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Heritage Matters | Webinar 7 | Art, Ephemerality & Performance | 18 July 2020 | 7:30-9:00 PM IST

Date: 18th July 2020, Saturday

Time: 1930-2100 Indian Standard Time (7:30 – 9:00 PM)

Webinar Recording: Audio | Video

Topic: Art, Ephemerality & Performance
The visualisation of creativity through performance art is often transient. How does one document the atmosphere of the moment of performance? How does one capture performativity and iteration in different spaces? Is its capture in digital or any form an act of freezing the moment? Is that which is fluid frozen at the time of capture? How are the performances of Marina Abramovich, Nikhil Chopra and Anunaya Chaubey captured and through whose lenses? Is this documentation for the present or posterity or both? What methods are deployed? What is the atmosphere of such captures? What does the atmosphere mean in performance art? Lonnie Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, appeals to the public to document the range of captures of Black Lives Matter movement through the eyes or lenses or smartphones of the protesters. There is an urgency to capture global resistance to racism, COVID 19 realties and Climate Crisis. In what ways does this dynamic collecting facilitate understanding contemporary history? Panellists in the Webinar include an art educator, art historian and an academic and artist. It is moderated by a historian and heritage action specialist.

Panellists:   Dr Ida Brændholt Lundgaard, Senior Advisor, Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces, Copenhagen & former Head of Education, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Dr Bindu Bhadana, Doctorate from Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg & Professor, Anant National University, Ahmedabad. Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Well known artist, Provost of Anant National University & Salzburg Global Fellow.

HostProfessor Dr Amareswar Galla, Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad, Founding Executive Director, International Institute for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Australia/USA & Salzburg Global Fellow.

Remembering Dr. George F MacDonald (1938-2020)

Dr. Amareswar Galla (Amar), the then Chairperson of Asia Pacific Executive Board of International Council of Museums interviewed Dr George F MacDonald, the Chief Executive Officer of Museum Victoria, Australia’s largest public museums organisation, on 2 November 2000. The following are abridged reflections of Dr. MacDonald at the opening of the Melbourne Museum, the flagship of Museum Victoria. Transcribed text was approved by Dr MacDonald. Two decades on the museological wisdom in these reflections remains just as valid.

Dr MacDonald, Dr Joanne MacDonald and Prof Galla at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, 2014.

Amar: What does the opening of the Museum Victoria mean to museum development and re-development in Australia and within the museum world in general? What does it mean to George MacDonald CEO who oversaw the foundation of a major national museum in the world, i.e. the Canadian Museum of Civilisation, Ottawa, and now another major museum development on the other side of the world?

George: The thing that did strike me is that dates and events are very important, and they galvanise thinking and create thresholds and so on. I think the opening of Victoria Museum of this magnitude at this point in time as we enter a new millennium certainly struck me as being an opportunity to make a statement – To try and balance things a little differently than had been previously done. The more I thought about it the more I realised that what I was doing in Ottawa was to respond to a generation of visitors, which covered 80 percent of the people who were coming to the museum, raised in the television age from their very earliest memory. That generation were looking at the world through a television screen which is very different than looking at the world as you move around a village or a town or within your own experience frame of reference. Suddenly you were in this bionic electronic world that was being shown to you through a window that was global, and people accelerated their sophistication very rapidly. Now it has been about 50 years that television has been current in North America and in that 50 years people have become very sophisticated in a whole series of things such as how things work and the long sequences of history consistently recapitulated in television series. I thought that’s it, we are doing a project for a whole new generation of people and we won’t re-do it for some time. Read the full interview here.

Read Here: In Memoriam George F MacDonald, 1938-2020

Read Here: The Museum is the Medium ’Remembering Dr. George F MacDonald'(1938–2020)

Heritage Matters Webinar 6 | Subaltern Narratives & Dalit Creative Engagement | 4th July 2020 | 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Date: 4th July 2020, Saturday
Time: 1930-2100 Indian Standard Time (7:30-9:00PM)

Webinar Recording: Audio | Video

India is one of the first countries in the world to Constitutionally guarantee the equal rights of all its citizens. It is also the first one to incorporate the Fundamental Rights of all its citizens and include a cultural diversity framework in its Constitution. The translation of such a powerful legal instrument into practice on the ground has been challenging. Considerable progress has been made. Now the Pandemic lockdown provides a critical reflexive space for understanding the progress made and the role of creativity as an agency of empowerment and participation for historically disadvantaged communities. The global triangulation of Crises – COVID 2019, Climate and Environmental Deterioration, and surging protests for racial justice across the world – challenge us to rethink current approaches to cultural justice and travel through the portal to vision and walk better possibilities. International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership at AnantU is part of a Global Research Network in debating our post Pandemic preferred futures across race, ethnicity, class, gender, caste, age, sexual orientation and so on. (https://ondiversity.com/) In addressing the portal through which we must emerge to a better and more equitable world, we discuss in this Webinar the role of arts and the First Voice of rights holder communities.

