From September 1-7, 2019, nearly 5,000 museum professionals, scholars, and cultural advocates gathered in Kyoto, Japan, for ICOM’s 25th General Conference. Because of ICOM-Canada’s Travel Bursary for Emerging Museum Professionals, Queen’s graduate-student, Sophie Yamauchi (Vancouver), was able to join her international colleagues in Kyoto to partake in fascinating conversations and gain insight into the governance of ICOM and its deep and meaningful roots world-wide.
As an ICOM-newcomer and aspiring museum-polymath, Sophie took the opportunity to attend a variety of sessions offered by many different international committees. She was particularly interested in ICME (ethnographic museums) sessions, which were rich with case studies of collaboration with Indigenous people and revealed the interesting international similarities that museums face within their own communities.
An advocate for the politicization and decolonization of museums, Sophie believes that museums can and should play an active role in engaging and shaping impactful and relevant discourse; and be accessible to all members of the community, regardless of race, gender, age, ability, or socioeconomic status. To participate in an extraordinary gathering with like-minded individuals was an opportunity of a lifetime. Impassioned to lead the next generation of Canadian museums, Sophie is grateful for this experience and is excited to be a part of the international museum community.