Main Speakers

The International Conference on Inclusive Museum will feature plenary sessions by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations, by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversations

Main speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations - unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

The Speakers

  • Tomur Atagok

    Prof. Tomur Atagok, born in Istanbul, Turkey, graduated from Robert College in 1959 and continued her education in the States, receiving her BFA from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, and her MA from the University of California, Berkeley, California in 1965. Upon her return to Turkey in 1973, she completed her thesis on museums and Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, while working as the Assistant Director of the same Museum between 1979-1984, starting the Association and opening the museum to the public and organizing exhibitions.

    She transferred to Yildiz Technical University to develop the Department of Arts and the Museum Studies Graduate program while working as the Director of Culture, Press, Public Relations. Founded the Museum Studies Program in 1989, later became full Professor in 1993. The Museum Studies program, the first one in Turkey, became a leading program emphasizing the need for contemporary approaches in museum world contributing to the idea of development of museums and public through the seminars, symposiums and graduates.

    Tomur Atagok has also initiated interdisciplinary Faculty of Arts and Design in 1996 while working as an academician and artist. She has had 36 one-person exhibitions while participated many national and international group exhibitions and received 10 awards. She has her works in Turkish Parliament, Istanbul Modern, Can Elgiz Museum, Garanti Bank, Akbank, Anatolian University Art Museum, Jordan National Gallery and City Collections of Prilep, Kriva Palanka, Galicnik, Republic of Makedonia. She has also worked as a curator for exhibitions such as Anatolian Exhibitions under UNESCO, and Women Artists section under Women in Anatolia Exhibitions. She has started The Istanbul Art Museum Foundation in 1999 with 30 members to set a modern and contemporary art museum that will emphasize the cultural bridge Istanbul between the Eastern and Western Cultures. Her more recent interests in arts and museum world have moved to the human rights, peace, women rights, Eastern Europe and Balkans since 90s. She has been co-director of two workshops where the aim was to bring artists together to work and discuss different issues from art to social and politic issues.

    Tomur Atagok’s belief in art, culture and museums are reflected in the many works and writings she has produced. She believes the development of cultural consciousness and awareness of people is a necessity before economic growth.

  • Henry Charles (Jatti) Bredekamp

    Professor Henry (Jatti) Bredekamp is the CEO of Iziko Museums of Cape Town since November 2002; and since October 2006 President of the South African National Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums).

    His origins are firmly rooted in the Overberg of the Western Cape. Born at the Genadendal Mission Station by the end of the Second World War, he began his career as a farm school teacher near Leeu Gamka in the Great Karoo. He later joined the University of the Western Cape, which he had served for twenty-seven years. He holds Master degrees in History, obtained as a Fulbright scholar from the Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA, and the UWC in South Africa. In 1976, he was appointed Lecturer-Researcher at UWC's Institute for Historical Research and moved swiftly up the ranks. In 1992, he was appointed Associate Professor and, in 1995, he succeeded the world-renowned scholar Colin Bundy as Director of the Institute at UWC.

    He is the Joint Project Manager of the Swedish Africa Museum Programme Network (SAMP) project on historical and contemporary slavery, as well as a Trustee of the Groot Constantia Trust and the Genadendal Mission Museum. He is also a member of the Castle Control Board, AFRICOM, and the Cross-Cultural Task Team of ICOM and the Strategic Planning Working Group of ICOM for 2008-2010 as well as a advisor on the Board of the Speaker and Chair of Parliament’s Millennium Project.

  • Alissandra Cummins

    ALISSANDRA CUMMINS is Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in the History of Art from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and a Masters of Arts in Museum Studies from Leicester University,UK. A recognized authority on Caribbean heritage, museum development and art, she was elected a Fellow of the Museums Association (U.K), a first for the Caribbean. She is a lecturer in Heritage Studies with the University of the West Indies. She currently serves on the editorial committee of the International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship.

    Ms. Cummins was instrumental in the establishment of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC), becoming its Founding President in 1989, and was equally active as first Board member and then as President of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology ( IACA). Miss Cummins served between 1998-2004 as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums), following which she was elected as its President in 2004 and 2007. She is still serving in this capacity having been re-elected In August 2007. She has also served as Chairperson of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) from 2003-2005, and more recently (2007) was appointed as President of the International Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme. Ms. Cummins was recently selected to head Barbados' delegation to the World Heritage Committee.

    In 1999 Ms. Cummins was appointed Special Envoy for Cultural Heritage by the Government of Barbados, in which capacity she advises on both technical issues and policy development, and represents the nation at the regional and international levels. In 2005, Alissandra Cummins was awarded Barbados’ Gold Crown of Merit in recognition of her services to heritage and museum development. In 2006, she was recognized by UNESCO as one of “sixty eminent women who, in different parts of the world, in different positions and in different moments across the history of the Organization have made, and in many ways are still making, significant contributions to the ideals and action of the Organization, be it in education, culture, science or communication”.

  • Steven Engelsman

    Dr Steven Engelsman is the Director of the National Museum of Ethnology in the Netherlands. Since he took up his position as its 13th director in 1992, the museum has gone through a range of transformations: it devolved from a government agency into an independent organisation, collections management was brought up to standard, and its buildings and permanent displays were completely renovated. The main challenges now are connecting the museum to cultural minority and immigrant groups in the Netherlands and sharing the collections with museums in countries of provenance.

