European Commission - 7th Framework Programme European Museums and Libraries in/of the age of migrations last updated: February 2015

City Museums: Collisions | Connections

24-26 October 2012

Vancouver, Canada | Museum of Vancouver

CAMOC, the International Committee for the Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), in collaboration with the Museum of Vancouver, invites papers for “City Museums: Collisions I Connections”, a conference on city museums and their engagement in city life.
We are soliciting panels, presentations (15 minutes in length), virtual exhibitions/apps, films, and other presentations about city museums. There will be a poster competition for delegates to present case studies of projects from their museums addressing one of the conference themes. We would be happy to consider and accommodate other sorts of presentation methods as well.
The conference will bring people together to talk about how city museums are reconsidering their role in civic life due to the enormous pressure cities face in terms of aging infrastructure, the need for urban regeneration, economic and environmental crises, and social issues such demographic shifts, global diasporas, increasing immigrant and urban Aboriginal populations. The conference will look at city museums under development, urban/suburban city museums, and city museums in large and small cities. Under the wider rubric of the conference theme, suggested sub-topics include:
  • Defining the 21st century city museum: the changing role of the city museum today
    • City museum as urban forum and dialogue centre
    • City museum as agency for urban development
    • City museums and city branding
  • Cities and museums: collisions I connections I contemporary expectations
    • Measuring the social value of city museums: inspirations and challenges. In times of financial instability, museums need to prove their social value as collection repositories, as contact zones between people and communities, as educational resources for society at large, as boosters for the cultural and tourist industry, as generators of powerful multisensory experiences, as agents of social harmony and stability
    • Furthering understanding and fostering social cohesion and connections among people (immigrants/migrants, long-term residents & Aboriginal communities)
    • Changing demographics in today’s cities, ensuring the present and future relevance of city museums by changing whose stories are collected and told, and how museums work with communities
    • Contributing to community development and wellbeing: engaging in issues such as literacy, poverty, youth at risk, etc.
    • Reducing isolation in communities: creating a sense of place & identity
    • Providing economic impact: how effective are city museums becoming destinations and revitalizing downtown cores?
    • Understanding the impact of new museum roles on museum staff
    • Inviting museum professional to consider how city museums either learn from, or offer a model for, other urban museums in their changing relationships to their urban setting.
The conference will have several components:
  1. formal papers;
  2. site visits to urban and suburban museums;
  3. poster competition (details to follow) and exhibit area for museums to share their work;
  4. a roundtable discussion by invitation for museologists and urbanists to share and elaborate on the definitions of the 21st century City Museums and the interim results of the “City Museums Database” project. 

Keynote speakers and social events will be announced as they are confirmed. If there is sufficient interest, a post-conference tour will be arranged.

Interested participants, whether panel chairs or authors of individual papers, should send a proposal of 300–500 words accompanied by a 200-word biography by April 15, 2012 to:
Mail to:         Catherine C. Cole
                      Principal Consultant, Catherine C. Cole & Associates
                      Conference Co-Chair/Member CAMOC Board
                      10023 93 Street
                      Edmonton, Alberta CANADA, T5H 1W6
Phone/Fax:  1-780-424-2229
Funding of up to €500 may be available from CAMOC to assist one or two young (under 35) participants from developing countries. Please advise whether funding is required. Canadians may apply to the Canadian Museums Association for up to $1,200 (50% matched funding); Albertans may apply to the Alberta Museums Association for up to $5,000 (75% matched funding) to attend.
CAMOC is “a forum for people who work in or are interested in museums about cities, urban planners, historians, economists, architects or geographers, all of
whom together can share knowledge and experience, exchange ideas and explore partnerships across international boundaries.” (
The Museum of Vancouver is Canada’s largest urban history museum focusing on the life of a city. (