Date: March 8, 2023, 6:30 pm
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This International Women’s Day, join Dr. Sarah Smith, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Art, Culture and Global Relations and Dr. Sascha Priewe, Director of Collections and Public Programs of the Aga Khan Museum, as they sit down with Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis, CEO and Director of the Aga Khan Museum, Ngaire Blankenberg, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, and Anne Elisabeth Thibault, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing cultural institutions at this moment.
With significant changes in the world, from the impact of the global pandemic to ongoing conflicts and a call to respond better to local audiences, what does museum leadership look like through these tumultuous times? How has global engagement changed in the wake of COVID-19?
This panel responds to a 2019 study of the global activities of ten museums across Canada. Returning to this research following the pandemic, they seek to assess the impact of the pandemic on cultural institutions.
This panel discussion is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
About the Panelists
Ngaire Blankenberg is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the nation’s premiere museum devoted to the arts of Africa. Prior to this role, she served as a consultant for museums globally, helping clients with concept development and strategic planning. Blankenberg has worked at Lord Cultural Resources and was the head of content and strategy for Kossmanndejong. In addition to her work in museums, she is an award-winning TV producer and director, public speaker, and author.
Anne Élisabeth Thibault
Anne Élisabeth Thibault is the Director of Pointe-à-Callière. With over 20 years of experience in museology, heritage, technology development, and resource management, Thibault has been part of successful teams such as Moment Factory and FLOAT4. She has travelled internationally for conferences and exhibitions, showcasing Canadian museum expertise and is also a member of ICOM-Canada.
Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis
CEO and Director of the Aga Khan Museum, Dr. Ulrike Al- Khamis is a recognized leader in the field of Islamic art and museology. Dr. Al-Khamis holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Art from the University of Edinburgh and has served as Co-Director at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization as well as Senior Strategic Advisor to the Sharjah Museum Department in the U.A.E. She began her career in Scotland, where she worked as Principal Curator for South Asia and the Middle East at the National Museums of Scotland and Curator for Muslim Art and Culture at Glasgow Museums.
About the Moderators
Dr. Sarah Smith
Dr. Sarah E.K. Smith is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Art, Culture, and Global Relations in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University in London, Ontario, where she runs the Practitioner Media Lab. Her writing and curatorial projects address contemporary art and museums, cultural diplomacy, as well as creative labour. Dr. Smith is co‐founder of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative, a multidisciplinary research network of academics, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of critical cultural diplomacy.
Dr. Sascha Priewe
Director of Collections and Public Programs of the Aga Khan Museum, Dr. Sascha Priewe previously worked at the Royal Ontario Museum and as a Curator at the British Museum. Dr. Priewe holds a DPhil in Archaeology from Oxford University. A Senior Fellow of Massey College, Dr. Priewe is a co-founder of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative and sits on the boards of ICOM Canada and the Ontario Museum Association. He is also cross-appointed as an Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Toronto and as an Affiliated Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.
ICOM Canada is the Canadian National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). As the only Canadian museums association dedicated to global museology, ICOM Canada connects the work and initiatives of Canadian museums to the global museum community and vice versa. The organization serves as a gateway for Canadians to the global museum community, connects its members to each other and to the world, and supports Canadian museums and museum professionals as agents of change at the intersection of local and global developments.
North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative (NACDI)
NACDI is a multi-disciplinary research network of academics, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of critical cultural diplomacy (CD) from North America and beyond. Its objective is to advance new scholarship and research that provides a greater understanding of how CD functions to connect North America globally, not merely as part of the “soft power” toolkit of nation-states but as a multi-directional practice that encompasses a broad range of non-state actors, including cultural institutions, managers, producers, consumers, and communities seeking to imagine counter-hegemonic possibilities and inclusive futures.