IN BETWEEN: How are Contemporary Art Museums and their Stakeholders Dealing with a Fluid Situation?

15 September 2020

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Join CIMAM's #5 webinar on Thursday 24 September 2020.

2:00 pm CEST

  • Tone Hansen, PhD, Director of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK), Høvikodden, Norway
  • Zoran Erić, PhD, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Leevi Haapala, PhD, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland.

Moderated by Ann-Sofi Noring, CIMAM Board Member, Co-Director, and Chief Curator, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and Calin Dan, CIMAM Board Member, Director, National Museum of Contemporary Art - MNAC, Bucharest.

Rapid Response Webinars are free of cost and accessible ONLY for CIMAM Members. Sessions are recorded and posted at the Members Only section of the CIMAM website for those who missed the time.

Register here


Welcome to a webinar panel with voices from the north, south-east and Balkan regions of Europe, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, Romania and Serbia. Covid-19 has affected every country in different ways, but our art museums have one thing in common: after being suddenly closed to the public, they are now open again. The reopening occurred slowly, with a lot of caution, as both museum workers and the general public must follow all kinds of new rules. In the current situation, which can easily be characterized as fluid, museums might be forced to close down again, if the pandemic gets worse.

In this framework, the mission of museums has not changed. They are still a crucial element of the public sphere, and thus agents of influence in the service of democracy. Directly and indirectly, museums are in charge of the wellbeing of various social and professional categories. From youth education to the entertainment of the elderly, from the inclusion of marginals to the administration of cultural heritage, from scientific research to the support of the independent art sector, museums are at the center of a complex web of agencies.

Despite various inclusive geo-political systems, in Europe politics, economics and culture have different dynamics according to country, and the experience of the pandemic and its consequences has been different from one place to another. This, together with the continuous fluidization of circumstances in the context of the pandemic, challenges us to answer many questions. Are the statements from above still valid? How can museums act for the public good? What is the public sphere in an era of pandemic? How is it manifest in countries with different cultural values and backgrounds?

How will these new experiences affect the very existence of museums in the long run? Will they become more nationally-centered than before? How will international collaborative networks develop during and after the pandemic? How will be the relation between museums and their public evolve? And how will museums maintain their position as active agents for the stimulation/support of cultural production?

Keywords: pandemic, public sphere, local/national, international, cultural production, democracy.


  • Tone Hansen

Tone Hansen is the Director of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) since August 2011, and was appointed Council leader for the Arts Council Norway from 2016 - 2019.

Hansen was educated at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo (1994-98) and worked as artist, freelance curator and writers for several years. Hansen held a research fellowship position (PhD) at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (2003 – 2009) and completed the thesis “Megamonstermuseum: How to Imagine a Museum today”. From 2003-2005, Hansen was chairperson of Young Artists Society. In her theoretical and curatorial work, Hansen has focused on various implications of what public means, the role of art museums and how history is written and presented.

  • Zoran Erić

Zoran Erić is an art historian, curator, and lecturer. He holds a Ph.D. from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. He is Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade. Erić focuses on both theoretical research and series of workshops and international projects dealing with the issues derived out of the meeting points of urban geography, spatial-cultural discourse, and theory of radical democracy. In his curatorial practice, he focuses on the analysis of the position of artists in the public domain, underlying the problems they confront while reflecting the particular context. Erić is particularly interested in the production and reproduction of different contextual layers of social space and the analysis how the artists can intervene into it. He lives and works in Belgrade.

  • Leevi Haapala

Leevi Haapala (PhD) is the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki. He is a board member of the Kiasma Foundation and the Design Museum Foundation in Helsinki. He has previously worked as a professor of Exhibition Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Arts, Helsinki (2014-2015) and as curator of collections at Kiasma, Helsinki (2007-2014). He is a member of selection board for Ars Fennica Award since 2016, and a member of the selection board of the Young Artist of the Year at Tampere Art Museum since 2012. He was a board member in Pro Arte Foundation and expert team at IHME Contemporary Art Festival in Helsinki 2009-2019. Currently he is taking part to a training program for sustainable economic policy provided by SITRA.

  • Calin Dan

With a background in Art History and Theory, Călin Dan is active for over twenty years as an art critic, curator and historian, and as a visual artist. He worked as a member of the post-conceptual group subREAL, and is currently conducting the long-term art-&-research project “Emotional Architecture”. He acted as advisor to the Mondriaan Fund and Pro Helvetia, and as a leader to cultural institutions like Arta magazine, and the Soros Centre for Contemporary Art, before becoming director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – MNAC Bucharest. He was involved with the creative industries as art director for the Dutch media company Lost Boys.

His writing, curatorial, and academic work (at the Art Universities of Budapest and Bucharest) define him both as a thinker and a maker, concerned by the role of contemporary art institutions today. At MNAC, Călin elaborated strategies of recuperation, giving platform to local conceptual artists from the 1970s and 1980s, and starting regional communication meant to generate a cultural pole for artists and curators active from the former communist countries.

  • Ann-Sofi Noring

Ann-Sofi Noring began working in Moderna Museet as Chief Curator in 2001 and since 2006 also as Deputy Director and later Co-Director. Sharing the leadership with Director Daniel Birnbaum until 2018 and then, Interim Director for almost a year. She has curated several major exhibitions at Moderna Museet, including Ed Ruscha, Karin Mamma Andersson, Andrea Zittel, Eva Löfdahl, Gabriel Orozco as well as thematic shows such as “After Babel” and has edited and contributed to numerous catalogues. Over the years at the museum, Ann-Sofi Noring has served as commissioner for the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and she has also overseen the national representation in the biennales in Sao Paulo and Sydney.

Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Academy of Art since 2018. Chairman of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee with the International Program for Visual and Applied Arts since 2018.

During the fall of 2020, working for the re-opening of Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art.

Register here

Rapid Response Webinars are free of cost and accessible only for CIMAM Members. Sessions are recorded and posted at the Members Only section of the CIMAM website for those who missed the time.