The major worldwide museums event, the 24th ICOM General Conference, from 3 to 9 July in Milan will gather 3,000 museum and heritage professionals from 130 countries to discuss the theme, Museums and cultural landscapes. In the words of ICOM President Hans- Martin Hinz “We will be delighted to welcome you for what is sure to be an exciting week of discussions and events in a country that is world-renowned for its incredibly rich and diverse cultural heritage”.
In the Siena Chart (2014) a cultural landscape is presented as “the country where we live, which surrounds us with the images and symbols that identify and characterize it”.
“Openness is the key word of this Conference: Opening up to landscapes, to communities, to the contemporary. To reconsider and renew museums, their mission and their role in society, their way of being and doing. Addressing the great questions of humanity in a global context requires not only global solutions, but also the willingness to respect and defend cultural differences, and promote our diverse cultural heritage”. says D. Jalla, ICOM Italy Chairperson. Both individuals and communities are also responsible for protecting and enhancing these landscapes. Museums worldwide, regardless of their size, subject and mission will work together during this week to further develop this topic from the perspective of different disciplines.
The Triennal Conference will include meetings and parallel conferences focusing on cultural landscapes from various fields of expertise, involving all ICOM’s 120 National Committees worldwide, its 30 specialised International Committees and its Regional Alliances. To highlight just a few events in a programme full of musts: Monday, 4 July will see CIMUSET (Science Museums) contemplate the question of Contemporary heritage: Shaping the landscape of future memory and UMAC (University Museums) address the topic of Connected landscapes; the following day, ICOMAM (Military Museums) and IC MEMO (Memorial Museums) will hold a joint session on The ethical and educational issues of dark tourism, while AVICOM (New Technologies) will consider issues related to Technological cultural landscapes. On 6 July, CAMOC (City Museums) and ICR(Regional Museum) will host a joint session on Museums and landscape communities, while ICME (Ethnography) will address Borderlands and bridges: Art and identity.
Internationally renowned Keynote Speakers will offer contrasting perspectives on the topic: from the international emblematic artist Christo (4th jul) who recently inaugurated The Floating Piers in Iseo Lake , Italy, to the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk (4th jul) from the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. The other speakers are Italian architect Michele De Lucchi (5th jul) , a prominent figure in movements such as Cavart, Alchimia and Memphis, the Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo (5th jul), Minister of Gender and Child Development, Zambia, and David Throsby (6th jul) , internationally acclaimed as one of the inventors of cultural economics.
The opening ceremony will take place in the presence of Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Italy; the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Francesco Bandarin; and the recently elected Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala.
The discussion panels involving high profile speakers will raise challenging and provocative topics, including a discussion of The social role of museums New Migrations, New Challenges, a timely debate on What does the new UNESCO Recommendation on the Promotion and Protection of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society mean for museums?, and the always-relevant question of How can museums contribute to countering illicit traffic in cultural goods?
The Conference will also celebrate ICOM′s 70th Anniversary with the Exhibition Where Icom from? and the launch of ICOM′s new visual identity. The Museums, ethics and cultural heritage (Routledge 2016) publication, edited by Bernice Murphy will be given to all conference participants on the occasion of this anniversary. In addition, ICOM General Conference will also host a museum fair with 106 international museum-related exhibitors.
In the Press conference taking place in Milan, Anne Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine, Director General ICOM, developed the key points of the new strategic plan that will be presented for approval at the ICOM General Assembly on the 9th of July. As is the case at every triennial ICOM General Conference, elections will be held for a change in governance, with a new ICOM President to be elected as well as a new Executive Council and Chair and Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee.
The city of Milan will host and celebrates this international museum gathering by opening its museums and emblematic city hallmarks for special events during the week. These will take place in il Duomo, Castello Sforzesco, Triennale, Brera Palace among others. Alberto Garlandini, Chair of the ICOM Milan 2016 Organising Committee assures “Milan returns to be Capital City of Culture once again with ICOM 24th General Conference of Museums, gathering more than 130 countries with 30000 delegates. “Museums and Cultural Landscapes” topic focuses on the double role of Museums, reference points and at the same time promoters of the territory”
At the 30th June ICOM MIlano Press Conference at Museo Nazionale della Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Chiara Rostagno, Director of Museo of Cenacolo Vinciano assured : “MiBact strongly wanted that the first edition of Museum Festival coincided with the opening of the 24th ICOM General Conference” while Cristina Cappellini, Counsellor for Culture, Identity and Autonomy of Lombardy Region stated “Since three years ago our adhesion to ICOM General Conference was a choice not only in its format but in its content, deeply sharing ideas and proposals”.
The 24th ICOM General Conference is organised by ICOM and ICOM Italy in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism; the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Lombardy Region; the City of Milan, the Municipality of Milan; the National Italian Commission for UNESCO; Fiera Milano Congressi; Banca Intesa Sanpaolo; the Milan Chamber of Commerce/PROMOS; and 12 universities in the Lombardy Region.
ICOM works to promote excellence in the museum field, to fight illicit trafficking of cultural objects, and to enhance emergency responses in the event of natural or human-made disasters. ICOM also collaborates with UNESCO and institutions such as ICCROM, INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization to carry out its missions.
Last but not least, the first registered ICOM Milan Conference participant Yousef Khacho, Head of Exhibitions at the Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, declares: “The ICOM Conference is the biggest gathering of museum specialists from all around the world. The Lombardy region will be a great place to discuss the theme of landscapes in relation to culture and nature. It also has internationally recognised expertise in museums.”