ICOM-UMAC Global Systematic Survey of University Museums and Collections Professionals

Who works in university museums and collections worldwide? What are the expectations of professionals? How do they divide their time? What is their background training? Do they like their work or would they prefer to work elsewhere?

ICOM-UMAC wants to know the answers to these questions.

If you work — formally or informally, active or retired — in a higher education museum or collection anywhere in the world, we would be grateful if you could spare 10 minutes of your time to answer our Global Systematic Survey. The results will be published in a book in 2022.

The survey is part of the project P-MUS, involving ICOM-UMAC, ICOM-ICTOP, Universeum (Europe) and the AAMG (USA).



ICOFOM Consultation with National and International Committees on the new Museum Definition

For over forty years, the ICOM International Committee for Museology (ICOFOM) has been charged with fostering theoretical debates and circulation of knowledge in museum theory and practice. We have been actively engaged in addressing ICOM’s goal to establish basic concepts and definitions for the museum field. Most recently, we have been involved in the project of defining the museum in the 21st century that was initiated by ICOM in 2016 after the adoption of the 2015 Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, Their Diversity and Their Role in Society , and developed since 2017 by the Standing Committee on the Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP).

Understanding that the ICOM museum definition is the most structural and operational tool for the organization to express its central values and mission to the museum world, we, the International Committee for Museology Chair and Board members, would like to consult the ICOM community using a dialogical methodology to collect our various viewpoints on the current proposed definition.

ICOFOM therefore invites all National and International Committees to survey their members and express their views to us on the new proposed museum definition. Our goal as a committee is to collect a wide range of opinions representing the cultural diversity of ICOM members, including those who have not yet had the opportunity to participate fully in this debate. Gathering this greater range of diverse viewpoints, we will then present and publicize a general report, in keeping with our mission within the ICOM network.

ICOFOM, November 2019


All UMAC members are strongly encouraged to contribute to this debate by replying to the ICOFOM’s questionnaire below UNTIL 26 January 2020.

We will forward all replies to ICOFOM, and they will be taken into account in their report to the ICOM’s General Assembly, Paris, June 2020.

Questionnaire in ENGLISH

Questionnaire en FRANÇAIS

Questionario en ESPAÑOL

UMAC Board, November 2019




UMAC 2020 Sydney: Call for Papers now open

The University of Sydney’s new Chau Chak Wing Museum will host the 20th annual UMAC conference from the 15th to 17th September, 2020.
The call for papers is now open!

The University of Sydney is Australia’s first university and home to the new, state-of-the-art Chau Chak Wing Museum. This museum will unite the university’s art, antiquities and natural history collections and is the result of a 10-year strategy. UMAC 2020 brings delegates to Sydney in spring, just weeks after the Chau Chak Wing Museum opens, to explore the conference theme of ‘New Destinations: Looking Forward, Looking Back’.


As the operating environment of higher education is changing, museums and collections can play a significant role in helping to shape an institution’s identity and narrative. They are an opportunity for diverse audiences to engage with history, academic thought and contemporary ideas while performing as a theatre space for innovative research and practice. UMAC 2020 examines the relationships between museums and collections and their institutional hosts, their relationship with the tripartite missions of teaching, research and engagement and their relevance to global issues in both higher education and broader society.


Call for Papers

Internationally, universities are using their museums and collections innovatively to create new forms of student, research and community engagement. The utility of collections for research training, object-based learning and cross-disciplinary programs is being increasingly explored and exploited in higher education. ‘New Destinations’ poses the question: ‘Are we there yet?’

The International Committee for UMAC invites proposals for its 20th Annual Conference. The theme of the conference is ‘New Destinations: Looking Forward, Looking Back. We are interested in receiving proposals that address the themes listed below.


Conference themes

Do museums and collections now represent the institutional DNA of a university?
Are university museums and collections now the central drivers of cultural production in higher education?
Do university leaders consider museums and collections to be core university business?
Is museum and collection work in higher education an emerging professional specialism?
Are university staff who work with material collections now recognised as an integral part of the global professional museum community?
How are ethnographic collections relevant to the generation of new knowledge, evolving institutional agendas and Indigenous community expectations?

The University of Sydney has substantial and highly significant Indigenous ethnographic collections. Much was acquired during a former time when Australia was on the margin of a European empire. As a special sub-theme of this conference, we consider possible new destinations for this category of university collection. Can the university museum lead the way in imagining and configuring new destinations for these collections?

Proposal submissions are due by Friday 28 February, 2020.
For more information and guidance on how to put forward a proposal visit the UMAC 2020 website.

New UMAC Board elected

Yesterday, a new UMAC Board was elected during the 19th Annual General Meeting.

The UMAC Board 2019-22, 3 September 2019, Kyoto, Japan.

The elected members are:

Chair: Marta C. Lourenço, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Vice-Chair: Andrew Simpson, Macquarie University, Australia

Vice-Chair: Steph Scholten, University of Glasgow, UK

Secretary: Wenjia Qiu, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Treasurer: Nathalie Nyst, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Ordinary Members: Fatemeh Ahmadi, University of Tehran, Iran; Nicole M. Crawford, University of Wyoming, USA; Margarita Guzmán, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia.

The Board was elected in the most participated UMAC annual general meeting ever and will remain in office until 2022.

The Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen wins UMAC Award 2019

The winner of the UMAC Award 2019 was announced yesterday in Kyoto, Japan, by Laishun AN, Vice-President of ICOM, at the 19th Annual General Meeting of UMAC.

The Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, won the prize with the project MIND THE GUT. Congratulations!

Read the media release here.

Ken Arnold and Adam Bencard, from the Medical Museion, with Marta Lourenço, Chair of UMAC, and Laishun An, Vice-President of ICOM, Kyoto, 3 September 2019 (photo S. Soubiran).

Read the Jury’s evaluation and learn more about the MIND THE GUT project here.

The Kyoto Book of Abstracts has just been published

In many conferences, books of abstracts are just part of that immense pile of paper that we trash in the hotel room right before returning home.

With UMAC, it was also like that. Few of us have the abstracts from UMAC 2004 or UMAC 2011.

Until now.

By publishing the Book of Abstracts as an issue of our journal UMACJVolume 11, No. 1 – abstracts from the 19th UMAC Annual Conference in Kyoto will remain accessible in our institutional record and be preserved as a resource for research. Moreover, this gives authors the opportunity to have their abstracts  referenced and cited in an ISSN peer-review journal.

Read more about this change in the introduction of UMACJ, Vol. 11 No. 1.

The issue was edited by Andrew Simpson, Akiko Fukuno and Hiroshi Minami, with graphic edition of Silvana Arago Telona.