ICOM International Committee for Exhibitions and Exchange

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June 3, 2021

2021 ICOM ICEE Annual Conference Call fo Papers



2021 ICOM ICEE Annual Conference

Reimagining Exhibition Exchange

September 28 – 30, 2021

In Collaboration with the Museum of Art and History of the City of Geneva (MAH)

and ICOM Switzerland




The 2021 ICOM ICEE Annual Conference will be held online from Tuesday, September 28 to Thursday, September 30, 2021, in collaboration with the Museum of Art and History of the City of Geneva (MAH), and ICOM Switzerland.

The safety of our members, participants, partners, and collaborators is our top priority. With the ongoing uncertainties of the global pandemic, along with travel restrictions and limited funds for travel, we are aware that it will be difficult for many to join an in-person conference.  This is why the organizing committee has decided for a fully digital conference.

From unique presentations to a variety of networking opportunities, the 2021 ICEE Annual Conference will provide participants with a global digital platform to connect and share ideas and experiences with museum professionals from around the world.

The Conference Theme

More than a year after the global pandemic forced institutions to shut down their doors, museums, science centers, and exhibition developers around the world are still trying to figure out ways to keep their exhibition offerings relevant to their missions, feasible with reduced budgets, and accessible to audiences.

Reimagining Exhibition Exchange goes beyond a review and adaptation of logistics and procedures. It involves rethinking the way audiences engage with exhibition content, examining opportunities and challenges brought about by technology and digital infrastructures, and discussing new approaches to developing more sustainable exhibitions.

Reimagining new strategies for exhibition exchange also includes the need for improved business models, enhanced working environments, and stronger collaborations between institutions. What realistic, practical steps can museums take to embrace change? What can museum and exhibition professionals do when institutions are slow to change?

For its 2021 Annual Conference, the ICEE reflects on the future of exhibition exchange in a post-pandemic world, examining the powerful ways in which exhibitions contribute to reimagining the role of museums in an increasingly competitive cultural marketplace.  We invite colleagues from all over the world to explore Reimagining Exhibition Exchange in a post-pandemic world through the lens of three sub-themes: Audience Engagement, Technology, and Operations and Practices

Session 1: Reimagining Audience Engagement

The isolating impact of COVID-19 has changed the way people interact with museums and science centers, especially exhibitions and educational programs. While some audience groups turned to online content and virtual programming as a way to find relief from the isolation and stress, others looked for meaningful learning experiences for children and adults. At the same time, social and political drivers of change reinforced the need to  discuss what roles museums play in embracing social justice as well as diversity, equality, and accessibility.

How have museum audiences changed because of the pandemic? Will these changes remain relevant after museums return to normal? How do you ensure your exhibitions remain relevant and connected to audiences and stakeholders?

Session 2: Reimagining Technology

The physical presence of visitors in exhibition galleries and the digital experience of virtual audiences can no longer be considered separately. During the pandemic, technology emerged as a lifesaver for many institutions around the world as an immediate way to connect museums with audiences throughout compelling, immersive and personalized experiences.

How can museums assess which digital investments will be sustainable in the long run? What best practices can guide  museums’ adoption of digital technologies at low cost?

Session 3: Reimagining Operations and Practices

The abrupt changes caused by the pandemic in the operational environment of museums, science centers and exhibition developers call on us to rethink the way we work. From reduced staff and financial limitations to revised logistics and remote work, we are trying to create more effective strategies to continue our work in exhibition exchange. Improved business models, enhanced working environments, stronger collaborations between institutions, and the need to develop sustainable and eco-friendly exhibitions are some of the ways our members have been reimagining their operations and practices.

What business models, partnerships, strategies, procedures, and practices has your museum established to keep exhibition development, production, and touring logistics working? Has your institution tried any that did not work?

Conference Session Proposal Guidelines

The 2021 ICEE Annual Conference will accept proposals in the following formats[1]:


  • 10-minute presentation relating to one of the three conference themes.

Case Study

  • 10-minute presentation focused on best practices; challenges; an actual situation or a particular project and its development, implementation, and outcomes; or key learnings.

Papers & case studies will be paired together to create panels for each session. Proposals must include the following information:

Contact information of Presenter(s):

  • Full name, title, institution, address, and email of presenter (s).
  • Short biography of speaker(s) (80 words maximum).

Proposals must be written in English and include the following information:


  • Proposed session title
  • Session format (paper or case study)
  • Identification of corresponding/relevant conference theme
  • Abstract or session description (no longer than 300 words)
  • Identification of key learning outcomes for conference participants (i.e., what will participants take away from your session)


  • Please submit your proposals by July 4, 2021.
  • Proposal applications must be submitted using this form.


Review and Selection Process

  • The 2021 ICEE Conference Content Development Team will review all proposals submitted by the June 10, 2021 deadline. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Please note that the ICEE is unable to provide session speakers with travel funds, honorariums or allowances.
  • All speakers will be required to register for the conference.
  • Proposals will be evaluated for the following:
    • Relevance to one or more of the 3 conference themes
    • Identification of key learning outcomes for conference participants
    • Overall clarity and commitment to present a thoughtful, engaging, and original session
  • Selected speakers will be notified by July 12, 2021


Please note that all sessions and keynote speeches will be recorded and published online by ICEE.


Please contact the 2021 ICEE Conference Content Development Team at:

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[1] Session formats are subject to change based on conference needs and at the discretion of the content development team