    Dr Engelsman has been one of the founders of the ASEMUS network of Asian and European Museums, and is one of its past presidents, and he is the Secretary of the European Ethnology Museums Directors Group. He was formerly Deputy Director of the National Museum of the History of Science, and holds a doctorate (cum laude) in the history of mathematics from Utrecht University.

  • Amareswar Galla

    Educated in both south and north India including the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, Professor Galla provides strategic cultural leadership in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region as the Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Until recently he was the Professor and Director of Sustainable Heritage Development, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, the Australian National University in Canberra. He is also a regular visitor at the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, working on the implementation of Museums and Cultural Diversity Promotion in the Netherlands; Guest Curator of International Projects with the Vietnam National Department of Cultural Heritage; and Founding Convener of the Pacific Asia Observatory for Cultural Diversity in Sustainable Heritage Development in partnership with several bodies including UNESCO. ( He is the first Australian to be elected as the President of the Asia Pacific Executive Board (1998-2004) - Chairperson of the Cross Cultural Task Force (2005-2010) - and until recently Vice President of the International Executive Council (2004-2007) - of the International Council of Museums, Paris.

    Between1985-92 Prof Galla founded and directed the National Affirmative Action program for the participation of Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders in museums, galleries, national parks and World Heritage Areas in Australia. Between1994-99, he was the International Technical Adviser for the transformation of Arts Councils, National Museums and Cultural Institutions and the National Parks Board in post- apartheid South Africa. At the same time he was a researcher and expert adviser to the UN World Commission for Culture and Development and the UNESCO Stockholm Action Plan from the Inter Governmental Conference on Cultural Policies in 1998. He worked with UNESCO in the establishment of World Heritage Areas as culture in development and poverty alleviation projects at Ha Long Bay and Hoi An in Vietnam and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in India.

    A former Director on the Board of the National SBS Radio and TV in Australia and member of the Arts for a Multicultural Australia Committee of the Australia Council for the Arts, current National Chair of the Committee for Arts, Culture and Heritage in a Multicultural Australia of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, he provides professional leadership and support for the concept design and building of several museums and arts centres across the world. A champion of cultural democracy and UN Millennium Development Goals with an outstanding research and development record and publications, he gave keynote addresses to academic and professional conferences in over 50 countries during the past three decades. Professor Galla has been honoured internationally with several awards for the recognition of his service to locating culture and heritage in sustainable development and poverty alleviation. He spends half the year building community grounded museums with the help of his students in countries with low economic indicators.

  • W. Richard West, Jr.

    W. Richard West, Jr. is the founding and current director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He is also a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and a Peace Chief of the Southern Cheyenne. West has devoted his professional life and much of his personal life to working with American Indians on cultural, educational, legal and governmental issues.

    Before becoming director of the National Museum of the American Indian, West was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and, subsequently, in the Indian-owned Albuquerque law firm of Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C. He served as general counsel and special counsel to numerous tribes and organizations. In that capacity, he represented clients before federal, state and tribal courts, various executive departments of the U.S. Federal Government and the Congress.

    West was born in San Bernardino, California, and grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He is the son of American Indian master artist, the late Walter Richard West Sr., and Maribelle McCrea West. He earned a B.A. in American history graduating magna cum laude and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Redlands in California. He also received a master's degree in American history from Harvard University. West graduated from the Stanford University School of Law with a doctor of jurisprudence degree, where he also was the recipient of the Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Prize for excellence in legal writing and served as an editor and note editor of the Stanford Law Review.

  • Lucía Astudillo Loor

    Lucía Astudillo Loor was born in Cuenca-Ecuador. She received her Doctorate in History from the University of Azuay. She is the Director of Museum of Metals. Her previous positions include Director of the Museum of Popular Arts and Crafts in Cuenca, and Regional Director at the National Cultural Heritage Institute. Her honorary positions include Chairperson ICOM Ecuador, 1987-1989,-2005; Chairperson ICOM LAC, 1989-1995; President, I UNESCO NGOs Meeting: of Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean, Quito 1992; ICOM Executive Council, 1998-2001; and Chairperson ICOM Ecuador, 2007-2008-2011.

  • Lejo Schenk

    Lejo Schenk is director of the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum (Royal Tropical Institute). Schenk studied journalism and worked as radio- and television reporter, documentary-maker and editor-in-chief. In 1994 he became the general manager of IKON, a network within the Dutch public broadcasting system. The Tropenmuseum appointed him as their director in 2000. Schenk was a board member of the National Museum Association (2002 - 2007) and presides the association of ethnographical museums in the Netherlands.

  • Marcus Wood

    Marcus Wood is a painter, performance artist and film maker, and also a professor in the English department of the University of Sussex. He has been writing books and making art about the memory of Atlantic slavery for the last twenty years. His publications include Blind Memory: Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America 1765 ?1865 (2000) and Slavery Empathy and Pornography (2003). During the next three years Marcus, as a senior Leverhulme fellow, will be writing a comparative analysis of Brazilian and North American slavery propagandas. This book will have a particular emphasis on Diasporic memory and museum culture.