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Conceptual presentation and scope

From its inception, the art museum has undergone a continuous updating process to adapt to the functions it has carried out throughout history. The artworks themselves, which hold several meanings at the time of their creation, convey new interpretations through museographic discourses that reveal social factors both from the past and the point in time in which they are exhibited. In the context of an increasing democratization of culture, the revolution of social museums-focused on the audiences beyond the art collections- has gone hand in hand with interesting research and initiatives to bring art institutions closer to all people, regardless of any specific needs they may have, drawing on culture’s potential as a principle of inclusion for humanity.

The International Conference The museum for all people: art, accessibility and social inclusion/El Museo para todas las personas: arte, accesibilidad e inclusión social invites a reflection on factors such as the experiential dimension of art and cultural heritage, focused on its audiences or the history of museums as spaces for universal knowledge. Similarly, the conference will delve into the needs of museum audiences that lie within education and cultural action, including the needs of particular groups to promote inclusion. In a similar vein, we seek to examine in depth the close relationship between museums and universities as sites open to the public at the intersection of exhibition and research.

Moreover, the ever-changing reality of the museum needs to tap into the innovative and technological capabilities of the 21st century, both to transform the museum’s narrative to its visitors through its artwork, the external image it projects and the museum’s relationship to its local environment. In addition to these factors, other external dimensions will be explored, such as management public policy, the strategies regarding inclusive tourism, or of Universal Design.

Finally, the conference will also share project presentations, activities and initiatives that have contributed to the study or application of strategies to bring museums closer to all people. Among these initiatives, the “MUSACCES Awards” will be granted to recognize the most outstanding projects and activities presented at the International Conference that have contributed towards bringing the museum closer to all audiences


Sub-theme 1

Pluralism in art.

Aesthetic and sensory perceptions. ​

When approaching the museum’s inclusive dimension, we must reflect on the possibilities at the disposal of art as a human medium of expression through the centuries. Stemming from art’s different conceptual definitions, there is room to delve into the diversity and pluralism of its resources, techniques and mediums, which allow for contemporary theoretical interpretations focused on inclusivity.

Art history, aesthetics, art criticism and other disciplines, such as musicology, preservation or art therapy, offer useful interpretative tools to approach the artistic phenomenon from its pluralistic points of view: in this vein, we welcome proposals that explore an aspect of art’s inclusive dimension from a theoretical standpoint in any of the aforementioned fields. Similarly, certain milestones in historiography allow us to understand the artistic phenomenon with further certainty, paving the way for interpretative contemporary studies that expand art’s reach to all people.

From the concepts of brilliance, civilization, style and form, that surrounded the first critical epistemological approaches to art, followed other methodological frameworks, such as iconography or sociology, meant to analyze concrete facets of artistic expression focused on the meaning and contexts of artworks. Studies focused on artistic perception paved the way for the analysis of creative mechanisms as mediums of expression for trauma and emotional memory, which promoted the development of important research into art as a medium of mental healing. In a parallel fashion, reception theories arose, as a meeting point between creators and spectators which  enhanced the role of the latter, and that have a clear relationship to later studies of visual semiotics or postcolonial theories and of cultural hybridity. In recent years, theoretical proposals in anthropology of images or visual culture have reminded us of the presence and innate nature of art throughout different cultures, making a reference to intangible memories that break with the linear timeline with which we are accustomed to organizing artistic phenomena around. Within this field, sensory studies have set out to surmount the limits of art by overcoming the boundaries between art mediums and carry out interesting contributions, with a view to break with visuality and delve into the aesthetic experience through the senses, with interesting applications to the museum medium.

  • Diversity in art, from contemplation to experiments in the aesthetics.Themes, resources, techniques, styles, mediums, languages and audiences to promote social inclusion.
  • The study of art through multidisciplinary scientific research: art history, aesthetics, art theory, art criticism, musicology, conservation, art therapy and other artistic fields for all people.
  • The myriad of epistemological viewpoints in art with a focus on inclusivity: from art iconography or sociology to the studies on anthropology of images and visual culture.
  • Perception and visual reception theories in search of an increasingly engaged spectator:from psychoanalysis and aesthetic psychology to the aesthetic of reception and the semiotics in non-linear conception of time.
  • Creativity and artistic expression as a means of healing:advocacy for diversity through art produced by all people and the creative process as psychological therapy to push through adversity.
  • Latest advances in sensory studies as a theoretical framework for inclusive art: theoretical, methodological and museographic proposals for all.
  1. art theory
  2. art history
  3. aesthetics
  4. musicology
  5. performativity
  6. iconography
  7. visual studies
  8. art anthropology
  9. trauma
  10. anachronisms
  11. creativity
  12. sensory studies

Sub-theme 2

Cultural heritage at everyone’s reach.

