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The grand front entrance to the museum, with a single small tree in the entranceway.

UMAC 20/20: New Destinations

15 - 17 September 2020, Sydney Australia
The University of Sydney’s new Chau Chak Wing Museum will host the 20th annual University Museums and Collections conference- New Destinations: Looking Forward / Looking Back.

The University of Sydney is Australia’s first university and home to the new, state-of-the-art Chau Chak Wing Museum. This museum is the result of a 15-year strategy to unite the university’s artistic, cultural, scientific, natural history and archaeological collections. UMAC 2020 brings delegates to Sydney in spring, just weeks after the Chau Chak Wing Museum opens, to explore the conference theme of ‘New Destinations: Looking Forward / Looking Back’

As the operating environment of higher education is changing, museums and collections can play a significant role in helping to shape an institution’s identity and narrative. They are an opportunity for diverse audiences to engage with history, academic thought and contemporary ideas while performing as a theatre space for innovative research and practice. UMAC 2020 examines the relationships between museums and collections and their institutional hosts, their relationship with the tripartite missions of teaching, research and engagement and their relevance to global issues in both higher education and broader society.

University of Sydney quadrangle and city in background

University of Sydney 

COVID-19 Update 

The organisers of UMAC 2020 aimed to have registration for delegates open by mid-March, however due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis we have decided to delay registration processes. 

We understand many of you have concerns about COVID-19 and travel arrangements to Australia. We are monitoring the situation which of course is changing rapidly at the present. There are currently a range of travel restrictions applying to Australia and it is not possible at this stage to provide information about travel in September, nor to speculate about any amendments, postponements or cancellations to the UMAC 2020 program as it is being developed. 

The health and well-being of our delegates is at the forefront of our planning and decision making. We will follow all advice and requirements issued by the Australian government. 

A registration timeline for UMAC 2020 will be issued as soon as possible.  

Aerial view of Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

More about UMAC 2020

  • Do museums and collections now represent the institutional DNA of a university?
  • Are university museums and collections now the central drivers of cultural production in higher education?
  • Do university leaders consider museums and collections to be core university business?
  • Is museum and collection work in higher education an emerging professional specialism?
  • Are university staff who work with material collections now recognised as an integral part of the global professional museum community?
  • How are ethnographic collections relevant to the generation of new knowledge, evolving institutional agendas and Indigenous community expectations?

    The University of Sydney has substantial and highly significant Indigenous ethnographic collections. Much was acquired during a former time when Australia was on the margin of a European empire. As a special subtheme of this conference, we consider possible new destinations for this category of university collection. Can the university museum lead the way in imagining and configuring new destinations for these collections?

Early bird (available until 29 May): $310 

Full fee: $380 

Student: $160 

Day rate - full fee: $171

Day rate - student: $72

The schedule for opening registrations has been delayed by the uncertainty around COVID-19. An announcement will be made when registrations are open. 

Fees will include daily morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, the opening and closing receptions, and a conference pack.

UMAC 2020 will include a pre-conference masterclass and a post-conference tour of significant Sydney arts institutions. Delegates will also be able to join a cohort travelling to Melbourne for an arts tour after the conference.

More information will be available soon.

We're partnering with a number of nearby hotels to provide a discounted rate for UMAC 2020 delgates. 

Veriu Broadway
35 Mountain St, Ultimo
Corporate code: UMAC2020
Book now

The Urban Newtown
52-60 Enmore Rd, Newtown
Discount code: UMAC2020
Book now

The Collectionist Hotel 
9-13 Marsden St, Camperdown 
Discount code: UMAC2020
Book now

St Paul’s Serviced Accommodation
9 City Road, Camperdown
Discount code: UMAC2020
Book now

University Museums and Collections (UMAC) is the international committee for university museums and collections of the International Council of Museums,  ICOM. It is an international forum for all those working in, or associated with, academic museums, galleries and collections. 

For all UMAC 2020 enquiries please email

UMAC logo

Important dates

Deadline for Submission
Friday 6 March 2020 - now closed

Notification of Acceptance
Friday 27 March 2020

15-17 September 2020

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