CIMAM 2020 Annual Report
Dear friends of CIMAM,
It is an honor to address you at the end of my first year as President of CIMAM.
COVID-19 has turned 2020 into a very difficult year for the entire professional community dedicated to directing and developing modern and contemporary art museums. The global pandemic that still confronts us today has made evident an urgent need to rethink and reinvent much of what has been taken for granted until now.
We have seen our institutions’ mission and their relevance to communities’ social development challenged. We are witnessing an increase in unprecedented and questionable budget cuts in cultural institutions. And sadly, it is more common every day to hear of new cases of political and governance tensions that have led to the mismanagement of museums and directors being dismissed, even in exemplary institutions around the world. Poland, Serbia, Bolivia, Mexico, South Africa, and Slovenia are some of the cases that were addressed by the CIMAM Museum Watch Committee in 2020, aiming to foster and endorse international standards of best practice for museums.
For CIMAM itself, it has also been a year of readjustments and new projects to ensure we continue supporting the community of professionals that we represent.
In April 2020, we decided to postpone the Annual Conference, our primary project that provides the essential values of networking, knowledge, and exchange of experiences for our members. To achieve CIMAM’s mission of raising awareness and respond to the evolving needs of modern and contemporary museums, in May we started a series of Rapid Response Webinars that addressed crucial issues and concerns shared by museum professionals in different regions of the world as a result of this global crisis from the perspective of the contemporary art museum.
Moderated by CIMAM Board Members and with seventeen exceptional guests, the webinars have helped strengthen our platform for support, exchange, and inspiration in museum management methodologies on a peer-to-peer level.
Complementing this initiative, CIMAM presented in April a document with Precautions for Museum during the Covid-19 pandemic, a list of considerations for the reopening of museums according to the experience of Asian museums. Working as a reference for other institutions around the world, this document was extremely well received internationally.
The eleven nominations submitted for the Outstanding Museum Practices in Times of Global Crisis program are also a new initiative that aims to become a repository for inspiring projects that help others through this health crisis. They are all posted on CIMAM’s website: I encourage you to take a look.
In this exceptional year, one of the most well-known programs of CIMAM, the Travel Grants, has had to become an online one. CIMAM ran for the first time a StayHome Curatorial Online Residency generously supported by OCA – Office for Contemporary Art, Norway. Three professionals from Sámi and diaspora backgrounds residing in Norway took part in this experimental yet very successful initiative. The same grantees will also attend the 2021 Annual Conference in Poland.
These are only some of the new initiatives started by CIMAM in 2020 and I want to thank the CIMAM Board for their close involvement and the executive office team for coordinating them.
Also, to members of CIMAM who make the opportunity for debate, reflection, and daily stimulation a reality. Thank you for contributing so much with your expertise, critical views, companionship, and professionalism.
And above all, I want to express our special thanks and gratitude to our patrons. Without them, none of this would have been possible. Thank you sincerely for your trust and commitment to CIMAM.
In such a difficult time for our profession, I encourage you to remain united and to continue learning from each other with optimism and imagination to overcome this crisis. It is our responsibility as professionals in the global community for museums of modern and contemporary art to confront this situation through solidarity.
I hope we can see each other soon again, either in one of our new online programs or in person this coming November 2021.
President of CIMAM
Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan