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September 6, 2021

Prague International Symposium 2021: a successful hybrid pre-Conference paves the way to ICOM Prague 2022 Conference

On august 25-27, 230 representatives and members of ICOM’s National and International Committees as well as representatives of the managing authorities met in Prague for the pre-conference of the 26th ICOM General Conference. They were joined online by 850 other participants, who for the first time in ICOM’s history took part in a hybrid International Symposium.

On the first day of the conference, ICOM members were welcomed by their colleagues from the Czech Republic in the splendid Residence of the Mayor of Prague, an elegant representative building combining elements of late Art Nouveau with a strong influence of the 1920s Czech Art Deco.

On August 26, the main scientific programme was divided in two parts. In the morning, the main theme and sub-themes of the 26th ICOM General Conference were introduced. The main conference theme – the Power of Museums – was chosen in 2018, but the determination of the sub-themes was influenced by the pandemic and recent developments in the museum sector, to better address the challenges that museums and museum professionals are facing worldwide.

The sub-themes include: Museums and New Technologies; Museums and the Civil Society; Museums and Sustainability, Environmental and Economic; and Museums and Leadership. Two speakers contributed to each topic, one from the Czech Republic and one from abroad, to facilitate a discussion between local and international challenges.

In the afternoon, a separate panel of the ICOM Prague 2021 International Symposium was dedicated to ICOM’s current challenges and institutional milestones: the different processes of revision of the museum definition, the ICOM Code of Ethics and the ICOM strategic plan for 2022-2028; ICOM’s role and challenges in contributing to Agenda 2030, and the preparations for the celebration of ICOM’s 75th anniversary. In addition, ICOM members – both onsite and online – attended a presentation of the platform that will host the ICOM Prague 2022 General Conference.

On August 27, participants had the chance to get acquainted with the host city and the specific venues where the General Conference will take place: the Prague Congress Centre, the National Museum, the National Gallery Prague, the National Technical Museum, the National Museum of Agriculture, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the Jewish Museum in Prague.

Representatives from the National and International Committees were able to visit the facilities and meet with the Organising Committee of ICOM Prague 2022 to start planning their sessions which will be held during the General Conference.

Despite the enormous difficulties faced by ICOM and the museum sector, thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Organising Committee, this pre-Conference proved to be a great success and a decisive step towards greater participation and inclusiveness of our organisation’s conferences. We look forward to ICOM Prague 2022!

And if you missed the International Symposium, the online replay is available for the next three months!

Watch it here