CfP: An ethnology lab on the workings of Covid-19 on museums – dew deadline!


Call for Papers: An ethnology lab on the workings of Covid-19 on museums

The SIEF Working group Museums & Material Culture (M&MC) in collaboration with the ICOM International Committee for Collecting (COMCOL) and the Reinwardt Academy (Amsterdam University of the Arts)

The Netherlands, Amsterdam, 8-9 October 2020 or held as a digital conference

Theme: The impact of Covid-19 on (y)our daily lives as researchers and professionals working in/on museums and material culture.

Covid-19 has been (or still is) prompting many museums to keep their doors closed for weeks or even months. They have to cope with sudden loss of income, worries about the wellbeing of their staff and unforeseen challenges related to their buildings, sites, collections and exhibitions. At the same time, the Covid-19 virus has initiated new ways of public engagement. The crisis is sparking a boom of online activities ranging from art making to virtual museum tours. Many museums have started to post (participatory) calls to locally document this historic event and its effects on society.

For this working group meeting, we are wondering how you have been dealing with this difficult situation:

What are the emotional effects of Covid-19 on ourselves and our colleagues? How do we socially and culturally respond to what is happening? How to (re-)position ourselves? How do the functions and workings of museums as social places change as a result of Covid-19? How do or should we position ourselves in relation to public and private funding in times of coronavirus and in the aftermath? How does Covid-19 change the public perception of museums? Should museums collect and publicly discuss this phenomena? What are the ethical questions to go with? What are the effects on concepts of diversity and inclusivity within our work?

The aim of this two-day expert meeting is to reflect on these challenges and explore what our professional interventions (should) look like. We encourage members of the M&MC working group and COMCOL to focus on the following topics:

– Emotion management

– Collection development

– Information management

– Exhibition making

– Educational programming

– Governance

– Social Media

– Social Events

Paper submission
Please submit the title of your paper, an abstract of no more than 100 words and three keywords, together with your name, academic affiliation, and e-mail to<> before 20 July 2020.

The papers must be written and presented in English. We are planning a publication of the conference papers.

Hester Dibbits (Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts), Uta Karrer (Vogtländisches Freilichtmuseum), Lizette Graden (Lund University), Birgit Johler (Volkskundemuseum Graz), Danielle Kuijten (COMCOL and Imagine IC), Jule Forth (Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts), Marit van Dijk (Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts), Masha Vukanovic (Center for the Study in Cultural Development, Serbia).

Conference Venue

Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts
Hortusplantsoen 2, 1018 TZ Amsterdam
Depending on the circumstances the conference might be (partially) held online.


8 October:
Starting at 10:00: Presentation of papers. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Optional dinner.

9 October:
Starting at 10:00 Presentation of papers. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Around 16:00 Farewell drinks.

(Please note: if due to circumstances organized in a digital form the timing will be subject to changes)

Attending the conference is free of charge and includes coffee, tea, vegan lunch and farewell drinks. Optional dinner is at own expenses.

The organizers do not provide any transportation nor accommodation.

Dr. Birgit Johler
phone +43-664/8017-9871

Universalmuseum Joanneum
Paulustorgasse 11-13a, 8010 Graz, Austria

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