2013 – 2016

2016 Milan, Italy

The COMCOL Annual Conference and Meeting 2016 took place in Milan, Italy, in conjunction with ICOM’s General Conference 3-9 July. COMCOL’s own conference was organized in partnership with ICFA (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Fine Art) and started with a pre-conference meeting from 30 June in Bassano del Grappa.

You can download the full program and the minutes can be downloaded here

2015 Seoul, Korea

The COMCOL’s 2015 annual conference was organized in cooperation with ICOM Korea and hosted by The National Folk Museum of Korea. The conference was dedicated to the sustainability of collecting and collections. The theme links up with the theme of International Museum Day, “Museums for a sustainable society”, but will focus on the sustainability of the role of museums (and other heritage institutions) and their collections itself.

The most generally accepted definition of sustainability is the one given in the Brundtland Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) saying “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In its brochure, Sustainability, and museums. Your chance to make a difference (2008), the UK Museums Association discusses how “concepts of sustainability have the potential to help museums improve their service to society, to make decisions about collections management, to secure long-term financial stability – and, of course, to serve future generations appropriately”. Speaking about collections, the Museums Association suggests that to flourish sustainability, museums should “acknowledge the legacy contributed by previous generations and pass on a better legacy of collections, information, and knowledge to the next generation”, and “manage collections well so that they will be a valued asset for future generations, not a burden”. In its conference, COMCOL will explore the meaning of this in terms of the composition and structure of collections. What specific methodological approaches towards collection development does sustainability require?

2014 Celje, Slovenia

The 2014 annual conference of COMCOL was held from 3-6 December in Celje, in Slovenia. The theme of the conference was: Collecting and collections in times of war or political and social change.

It was the aim of COMCOL to discuss the theory, practice, and ethics of collection development. One of the issues being the social context of collection development, in particular, the impact of prevailing ideologies. The 2014 annual conference was the last of a series of three conferences in which COMCOL explored this issue from different perspectives. In 2012 (Cape Town) we discussed how the concept of utopia influenced (and influences) the forming of collections. In 2013 (Rio de Janeiro) we discussed the re-interpretation of older collections, focusing on exhibitions as a medium for re-interpretation. In 2014 we explored the triangular relationship between ideology, the institutional mission, and the collection profile. In particular, we explored how museum missions are influenced by changes in political ideologies and regimes, and to what extent collection profiles are adapted to the new missions.

If you are interested you can view here the program

2013 Rio de Janiero, Brazil

COMCOL’s third annual meeting was organized in conjunction with the General Conference of ICOM. The COMCOL meetings took place on 12-15 August 2013. The general theme of these meetings was: The re-interpretation and re-usages of (older) collections and their value for contemporary society. On a joint day with ICMAH, ICME, ICR, and ICOM Korea, this theme was specified as “Focus on collecting: contemporary collecting for reinterpreting (older) collections”. Together with MINOM and the Museu da Maré a workshop was organized in the museum as a follow-up of the workshop in District Six Museum held during the Cape Town 2012 conference.

First reflections by Peter van Mensch
article by Paula dos Santos about Museum da Maré