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IAM Conference

2020 IAM Virtual Conference-Call for Session Proposals

 Museums and Community Wellbeing

November 16th and 17th

IAM is excited to announce its 2020 Conference theme, Museums and Community Wellbeing. We invite members of the Illinois museum community to propose sessions exploring the roles museums can and should play in promoting and maintaining wellness in the communities they serve.

Museums and Community Wellbeing seeks to provide an opportunity to pause from the day-to-day activities of our work as museum professionals, advocates, and volunteers to reflect on how we can better care for ourselves and our communities. This is an opportunity to share innovative programs, policies, and best practices that encourage learning and reflection, alleviate stress, and promote healing in our workplaces and communities. 

For decades, we have been living in a world of accelerating change. Socially, our communities are undergoing rapid demographic change in terms of ethnicity and gender identity. Politically, our nation is divided by increasing partisanship, polarization, and tribalism. We are issuing this call for sessions and proposals during a National Emergency caused by the Covid19 virus.  This event alone has caused drastic changes in the ways in which we communicate, shop, organize, and interact on individual, local, national, and global levels. Communication has been revolutionized by the advancement of technology and its integration into our everyday lives. As the pressures and pace of life increase on every side, museums are trying to meet the needs of their communities not only as sources of objectivity and truth in an era of hidden agendas and misinformation, but also as places of social and emotional wellness. Meanwhile museums and their staff are not immune from the very pressures that they seek to alleviate. Staffing shortages, budget uncertainties, and increasingly divided political climates are just a few of the added stressors facing museum professionals today.

We welcome proposals that explore how institutions both large and small can navigate these challenging times while serving and positively impacting communities with a mind toward the wellbeing of those communities and those who work in our field.

The conference program will offer online workshops, as well as fifty and twenty minute sessions (these may take the form of lecture, panel discussion, roundtable, debate, …) and 5-minute flash talks. Presenters will be provided with some technical assistance for hosting their sessions remotely, but must have access to a webcam, microphone, and a highspeed internet connection.