19th Annual UMAC Conference

UMAC 2019

University Museums and Collections as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition


Call for Proposals (CLOSED)


The International Committee for University Museums and Collections (UMAC) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) invites proposals for its 19th Annual Conference, which will be held on 1-7 September 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. The theme of the conference is ‘University Museums and Collections as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition’.

University museums and collections are culture hubs. They preserve the cultural heritage of universities and make it accessible to researchers, students, and broader audiences. University museums and collections in the arts, sciences and humanities connect objects, people and stories, in the past and the present. They also provide inspiring encounters between diverse cultures across the university community and in the global context.

In UMAC 2019, we would like to examine the future of museums, collections and heritage in the context of the cultural mission of universities. What does ‘culture’ really mean for the university today, in an increasingly global society facing multiple economic, political, demographic and environmental challenges? Can the university shape contemporary global culture(s)? Can it do it through its museums, collections and heritage? Does the context of being in universities make university museums inherently different from other museums? In what ways?

We welcome experiences, case-studies and in-depth reflections that help us explore and push the edge of our understanding about these issues. We are particularly interested in what we can learn from university museums and collections from Japan and, more generally, Asia.

In order to stimulate general debate, knowledge sharing and in-depth reflection, UMAC is introducing several changes to its conference format. Proposals can be submitted to one of the session types below. No descriptive papers will be accepted outside the Poster Session.

Standard Sessions

10-15 min oral in-depth papers followed by 5 min discussion

In depth papers should deal with substantial or completed research within UMAC 2019 conference theme; report the development of significant new arguments, methodologies or results; and present rigorous theoretical, speculative or critical discussion.

Special Session 1: Museums in Universities or University Museums?

Short and provocative 5-min oral papers, followed by in-depth discussion

We want to borrow Lyndel King’s late 1990s expression – museums in universities or university museums – to address what makes a university museums and collections different. Select three aspects that make them different and make your case.

Special Session 2: The Future of University Museums and Collections

Short and provocative 5-min oral papers, followed by in-depth discussion

We want to discuss how university museums and collections will be in 20 years. Tell us what you think are the three most crucial issues that will shape their future.

Poster Session

5-min oral presentations, followed by discussion

Descriptions of projects, activities, collections and museums are welcome. Unlike other conferences where the role of the poster is downplayed, we stress the importance of posters by subjecting them to the same rigorous peer-review as other proposals and by offering a dedicated chaired Poster Session with no parallel presentations. Submissions in this category are strongly encouraged.

Poster dimensions: Posters should be A1 format (594×841 mm; 23.4×33.1 in). 

Pre-Conference Workshops

4-h long workshops (1 September, Kyoto University Museum)

Pre-conference workshops are aimed at engaging a small number of participants (max. 20) in intensive discussion and activity on a particular issue related – but not limited – to the UMAC 2019 conference theme.

Participants in pre-conference workshops register separately (to be announced) but are expected to register for the full UMAC 2019 conference.


Note: UMAC’s mission is to progress the field of university museums and collections. Proposals addressing general activities, projects and reflections that could occur in any other museum will not be accepted. Please make sure to include the university dimension in your proposal.


Submissions and deadline

Conference language: English (no simultaneous translation will be provided)

A certificate will be issued for all accepted presentations regardless of format.

Submissions should be sent before 31 January 2019 to: Akiko Fukuno, Co-Chair of UMAC 2019  umackyoto2019@gmail.com

Announcement of results: 15 March 2019