President’s Update March 2022
Dear Colleagues and Members of ICOM Canada,
Much has happened over the past 3 months. In this newsletter I am reporting on the many things that ICOM Canada has completed and will undertake over the coming months. The most important thing for our members is the news that our next AGM will take place in June 2022. We will be sending out more information on social media and via email about the date and time of this important meeting shortly.
ICOM Canada’s Activities
Four Strategic Planning workshops
ICOM Canada conducted workshops around the Family Day weekend in February with both members and non-members in English and French to inform ICOM Canada’s strategic plan and build on a member survey. ICOM Canada will use the rich discussions and valuable feedback of our members to finalize the strategic plan which will be presented to membership at the next AGM.
On March 2nd ICOM Canada issued a statement about the Russian destruction of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage in which we strongly condemned the war against Ukraine, the loss of life, the refugee crisis and the hardships imposed on the Ukrainian people. We particularly condemned the destruction and endangerment of cultural heritage and museums in Ukraine.
ICOM Canada is now working with ICOMOS Canada and a coalition of other cultural heritage organizations (CMA, CCI, CAC, CMHR, etc.) to send conservation materials and provide expertise to curators and preservationists in Ukraine. We have also agreed to collaborate on a panel of curators and conservators (in Canada and in Ukraine) on April 28th at 1:00 p.m. EDT which will be moderated by ICOMOS Canada President, Christophe Rivet. That panel will address some of the issues mentioned above. More information about the panel and the dissemination of materials and information will be shared on social media shortly.
Other initiatives that are currently underway at ICOM Canada include the ICOM Museum Definition. Mme. Michele Rivet is our representative at ICOM and ICOFOM for this important final step towards a new definition. Canada’s submission was reached in consultation with members and Board members in 2019 and was compared with the 5 definitions provided by ICOM Define in March 2022.
ICOM International Award and Student Bursaries
The competitions for the ICOM International Award and the ICOM Student Bursaries have concluded. Winners of the awards will be announced at the upcoming AGM.
Activities at ICOM Canada’s Board Directors museums:
Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Three staff from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights are engaged in helping with the planning of the Ukraine panel and information platform detailed above. Riva Harrison (Vice‐President, External Relations, and Community Engagement), Chandra Erlendson (Director, Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement), and Angeliki Bogiatji (Interpretive Program Developer) will all be involved in the planning.
Nunavut Heritage Centre (Inuit Heritage Trust): Catherine C. Cole, Director of Planning for the Inuit Heritage Trust, has been planning towards the development of the Nunavut Heritage Centre to be built in Iqaluit. Catherine is also very involved with CAMOC, the International Committee for the Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities, as part of ICOM International, for the upcoming Triennial in Prague.
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre: Breathe exhibition on now: Creating resilience through traditional art. In times of crisis, creativity inspires healing. The 45 hand-crafted masks of Breathe were created during the first wave of COVID-19. Métis artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd noticed an absence of beaded objects being made by traditional artists, particularly any new objects influenced by the pandemic. In speaking with peers, it seemed the pandemic had completely blocked them of their ability to create, as if holding their creative breath. Nathalie and Lisa invited artists to create masks that would become artifacts to record a significant historical moment in human history.
Royal British Columbia Museum: New exhibits in progress. The third-floor galleries at RBCM have been closed for modernization. The Royal BC Museum third floor comprised the First Peoples gallery, Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC exhibition and Becoming BC gallery. 3D tours of the third-floor galleries were captured before the third-floor gallery closures and will be published in 2022 to provide further opportunities for those who couldn’t make it in-person to visit the third-floor galleries as they were originally designed.
Resurgo Place: Sophie Cormier of Resurgo Place has been working with the Ukrainian community in New Brunswick to support and help the community to cope with events in Ukraine. Ukrainian Canadian families in Moncton cooked up perogies to help raise funds to support their home country.
Royal Ontario Museum: Climate Change Curator: Dr Soren Brothers, Curator of Climate Change at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is leading a project that brings together 100 collaborators, representing every continent except Antarctica, to assess the importance of greenhouse gas emissions from desiccating environments. The environmental scientist and researcher was appointed as the Curator of Climate Change shortly after the UN’s COP26 conference on climate change ended in Glasgow where world leaders agreed to cut carbon emissions and scale back the use of fossil fuels. Dr. Brothers is the Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.
Finally, remember that your ICOM Canada membership gives you free admission to thousands of museums all over the world and access to a network of nearly 40,000 museum professionals.
Additional information can be found on our ICOM Canada website. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@icomcanada) for the latest news from the museum and cultural heritage community.
We hope that all ICOM Canada members will continue to be engaged by our ongoing initiatives and with ICOM’s international committees. We look forward to hearing about your adventures!
With my very best regards,
Elka Weinstein, President, ICOM Canada