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Interior of the Chau Chak Wing Museum

UMAC 2023

29–31 August 2023

Join us for the 2023 International Council of Museums Committee for University Museums and Collections Conference. 

UMAC 2023 will take place at the University of Sydney on the home of First Nations Australians. The UMAC organising committee acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Owners of these lands and waters and pays respects to Elders both past and present, as well as the many Traditional Owners of Country across Australia.

Truth-telling through university museums and collections

The University of Sydney is Australia’s first university and home to the state-of-the-art Chau Chak Wing Museum. This Museum united the University’s art, antiquities and natural history collections. UMAC 2023 brings delegates to Sydney, Australia to explore the conference theme of ‘Truth-Telling Through University Museums and Collections’.

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 the dialogic engagement of diverse audiences with history, academic endeavour and contemporary issues while performing as a theatre space for innovative research and practice.

UMAC 2023 will examine 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.

Call for papers now open

The International Committee for UMAC invites proposals for its 2023 Annual Conference. The theme of the conference is 'Truth-telling through University Museums and Collections'. 

We are interested to receive proposals that address the themes listed below. 

Conference themes

Papers that discuss the ways in which university museums have engaged with broader debates about community involvement and evolving concepts of ‘stewardship’.

Papers that examine institutional, collecting and other policies and changes that are fundamentally reshaping the operations of cultural institutions on campuses.

What role do boards and leadership have on the governance of university museums in positive discussions towards using collections for truth-telling?

An examination of the way university museums confront the challenges of legacy collections. This session invites a wide range of perspectives on the ways that collections have brought out historical collections for creative conversations.

A discussion on how university administrations view university museums and collections within broader university policies and activities, and what the sector can do to better represent institutional values across university activities.

Discussions about repatriation from community perspectives, this session focuses on communities of origin who have worked with university museum repatriation projects.

A session on contemporary practice in university museums and galleries.

In a session about art and science, we ask how can university museums work with both and provide a nexus between the academy and practitioners.

Discussion of how university museums have developed formal learning experiences for tertiary students, school students and adult education groups and of experiences in providing informal learning opportunities based around social interaction.

How can student bodies work with collections as a focal point for discussions around social justice and social action?

Discussions of proactive examples of the ways university museums have worked towards greater accessibility and inclusion. What have we learnt from our successes and failures?

Opportunities for academics and teachers from non-traditional museum-using disciplines to present how they have worked with university museums to use collections for research and teaching; and for those from traditional museum-using disciplines on how they have introduced new approaches.

An examination of examples of sustainable exhibition design and museum architecture to create experiences for students and visitors.

Practical presentations of the ways in which university collections have been used to inspire discussion and practical solutions towards the climate emergency. How do we develop collecting policies in the Anthropocene?

Views from the Global South on how museums and collections can be used towards multiple epistemologies that challenge and change university education.

Discussion on laws of cultural ownership, ethics, rights and responsibilities as practicable for university museums. What protocols can university museums enact to ensure ethical collecting and the teaching of ethical collecting?

What role do university collections have in acknowledging past injustices? How do museums promote restorative justice and truth-telling?

Stretching the concepts of object and collection, how have university museums engaged with digital content and digital outreach successfully?

How have university museums tackled issues of sustainability and how can we collectively offer practical solutions to provide more sustainable models of operation?

Subject to demand some of these sessions may be combined together. Suggestions for session topics not covered in the above will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Abstract deadline extended: Proposal submissions are now due by Tuesday 31 January 2023.

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