ICOM-MPR Manifesto Museums for Action
The ICOM MPR Manifesto for Museums Action was the International Committee for Marketing and Public Relations (ICOM-MPR) culminating activity during the International Council of Museums (ICOM) 26th Annual General Conference 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. The theme of the conference was The Power of Museums. Following two sessions of ICOM-MPR presentations in previous days on the themes of The Power of Museums to Inspire and Engage in Conversation, the Manifesto Museums for Action participatory activity took place on August 25 at the end of ICOM-MPR’s off-site, all-day Power of Museums to Take Action event at Kampus Hybernská.
The Manifesto activity, led by Lucimara Letelier (Brazil) and Cecilia Martin (UK), was co-facilitated by coaches Luis Marcelo Mendes (Brazil), Anna Dentoni (Italy), Susan van ‘t Slot-Koolman (Netherlands), and Anastassia Belesssioti* (Italy), who, along with Prague Planning Committee Chair Deborah Ziska (United States) and Vice-Chairs Yu-Chien Chang (Taiwan) and Simona Juracková (Czech Republic), added their input and ideas during the months-long development and implementation process. The entire ICOM-MPR board enthusiastically supported this effort.
*also a Prague Planning Committee Vice-Chair
A map to turn beliefs, inspiration, and hope identified during the conference into action
Preceded by Luis Marcelo Mendes’ presentation of the results of the online survey made by Cultiva with museum professionals worldwide to understand if our institutions are ready for the new museum definition, the Manifesto for Action activity downloaded the takeaways of the more significant global conference and the new definition of museums and turned them into an inspirational declaration of change. The objective was to co-create the Manifesto as a tool for museums and museum professionals to manifest their power to take action by defining key areas and overcoming barriers, leading the way to positive impact, as well as inspire future ICOM-MPR membership activities that address important topics, including, but not limited to sustainability, diversity, inclusion, equity, education, enjoyment, participation, and accessibility.
The vision behind participation in the Manifesto on August 25 was that if we, as museum professionals, want to embrace change, then we need to start with changing the way we work as a sector and embrace collaboration and the actions we take more than ever before. We provided space and a forum to engage and work together as a community that encouraged participation and interaction. A total of 22 participants and six coaches from around the world participated in this opportunity to discuss and develop a proposal.
Activity methodology and structure
The activity was carefully tailored using the research of best practices in Manifesto development, backed by the experience of the facilitators in driving collaborative creative practices and having discussions with other members, such as Luis Marcelo Mendes, who contributed with his input on the structure. The programme provided a framework for the coaches to lead their teams in the form of engaging exercises.
The activity started with an introduction explaining the activity’s objectives and asking participants if they had been involved in a Manifesto before and the purpose it served, as well as proposing that everyone, as ICOM MPR members in communications, take an active role in driving change. Participants were divided into four groups, two made of five and two made of six participants each, with one coach per team.
Following the introduction, there was a workshop divided into three parts, in which participants could:
- Selected an area of museum action
- Identified barriers in which they were feeling stuck
- Defined the actions they’re going to take
The outcome of each group was shared with the whole group, and all participants signed the Manifesto to mark the moment.
The outcome of the Manifesto
The areas stated offer an opportunity for ICOM-MPR to initiate activities that will enable our colleagues to create change together.
Museums for enjoyment action
- We’re feeling stuck with physical barriers
- We’re feeling stuck with institutional barriers
- We’re going to create community-driven experiences
Museums for sustainability
- We’re feeling stuck with a lack of awareness
- We’re feeling stuck with financial resources
- We’re feeling stuck with internal professionals
- We’re going to involve community programmes
- We’re going to involve parents and patrons
- We’re going to define and improve the best skills
Museums for inclusivity
- We’re feeling stuck with a single dominant narrative
- We’re feeling stuck with business models numbers
- We’re going to listen with and give voice to
- We’re going to change to a humanistic management model
Museums for accessibility
- We’re feeling stuck with mutual understanding
- We’re feeling stuck with funding
- We’re going to listen with a shared vision
- We’re going to talk to politicians about changing funding
- We’re going to create a social media campaign for mutual understating and shared vision
- We’re going to create a partnership with seniors and youth organisations
Photos: Anna Dentoni, Deborah Ziska and Cecilia Martin