost 200 museums and biennials worldwide.
Projects and Working Groups
CIMAM elected its new Board for 2020- 22 during its Annual Conference in Sydney in November 2019 hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Board plays a vital leadership role in supporting the mission of CIMAM to ensure the continued recognition and sustainability of museums, collections, and archives of modern and contemporary art as contributors to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society. During their honorary tenure, CIMAM Board members each contribute to practical and strategic working groups that look to ensure global participation and perspective, acknowledge visionary practices, and to address some of the more urgent challenges facing modern and contemporary museums today.
1. Outstanding Museum Practices in a Time of Global Crisis
CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practices in a Time of Global Crisis calls on modern and contemporary art museums to share examples of innovative solutions and inspiring practices that are being implemented due to the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic. In making this call, CIMAM highlights the urgency and benefit of sharing best practices generating exchange and debate on museums' role in our rapidly evolving present.
The 2022 CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practices in a Time of Global Crisis committee consists of CIMAM board members: Suzanne Cotter (Chair), Suhanya Raffel, Ernestine White-Mifetu, Ann-Sofi Noring, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, and Rhana Devenport.
2. Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice
CIMAM is committed to addressing environmental issues. This program was launched in November 2019 with the aim of responding to the current climate emergency and of working together with ICOM’s Sustainability Working Group to identify and put together a set of best practice guidelines. The group on sustainability and ecology will be addressing the following questions and developing them collectively with CIMAM members: How can museums respond to the climate emergency?
2022 Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice group consists of CIMAM board members: Frances Morris (Chair), Suhanya Raffel, Suzanne Cotter, Mami Kataoka, Ann-Sofi Noring, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Victoria Noorthoorn, and Rhana Devenport.
3. Engaging with ICOM – International Council of Museums
As part of CIMAM’s strategic goals for this triennial, this new working group initiated in 2020 will work closely with ICOM on key issues that concern museums globally, such as climate change and ethics.
2022 Engaging with ICOM group consists of CIMAM board members: Mami Kataoka (Chair), Suzanne Cotter, Suhanya Raffel, Frances Morris, Ernestine White-Mifetu, Bart de Baere.
4. Museum Watch Program
In 2012 CIMAM initiated a series of statements regarding difficult situations affecting Museums and Collections around the world. This led to the Museum Watch Program that serves as an advocacy program addressing specific critical situations that impact on the operations of museums, not-for-profit institutions, and individuals working in the modern and contemporary art field, sometimes in regions affected by world economic and political crises.
14 cases were under analysis during the board's last term (2017-20), and in this first year of the new triennium, six new cases have been analyzed and reported internationally.
2022 Museum Watch Committee consists of CIMAM board members: Bart de Baere (Chair), Calin Dan, Sarah Glennie, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Victoria Noorthoorn, and Eugene Tan.
5. CIMAM’s Annual Conference Contents Committee
The committee works together with the hosting institution to identify the conference topic and sub-subjects for each day. The Annual Conference aims to anticipate and discuss questions relating to the running and development of contemporary art museums and collections worldwide.
The Annual Conference is CIMAM’s most important event and CIMAM’s most relevant contribution to the field. The first CIMAM Annual Conference took place in 1962 in The Hague. Since then the Committee has celebrated 50 conferences that have been held in over 30 different cities around the globe.
2022 Contents Committee consists of CIMAM board members: Agustín Pérez Rubio, Saskia Bos, Sarah Glennie, Mami Kataoka, and Malgorzata Ludwisiak.
6. Travel Grant Program
CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program supports the curatorial and research development of individuals through their attendance at the Annual Conference. The aim of this working group is to secure funding for the program ensuring the geographical diversity of opportunities in underrepresented areas.
2022 Travel Grant Program committee consists of CIMAM board members: Agustín Pérez Rubio, Ernestine White-Mifetu, Victoria Noorthoorn, Suhanya Raffel, and Eugene Tan.
7. Museum Best Practices
It consists of identifying documents of reference for the profession that can be endorsed or shared on the CIMAM website. This is an ongoing task for all CIMAM board members. The establishment and support of professional codes of practice and ethical standards for institutions and individuals are key for CIMAM as it is the forum of reference for the international professional community.
The most relevant guideline endorsed in 2018 was the Museum Best Practices for Managing Controversy, a comprehensive document co-produced by the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Arts Advocacy Project and six collaborating national arts organizations.
Fundraising is an ongoing task for all CIMAM board members. As a largely volunteer-driven organization and constituted as a not-for-profit organization, CIMAM relies heavily on the generous support of individuals and organizations. CIMAM is led by a voluntary board of contemporary art museum professionals that set the strategy and oversee the operations of the committee. CIMAM is funded through the generous support of a group of patrons and its membership.