Polyphonic Perspectives

Polyphonic Perspectives: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural materials in Museums and University Collections and global issues of repatriation and restitution

A combined CAUMAC / UMAC / ICOM Australia webinar with the support of the National Museum of Australia.
June 7, 2021 at 2:00pm EST (Australia)



Participate in the ICOM Museum Definition CONSULTATION

ICOM is revising the museum definition dating from 2007. UMAC invites the global community of university museums and collections to participate in the ICOM consultation.

A summary of what is happening

In 2019, the ICOM Extraordinary General Assembly held in Kyoto approved to postpone the vote on a new museum definition, deciding to enter into a process of consultation and improved cooperation between committees. Since then, committees around the world have led activities of consultation with their members. In December 2019, the Executive Board decided to expand the MDPP to include over 20 members, incorporating figures who represent varying opinions on the matter. In February 2020, with the committee renamed MDPP2 to reflect the change, members entered into a phase of establishing a new methodology for proposing a museum definition for the 21st Century. This process has had to take into consideration the specificities of different regions and specializations represented by the many ICOM committees, regional alliances and affiliated organizations. Continue reading from the ICOM Advisory Council Report.

Members of ICOM Define

The new methodology was presented by ICOM Define at the webinar “Defining the museum in times of change: a way forward” (10 December 2020). If you missed it, click on the image below.









Participate in the consultation

UMAC invites the global university museum community (members and non-members) to participate in the public consultation.

Please fill out the brief survey here BEFORE 14 March, 2021.


‘The future of tradition in museology’, ICOFOM Study Series, 48 (1), 2020

‘Defining the museum: Challenges and compromises in the 21st century’, ICOFOM Study Series, 48 (2), 2020

CAMOC Review No. 1/2020

Marta C. Lourenço, UMAC Chair: Defining the UNIVERSITY MUSEUM today: Between ICOM and the ‘third mission’, Speech 8 May 2019.


International Museum Day 2021: THE FUTURE OF MUSEUMS

The year 2020 has been like no other. The COVID-19 crisis has swept the whole world abruptly, affecting every aspect of our lives, from the interactions with our loved ones, to the way we perceive our homes and cities, to our work and its organisation. Some already pressing issues have been exacerbated, questioning the very structure of our societies: the call for equality is stronger than ever.

Continue reading in ICOM’s website.

Download  poster and  banner for IMD2021.

Six months after the explosion in Beirut

Exactly 6 months after the terrible tragedy of the Beirut explosion, UMAC and Universeum want to evaluate the situation of university museums and collections, and museums and cultural heritage in general.

Where are we now? What was achieved and what remains to be done? What are the main problems and difficulties?

Invited speakers:

Suzy Hakimian, Chair of ICOM Lebanon, Director of the MIM – Museum of Mineralogy of the University of Saint-Joseph

Leyla Badre, ICOM-Lebanon

Elsa Urtizverea, Heritage Protection Coordination, ICOM

Nadine Panayot, Curator, Archaeological Museum Associate, Professor of practice, Department of History and Archaeology, American University of Beirut

Maya Haïdar-Boustani, Director, Museum of Lebanese Pre-History, University of Saint Joseph of Beirut

Joanne Farchakh, Board of Blue Shield-Lebanon, Chair of BILADI NGO

Gilbert Nicholas and David Chelala ,Architects specialized in museums, who mobilised and coordinated the specialized team of volunteers.


Marta Lourenço, UMAC President

Sébastien Soubiran, Universeum President

UMAC and Universeum will meet online in 2021

Message by the UMAC President, Marta Lourenço, and the Universeum President, Sébastien Soubiran:

Dear members, dear colleagues, dear friends,

Despite our strong will to meet and be together physically, it is now clear that it will not happen yet in 2021, for the reasons we all know.

The Boards of Universeum and UMAC have therefore decided i) to postpone the physical conference at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, to a later date and ii) to organize in 2021 a joint meeting, to be held exclusively online, between 1 and 3 September.

While frustrating of course, we are also incredibly excited by the opportunities that an online conference provides, namely in terms of audiences, presentation formats, and worldwide access, both in the present and future. It’s a new experience for UMAC and Universeum, and we will do our best.

The theme of UMAC-Universeum 2021 will be NEW OPPORTUNITIES – NEW CHALLENGES IN TIMES OF COVID-19.

Last year, we shared our experiences of COVID19 and its immediate impact on university museums and collections. In 2021, we would like to use these experiences to explore deeper and longer-term lessons of adaptability and resilience. 

While we wait for the conference website, the Call for Proposals is already accessible here.

You can propose papers, workshops and … for the first time, videos. We want to hear from you, wherever you are in the world.

Looking forward to your proposals.

Best regards,

Marta Lourenço, UMAC President

Sébastien Soubiran, Universeum President

Co-Chairs of UMAC-Universeum 2021

New volume of UMACJ just out!

Volume 12 of the University Museums and Collections Journal has just come out!

Two thick issues addressing the omnipresent themes of COVID-19 and its impact on university museums and collections — collections access, new ways of teaching, adaptability, uncertainty.

From the Editorial (UMACJ 12, 1):

“If the rapid and continuing development of new knowledge is driving higher education, then it is up to those who work with material collections within the academy to find new ways to transmit that knowledge and new ways to help underpin pedagogy with materiality. We see some great examples of this sort of creativity every year with the UMAC Awards. The development of these future-focused pedagogies will require increasing innovation and creativity from university museums and collections.” (Andrew Simpson, Marta Lourenço).



UMACJ 12 No. 1

Editor: Andrew Simpson

Six papers, 1.1 M 

Full Access



UMACJ 12 No. 2

Editor: Andrew Simpson

Eight papers, 1.2 M 

Full access


Explore more issues of UMACJ.