On October 29th POLIMI-DPA attended the International Conference organized within the celebration of the ‘2011 Museum of the Year’ Prize promoted by ICOM Italia. Held in the remarkable Museum Complex Santa Maria della Scala, situated in front of the gothic Dome in Siena, this event provided the opportunity to meet some ICOM representatives, and to listen to their report about the role of museum networks as strategic agents in this critical age, when economic, political, and social changes are menacing the activities (and the survival) of cultural Institutions.
The morning session was dedicated to a general overview of the problem, investigated through an international perspective thanks to the contributions of some ICOM members illustrating the situation of museum networks in Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Canada. The afternoon session was focused on the exploration of Italian networks, displaying some paradigmatic experience both at a regional and local level.
It has been said that this Conference was “honest”, because it avoided all forced positivisms and denounced the restraints and the doubts deriving from these difficult times. Despite the seriousness of the exhibited information, reports never assumed a complaining tone, and the event turned out as a propositive occasion for discussing new strategies, in order to exploit the potential role that cultural Institutions may develop as strategic agents to afford the general crisis. The strengthening of networks (among museums, as well as between museums and other institutions) was proved as a necessary practice to look ahead.