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IAM Conference

2020 IAM Virtual Conference-Call for Session Proposals

Adapting to New Realities

November 2020 – October 2021

IAM is excited to announce its 2020 Conference theme, Adapting to New Realities. Building upon its popular Museum People Helping Museum People series, IAM has decided to spread its annual conference over the coming year. We invite members of the museum community to propose sessions exploring how museums can best serve their communities in these uncertain times.

For decades, we have been living in a world of accelerating change. Socially, our communities have been undergoing rapid demographic change in terms of ethnicity and gender identity. Politically, our nation has been divided by increasing partisanship, polarization, and tribalism. In 2020, change sped up drastically with a global pandemic and increased tensions from continuous and systemic social inequalities. How can museums adapt to these pressures not only to assure their own survival, but to truly serve their communities? This is an opportunity for museum professionals to share innovative programs, policies, and best practices that can create spaces that encourage learning, reflection, and conversation amid increased pressures on staff, budgets, and communities.

We welcome proposals that explore how institutions, both large and small, can navigate these challenging times while serving and positively impacting communities. Examples might include but are not limited to

  • Providing space for conversations about diversity, equity, access, and inclusion,
  • Tutorials on how to best execute virtual programming with an eye toward adapting to future uncertainty,
  • Monetizing online content,
  • Member recruitment and retention during challenging times,
  • Partnerships as a tool to reduce costs and increase impact,
  • Utilizing volunteers from a distance, and
  • Suggestions for self- and community-care.

If we have learned anything this year, it is that Illinois museums have resilient professionals who are dedicated to helping their communities and colleagues. This conference will provide an opportunity for those professionals to share their knowledge and learn from each other.

The conference program will offer fifty- and twenty-minute sessions. These may take the form of lecture, panel discussion, roundtable, or debate. It could include workshops or brief 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.

Proposals due: September 18, 2020