In June (8th-11th), an international Conference on the Inclusive Museum will take place in the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, the Netherlands. The conference aims at bringing academics, museum curators and administrators, and policy makers together to engage in discussions on the future museums and their role. As it says in the call for paper:

“At this time of fundamental social change, this Conference will address the question of the role of the museum, both as a creature of that change, and also as an agent of change. The International Conference on the Inclusive Museum is a place where museum practioners, researchers, thinkers and teachers can engage in discussion on the historic character and future shape of the museum. The key question of the Conference is ‘How can the institution of the museum become more inclusive?’ “

Seems very relevant to visit Leiden in June to attend streams such as ‘Culture and Intangible Heritage’, ‘Technologies’, or ‘Visitors’.

Unfortunately most staff here is already occupied by the SLSA conference in Berlin (Figurations of Knowledge), and a symposium in the Postgraduate Network on Life Sciences and Society in Helsinki (Standardising Objects, Stabilising Categories). So we’ll miss this opportunity, including the chance to learn more about the taken-for-granted in the key question of the Inclusive Museum conference. What does it mean to include in this case; who or what should be included; how; and included in what? 

Although inclusion – as a parallel to public engagement? – seems a buzz word these days, there will most likely be divided opinions on these issues also in Leiden. Wonder if anyone would dare ask the impossible question: Should museums necessarily be inclusive? Why ((not))?

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