Overall Theme, 2008: Creativity, Cultural Diversity, Intangible Heritage and Sustainable Development

Theme 1: Objects of Concern

  • The idea of ‘heritage’: changing conceptions of what counts.
  • Custodianship and community assets: meanings and purposes for the museum.
  • The politics of heritage: national, regional, ethnic and diaporic identities.
  • Representing social and cultural intangibles.
  • The ‘ethnographic’ and the ‘anthropological’: framing first peoples and other ‘traditions’.
  • Competing cultures: high, folk, popular, techno-scientific.
  • Technologies in the museum.
  • Arts in the museum.
  • Environment in the museum.

Theme 2: Interrogating ‘The Collection’

  • The process of acquisition: competing demands and limited resources.
  • Conservation, preservation: negotiating changing priorities.
  • Artefacts: what are the objects of the museum?
  • Autheticity, decontextualisation and recontextualisation of objects-on-show.
  • Cataloguing, metadata, discovery and access.

Theme 3: Museums as Knowledge Makers and Custodians

  • Research and investigation in the museum.
  • Measuring intrinsic knowledge ‘outputs’.
  • Public trust: re-establishing the bases of ‘authority’.
  • Intellectual property: commons versus commercialism?
  • Knowledge frames: modern and postmodern museums.
  • ‘Neutrality’, ‘balance’ and ‘objectivity’; or ‘narrative’ and ‘politics’? The knowledge rhetorics of the museum.

Theme 4: Pedagogy of the Museum

  • Defining the ‘education’ and ‘communications’ roles of museums.
  • Pedagogy as presentation or dialogue: how the museum relates to its visitors.
  • The ubiquitous museum: towards the anywhere anytime learning resource.
  • Exhibition didactics: the dynamics of vistor learning.
  • Competing pleasures: museums against or with ‘entertainment’ and ‘edutainment’.
  • Cross connections: with schools, with universities.

Theme 5: The Virtual Museum

  • The digitisation of everything: from collection objects to media representations.
  • Online discoverability and public access.
  • Museums in and for the knowledge society: preserving heritage ‘born digital’.
  • New media and new literacies: changing the balance of creative agency in the era of wiki, blogs, podcasts ...
  • Addressing the digital divide.
  • Places for amateurism: barefoot repositories and the self-made museum.
  • Polylingualism: accessibility for small languages and cultures.
  • Digital disability access.
  • On talking to each other: standards, semantic publishing and semantic web.

Theme 6: Museum Business

  • Government funding (local, state, national, transnational): museums in politics and navigating government policies.
  • Sponsorship and philanthropy: logics and logistics.
  • The economics of admissions.
  • Memberships: changing roles and demographics.
  • Measuring success: big numbers and big successes when you’re not counting.
  • Defining stakeholders and measuring participation.
  • The changing work of the curator.
  • Cross connections: with libraries, with galleries.
  • Voluntarism and professionalism: adjusting the mix.
  • Knowledge management paradigms: what’s new and not so new.
  • Architectonics: designing buildings and information architectures.