Panellists: Shri Praveen Kumar, IAS, Special Chief Secretary, Backward Classes Welfare; previously Secretary Tourism & Commissioner Fisheries, Government of Andhra Pradesh. Dr D. Vizai Bhaskar, Playwright & Poet; Dalit Cultural Rights Advocate; & former Director, Creativity and Culture Commission, Andhra Pradesh. Professor Dr Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, Professor, Centre for Mahayana Buddhist Studies, Acharya Nagarjuna University; Social activist; & Writer.

Host: Professor Dr Amareswar Galla, Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad; & Salzburg Global Fellow.

Heritage Matters – 5 | What Museums Post Pandemic? | 20 June 2020 | 7:30-9:00 PM IST

Date: 20 June 2020, Saturday, On the Eve of the June Solstice
Time: 1930-2100 Indian Standard Time (7:30-9:00 PM)
Recording Link: Audio | Video

The past two months of COVID19 incumbency have revealed the vulnerability of the museum sector in the world. The reports by ICOM, UNESCO and NEMO profile the severity of challenges faced by museums globally. They assist us with a heightened awareness of what the aspirational museum could be post-pandemic. This increased pool of knowledge makes it glaringly obvious that we must confront the insularity that is akin to being oblivious to our constituencies; become relevant to the people in their cultural and linguistic diversity, and address gross inequities of participation in the museum sector that pervade every corner of the world. While in the affluent localities of the world, museums are rolling out measured approaches to re-openings and enabling digital sprawling, there are many museums in almost every country that are closed, hopefully not forever. How can the institution of the museum become more relevant, inclusive, and grounded in the social, economic, and environmental realities of their respective contexts continues to be the biggest challenge? (https://onmuseums.com/) How can the post-pandemic museum become the quintessential civic space? How can it be understood both museological
and from a right based discourse embedded with accountabilities to race, ethnicity, colour, indignity, gender, class, age, sexual orientation and so on? How best can we minimise profiteering through illicit traffic in the cultural property under the shadow of COVID 19? How best can we ensure that the hard-won rights-based approaches to inclusion, equality, diversity, return, restitution, repatriation, and cultural democracy are not forgotten? How do we, once again, raise the awareness of international financial institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and ADB about the criticality of culture and museums in sustainable development? Hence the Webinar poses What Museums Post Pandemic?

Panellists: Lazare Eloundou, Director, Culture and Emergencies at UNESCO, Paris; Former Deputy Director, World Heritage Centre; & Former UNESCO Representative in Mali. Professor Dr George Abungu, Emeritus DG, National Museums of Kenya; Founding Professor of Heritage Studies, The University of Mauritius; Salzburg Global Fellow; & currently Special Adviser to the DG of ICCROM. Dr Alka Pande, Author and Art Historian; Curator, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi; & Project Director, Bihar Museum Biennale, Patna.

Host: Professor Dr Amareswar Galla, Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad; Salzburg Global Fellow; and Founding Chair, International Research Network & Founding Editor Inclusive Museum Research Journal Collection (2008-2020).

Please read the ICOM, UNESCO and NEMO Reports along with the UNESCO 2015 Recommendation and the ICOM Cultural Diversity Charter. You can access them here. Please send any questions that you have to inclusiveleadership@anu.edu.in

Heritage Matters – Webinar 4 | Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability: What Policy Solutions for the Climate Emergency? | 4 June 2020 | 7:30-9:00 PM IST

Access to Webinar Recording: Video

The onslaught of COVID 19 and the emergencies of climate change have one thing in common – there are no borders. It is across Global North and Global South. No country is spared. Hot spots are in localities with most environmental degradation, especially urban centres. Not surprisingly, lockdown have dramatically reduced air pollution and even started healing the Ozone Layer. Post Pandemic we need to envisage a brave new world that is cognisant of the cultural dimension of Climate Change. Heritage Matters Webinar 4 on the Eve of the World Environment Day aims to raise awareness, discussion and debate in the digital domain. A common concern for sustainability is from a holistic perspective, where environmental, cultural, economic, and social interests intersect. We seek to build an epistemic community where we can make linkages across disciplinary, geographic and cultural boundaries. During and Post Pandemic, we need strategic engagement to build global strategies for action framed by our shared concerns and tensions – Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability: What Policy Solutions for the Climate Emergency?

