MUSEUMS AND GLOBAL PUBLIC SPHERES
An international conference on Museums and Global Public Spheres was held in July 2002 at the Bellagio Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation. The conference considered how international and global connections have become increasingly central to the practice of museums and related institutions in contemporary circumstances and how these same connections can marginalize certain peoples, places and institutions. The conference brought together scholars and museum and heritage professionals from different types of museums and institutions around the world.
The Museums and Global Public Spheres project has been organized by Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz (co-directors of the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship) in association with Lynn Szwaja (Deputy Director) and Tomàs Ybarra-Frausto (Associate Director) of the Creativity and Culture division of the Rockefeller Foundation. The MGPS conference was the outcome of a series of planning meetings held in New York (September 2000), Buenos Aires (June 2001), and Cape Town (August 2001). Planning meetings sought input from colleagues working in diverse cultural institutions in order to identify questions central to contemporary museum and exhibition practice in different parts of the world, to specify key issues affecting museums and heritage institutions over the past decade, and to help create networks that promote dialogue and exchange on these issues.
The Museums and Global Public Spheres conference was a sequel to two earlier Rockefeller-funded conferences, convened in 1988 and 1990, that resulted in edited volumes: Exhibiting Cultures and Museums and Communities. The recent conference also led to an edited book, entitled Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations, which was published by Duke University Press in November 2006. The Museums and Global Public Spheres project included two additional ways to help disseminate the results of the conference and planning meetings and extend the networks of exchange: a workshop in Atlanta (November 2002) and a collective reference list maintained on this website.