MuseumNext Europe 2017 took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands over 26-28 June with many of the museums taking part in the conference Discovery Day, introducing delegates to their host city. Museums in Rotterdam, usually closed on a Monday, welcomed delegates for exclusive tours and museum visits. Once attendees had collected their name badges and goody bags they headed off to the likes of the Maritime Museum to experience their new Offshore Experience, the Chabot Museum and modernist architecture bus tour, the Natural History Museum, and the Strips Museum, focussed on the history of cartoons. They took art tours in the Witte de With City Quarter, visited the Nederlands Fotomuseum, attended talks at design firm, Fabrique’s studios and visited the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum to learn more about the Depot currently being constructed next to the museum.
As the first day of the conference drew to a close Het Nieuwe Instituut hosted an evening reception, opening their doors and their waterside terrace cafe to delegates along with a series of talks and the opportunity to attend a workshop; Making in the Museum: The New Haberdashery, as well as touring their exhibition, Architecture of Appropriation and attending a discursive program of talks in the auditorium. Later, Museum Detox, champions for ethnic diversity and inclusion in all aspects of museum life, held a specially curated evening at TENT delving into the issues surrounding race and museums.
The main venue for days two and three, was De Doelen, with two stages, three workshop rooms and an exhibitor hall featuring a range of museum suppliers and Museum FutureLabs; a project from students based at Delft University, and a showcase from Paper Aesthetics Collective who invited delegates to collaborate on creating paper artworks.
Honor Harger, Executive Director, ArtScience Museum, Singapore, delivered the opening keynote Curating Bits Rather Than Atoms and presentations that followed looked at how museums can foster 21st Century global citizens, how shy activists will reach the 21st Century visitor; there was a case study on the Lost Palace, an immersive heritage experience from Historic Royal Palaces, and a presentation on how Van Gogh Museum worked with international DJ, Armin van Buuren.
Further presentations throughout the day were made by Alexis and Amber O’ Banion on stealing ideas from Silicon Valley to implement in museums, Jenna Maddison from MoMA spoke about the use of digital platforms and on demand content and the closing keynote How Not To Die Of Excellence, was delivered by Adam Lerner, Director and Chief Animator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver.
The Rem Koolhaas designed, Kunsthal Rotterdam, hosted the evening reception on Tuesday with live music from home talent Ntjam Rosie and the opportunity for delegates to visit the large-scale retrospective of the life and work of Robert Mapplethorpe. MuseumNext attendees were also invited to visit, All you can Art, an exhibition and open studio combined, a social growth project in progress with the artists in attendance to explain more.
The last day of the conference opened with a presentation from Deborah Cullinan, CEO at Yerba Buena Center for Arts about CultureBank, their pioneering funding model for social practice art and artists. The audience then enjoyed the Open Stage session with eleven quick-fire, energetic talks on a range of subject from Harnessing the Kindness Economy to The Problem With ‘Diversity’. Two presentations in the afternoon addressed climate change from Camilla Carlberg and Ylva Hillstrom from the Modern Museet in Sweden and Dr Chris Garrard, Art Not Oil and the day ended with a panel of museums directors from Australia, USA, The Netherlands and the UK discussing leadership and the future of museums.
Our next European museum conference will take place in London, 18-20 June 2018.