Panellists: Mrs Naaz Rizvi, Director, National Museum of Natural History of India, Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Climate Change, New Delhi; Dr Miniya Chatterji, CEO, Sustain Labs Paris; Author & Columnist; Adjunct Professor SciencesPo Paris; & Director, Anant Centre for Sustainability, Anant National University; Professor Dr Rohit Jigyasu, Project Manager in Urban Heritage, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management, ICCROM, Rome; Vice President of ICOMOS International, Paris; & former UNESCO Chairholder, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto; and Douglas Worts, International Coalition for Climate Justice; Culture & Sustainability Specialist, World Views Consulting, Toronto; & Sustainability Committee, American Association for State and Local History, USA.

Host: Professor Dr Amareswar Galla, Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad; Salzburg Global Fellow; and Founder, On Sustainability International Research Network & Founding Editor Onsustainability Research Journal Collection (2006-2015).

Date: 4 June 2020, Thursday, On the Eve of the World Environment Day
Time: 1930-2100 Indian Standard Time (7:30-9:00PM)
Registration Link: https://bit.ly/heritage-matters-4

Heritage Matters Webinar 3 | Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion | 18 May 2020 | 7:30 – 9:00 PM IST

Access to Webinar Recording: Video.

The burning question across the world is – What Museums Post Pandemic? Most museums in the world are closed during the onslaught of COVID 19. No country was spared. The well-endowed institutions maximised on their digital affordances streaming their collections and exhibitions. This did not grab the attention of audiences for too long. Gross inequalities of access and use in the digital domain are once again exposed. What is the future role of museums? How best can they address equality as an aspiration, equity as an outcome and diversity in all its manifestations and cultural borders? How can the institution of the Museum become more inclusive?  

Panellists: Madame Alissandra Cummins, Director, Barbados Museum and Historical Society; Former President,  ICOM, Paris; Former Chairperson,  UNESCO Executive Board, Paris & Salzburg Global Fellow . Professor Dr Hans-Martin Hinz, Berlin, Former President, ICOM, Paris; Programme Director, ICOM International Training Centre for Museum Studies, Peking; & Former State Secretary for Culture, Berlin Senate Administration. Mag. Elke Kellner, Managing Director, ICOM Austria.

Host: Professor Dr Amareswar Galla, Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad, Former Vice President, ICOM, Paris & Salzburg Global Fellow.  
Date: Monday 18th May 2020. International Museum Day 
Time:  7:30 – 9:00PM (1930 – 2100) Indian Standard Time

Heritage Matters Webinar 2: Civic Spaces in Times of Crisis | 02 May 2020 | 1400-1530 IST

Access to webinar recording: Audio | Video

In the current COVID 19 atmosphere civic spaces are being limited, transformed and their futures imagined. What will be the future recreational spectrum of the arts, culture, museum, heritage and environmental domains? Will urbanism – from local neighbourhoods to city centres – be reconceptualised? Could we decolonise hegemonic discourses using the cultural, economic, social and environmental disruption caused by the current crisis? How do we create enabling and empowering participatory democracy in the formations of new civic spaces as we move forward across the range of cultural borders of race, ethnicity, class, gender, caste, faith, age, sexuality, economic status, regionalism and so on?

Panellists: Brinda Somaya, Principal Architect, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai; A.D White Professor-at-large, Cornell University. USA; Chairperson, Board of Governors, School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada. Harsh Thapar, Architect & Sustainability Expert, Vice President, HKS Architects. Prathima Muniyappa, Design Researcher, Space Enabled Group, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge USA. Fulbright Fellow 2016-17, Masters in Design Studies, Critical Conservation, Harvard University. Young India fellow 2013-14. Graduated from NID, Ahmedabad.

Host: Professor Amareswar Galla, Director, International Centre  for Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad & Salzburg Global Fellow.

Register Here: https://bit.ly/2zD8vwx

Date: 02 May 2020, Saturday

Time: 1400-1530 IST (2:00-3:30 PM)

A World without Culture is a World without a Future

Webinar on Heritage Matters | 18th April 2020 | 1400-1530 IST | Zoom

Webinar 1 – World Heritage Day 2020

18th April 2020, Saturday | 1400-1530 ( 2:00 to 3:30PM)

AnantU launches on World Heritage Day, the Heritage Matters Webinar series led by two Salzburg Global Fellows: Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost, AnantU and well known artist; Dr Amareswar Galla, Professor of Inclusive Cultural Leadership, AnantU. Panellists are Dr Benny Kuriakose – Expert on Sustainability and Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Built Environment and Design; Poonam Trambadia, Associate Professor, AnantU, West Zone Coordinator for ICOMOS, India; & Tejshvi Jain, Founding Director, Rereeti Foundation.

Focus: Heritage – Resilience, Inclusion and Sustainability through the immediate and long-term futures, present and post-COVID19 realities.

