"Can art, museums, and our work as curators offer hope and life-affirming visions for the future?"

15 December 2021


"Poland's public institutions are struggling to survive amid an extremely nationalistic and xenophobic cultural policy, amid a society deeply affected and engulfed by fascism, corrupted by growing violence against the racialized other, women, children and LGBTQ+. It is deeply limited by indifference, lack of care, solidarity and support for any common idea of future-oriented living on earth. Today I do not feel like an agent of change, fighting any social-political problem, providing solutions, but as a humble and broken witness facing social collapse. Now, I am in mourning for the victims of the local far-right politics, for all those who died and are still suffering captured in the death zone at the Polish-Belarusian border.

Can art, museums, and our work as curators offer hope and life-affirming visions for the future, perhaps in a more long-term perspective that transcends the current, hopeless moment?

In my work, I want to explore the use of the medium of the exhibition to work with the imagination to bring about healing of the collective unconscious. The goal is to empower human capacities to imagine and practice an unknown and hopefully more vital future. Therefore, I am interested in the healing aspect of working with imagination with the help of art and exhibition-making."

Joanna Sokolowska, Independent Curator, Poland.

The CIMAM 2021 Annual Conference was held on November 5-7, 2021, hosted as initially planned by the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz and the NOMUS New Art Museum/ Branch of the National Museum in Gdansk, Poland.

During the three days of discussions, the conference focused on the two interconnected current crises of Xenophobia and Climate Change, and the sometimes hidden or unexplored connections between the two.

Keynote speakers and relevant case-study presentations showed how institutions, artists, and thinkers working together can provide practical laboratories concerning these emerging issues and offer methodological tools to combat discriminatory and nationalistic tendencies in an increasingly divisive and divided world.

Learn more about CIMAM's 2021 Annual Conference: