UMAC Board Elections 2019-2022
Candidate for: Secretary

Wenjia Qiu

Qian Xuesen Library & Museum, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, CHINA

ICOM No. 131901

Nominators: Marta C. Lourenço (Portugal), Kai Zhang (China)

Biographical note

Wenjia Qiu is currently the international collaboration coordinator and an assistant to museum director at Qian Xuesen Library & Museum, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. She had an education background in English Literature and Social Policy. As a young and emerging museum professional, she has worked extensively in the university museum sector, within China and in the globe. A selection of projects under her supervision are: University Museums Training Week Shanghai (2017-2019, international training program), Hong Kong-Shanghai Student Museum Exploration Program (2014-2019, regional education program), Practical Evaluation Guide (2018-2019, book translation). Link to CV.

Qualifications for the position

1. Knowledge about, and enthusiasm for, university museums in China, or more broadly Asia.

I have worked nearly six years in one of the best university museums in China as a museum educator and an assistant to the museum director. As my University  is the secretary organization of the National Educational Alliance of University and College Museums in China, as well as the co-founder institution of Shanghai Educational Alliance of University and College Museums, I have participated in several grant applications, resources allocations and university museums advocating for the Shanghai City Council and the Ministry of Education in China. More recently, I am also promoting university museums with the National Cultural Heritage Administration through the compilation of a report about the status quo and development of university museums in China. I have undertaken student programs in collaboration with university museums in Hong Kong. More closely involved with UMAC, I have established contacts and initiated mutual visits or exhibition proposals with the University Museums Association of Kyoto and the Taiwan Association of University Museums.

2. Capacity for initiating and coordinating international partnerships and events.

My museum has established very close and sustainable relations with UMAC: i) it is the first institutional member of UMAC in mainland China since 2014; ii) it has established a partnership with UMAC to develop the flagship project University Museums Training Week Shanghai (UMTWS), which takes place every April. For the past three years, I have coordinated and managed UMTWS to make it the only regular international training program targeting university museum professionals and researchers. Nearly one hundred participants from mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan have benefited from the training. It also directly yields to an evident increase of Chinese university museum members in UMAC and another two collaborative projects between UMAC and other university museums in China.

3. Language proficiency and cultural awareness.

I received an education from Beijing International Studies University (BA in English language, literature and culture) and London School of Economics and Political Science (MSc in social policy and planning). I am in charge of international exhibition communication in our museum and coordinated two exhibitions in the United States and Russia respectively. My formal education and working experience have prepared me with strong language skills and a sense of multicultural awareness. It’s the colorfulness and richness of university museums and collections that make UMAC so unique and compelling, therefore requiring attention and awareness to respect and preserve that diversity and sensitivity is genuinely essential.

Main goals of candidacy

This will be my first mandate if I’m honored to be elected. I would like to contribute to the following:

  • Increase the visibility of UMAC. To encourage more membership, there is great potential in Asia-Pacific and Africa. More focuses should be on regional initiatives and voices at local level, language, technical support, and most importantly, to learn about real cases and hear real people.
  • Increase the accessibility and vitality of UMAC. To get UMAC, online and offline, to larger areas and more remote regions. To help support the establishment of university museum associations at local level and support various channels to make university museums survive and sustain, socially, politically and financially. Try fitting ways to attract younger generations of university museum professionals and to have their voices heard and respected. Create dialogues and opportunities for people to actually meet, connect, and then cooperate, and build a loop.
  • Increase the professional standards of university museums globally. To encourage more research on university museums and promote professional and ethical standards for all people working and volunteering in university museums and collections.

Based on the previous working contacts with the current UMAC Chair and Vice Chairs, I’m aware of UMAC’s ambition and duties in the coming years. To accomplish the above goals, it’s extremely important for me to align with the new Board and new Chair’s mandate, to support them with concrete and detailed implementation to make UMAC more accessible.