Date: 18 April 2020, Saturday
Time: 1400-1530 IST (2:00-3:30 PM)

Access to Webinar Recording: Audio | Video


Museums facing COVID-19 challenges remain engaged with communities

– A Story by UNESCO

Around the world, museums and the communities they serve are feeling the impact of COVID-19, as populations are requested to stay home and large gatherings are prohibited.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, museum institutions large and small, public and private, have had to close their doors, most of them for a foreseeable future. An estimated 90% of the world’s approximately 60,000 museums are facing full, partial or eventual closure. Regardless of size, location or status, museums are facing tough challenges, including protecting their collections, ensuring that staff are safe and healthy, dealing with financial issues, and staying engaged with their public. They are contributing to our society, proposing innovative ideas and inspiring everyone in this difficult and uncertain time.

Finding creative ways to serve the public

Culture never stops, and it is crucial that museums keep going too, especially in the face of COVID-19. “Museums are more than just places where humanity’s heritage is preserved and promoted”, noted Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO. “They are also key spaces of education, inspiration and dialogue. At a time when billions of people around the world are separated from one another, museums can bring us together”. . Not surprisingly, we are seeing museums and the communities they serve become more resilient, resourceful and innovative. From virtual visits to Facebook and Instagram content, from podcasts to open access online platforms, museums and cultural institutions are getting creative as they cope with this unprecedented situation. Some museum professionals shared with UNESCO how they are facing this difficult time.

“COVID-19 is a pandemic affecting everyone. In order to contribute to reducing the spread, the Livingstone Museum is closed but active via Facebook and our website. Be wise, stay at home!” said Terry Nyambe, Assistant Keeper of Ichthyology, Livingstone Museum, Zambia

To continue the support they provide as social networks, many of Lebanon’s museums have made virtual tours and mobile applications available.  “We will come through this and we are keeping in mind, for after COVID-19, the reprogramming of activities in our museums, because by saving culture, we save society, its diversity, its vitality and its creativity,” said Anne Marie Afeiche, Executive Director General, Council of Museums, Lebanon.

Hamady Bocoum, General Manager of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Senegal, is quickly taking action. “Since the Museum closed due to COVID-19, we are engaging our experts to film guided tours of all the exhibitions. These will be broadcast in segments on Senegalese television, and will also be made available online,” he said.

Beryl Ondiek, Director of National Museums in Seychelles, stated that “In the mist of chaos, museums break the walls that keep us apart. Museums can use all of the collections and information we have, and transmit our cultural and natural heritage to communities through the internet to lift spirits and keep everyone connected.”

Devising strategies going forward

While closures are usually decided by the national authorities, most museums must devise their own coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and these vary widely. The challenges are multiple; support for staff, security, and preservation of collections must continue. Not only are they not generating revenue, museums are also vulnerable when closed. On 29 March 2020, for example, the painting “Spring Garden” by Vincent van Gogh was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum, Netherlands, which is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19.

Museums are looking to a variety of sources including local and national government, the public, and other benefactors. In some cases, major foundations and philanthropic entities are launching new funds to support cultural organizations. Other initiatives include loosening grant application restrictions, extending or waiving deadlines, and honoring commitments for events that won’t take place.[1]

The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, England depends on the Mary Rose Trust for conserving and displaying King Henry VIII’s favorite warship, and her unique collection of artefacts.  Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive of the Trust, reported that after the museum’s closure amid COVID-19, the Mary Rose was “in mortal peril” because 90% of funding comes from visitors, with the majority generated between April and September. She described how “urgent financial help was needed from the government to ensure the complex conservation processes for the preservation of the wreck and its artefacts can continue.”[2]

Suzy Hakimian, President of ICOM Lebanon, noted that many museums with more limited means are trying to cope with an increase in the financial challenges they were already confronting in normal times.  “At the end of this catastrophe, it will be necessary to save a number of museums in order to preserve their collections and above all avoid laying off their staff” she said.  “This will constitute a fundamental part of future museum emergency plans,” she added.

[1] Inside Philanthropy https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/3/22/how-can-funders-most-effectively-support-an-arts-sector-decimated-by-covid-19

[2] WebWire https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=257471

Sharing good practices

UNESCO, with the support of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), is working to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the museum sector. UNESCO is currently identifying museums around the world that are offering online content and innovative strategies in response to the coronavirus crisis. A list is being established with links to museum institutions, and the information will be made available online.  A special effort has been made to focus on the Arab region and Africa, for which data are still fragmentary. This mapping will allow the general public to access these collections, while also allowing museums to exchange good practices to support the development of long-term museum strategies.

See also

UNESCO 2015 Recommendation on Museums and Collections