Research, preservation and management. ​

In the raising of awareness to preserve, promote and disseminate the valuable treasures of Humanity’s cultural heritage, many theoretical studies and innovative proposals have arisen in the recent years.

State and regional governments, museums and cultural entities, and members of the profesional teams that work for these organizations, have the duty to preserve, research and communicate to all members of society without discrimination, the historical-artistic possessions under their custody. This implies that those responsible for cultural heritage are capable of managing risks of a multifaceted nature. Stemming from these ideas, we will accept papers that delve into the problems and solutions surrounding the preservation of cultural heritage, as well as their public communication through museographic proposals accessible to all.

In this vein, encompassed in this sub-theme are all papers that address the new challenges that are posed by the duty to preserve, study, interpret, promote and disseminate cultural heritage among all people. This issue becomes evermore urgent today as the safeguard and protection of cultural heritage faces new and serious problems, such as the countless armed conflicts ravaging many regions around the world, population shifts and forced migration or natural disasters. In addition, there are problems associated to cultural legacy’s deterioration due to past inappropriate practices and negligence or the erosion as a result of the inexorable passage of time. Other papers of interest will also be those that focus on the democratization of culture through universal accessibility, preventive strategies and interinstitutional collaboration for the preservation and dissemination of historical-artistic heritage.

  • Cultural heritage as an emerging field for study: from a typological analysis to its new lines of work and social recognition
  • Cultural heritage knowledge and management. Is it at everyone’s reach?:entities, institutions and people
  • The importance of cultural heritage preservation and risk management: universality and prevention open to all people
  • New challenges in the disemmination of cultural heritage: preventive action, democratization of knowledge and inter-institutional collaboration
  • The safeguard and protection of cultural heritage in the event of social problems: armed conflict, migration, abandonment and passage of time or natural disasters
  • Problems of cultural heritage for all people: voluntarism and missing qualifications, vacuous analysis and uncontrolled intervention
  1. cultural heritage
  2. research
  3. preventive conservation
  4. management
  5. protection
  6. dissemination
  7. marketing
  8. risks
  9. prevention
  10. treatments
  11. intervention
  12. restoration

Sub-theme 3

Museums as spaces for knowledge.

History, theory and concepts. ​

For several years the concept of the museum, its organizational structure and functions, have been the subject of intellectual debate, ranging from its mythification to a radical questioning of its purpose, when it is not completely discredited.

To some, the museum is a distant, sacred entity, immobile and unobtainable, meant for a partially static worship by a passive audience. To others, the “traditional” museum has lost its reason to exist, after having become on several instances a simple venue of mundane performances, a place prone to promoting values outside of art. In line with this debate, we welcome in this sub-theme papers that rethink in an innovative manner the nature, functions, scope and limits of the museum, as well as the problems related to its location, its typological diversity and its profesional management. Thus, this sub-theme will incorporate proposals that sequentially study the historical origin of the museum and its present revisioning, covering its evolutionary process from the “cabinets of curiosities” and collections to the polyhedric spaces containing the knowledge of humanity’s cultural-historical past.

Further noting the variety of museum typologies, we will welcome papers that address certain aspects of the richness of museum content and museographic profiles. We will also take interest in those contributions related to the analysis of the museum as a living and dynamic entity, meant to preserve and disseminate collective identity, visual memory and national construction with adequate museographic designs. Similarly, papers that set out the specific needs of museums with regards to their charactertistics, profile and use (public, private, ecclesiastic museums, etc.) will be highly relevant, as well as those that delve into matters of museum management, administrative and functional structure, the organization of its work and service teams, the design of museographic designs and its social engagements, with a special emphasis on the latest trends in curatorial studies. We look forward as well to papers that present the role of the museum in society, in its function as a cultural space, without ignoring the delicate balance between “exhibition” and “performance”, or the increasingly relevant issue of financing avenues of the modern museum.

  • Conceptual problems surrounding the museum.Definition, limits, scope, aim, location, diversity, management, quality and prospects.
  • The origin and current state of the modern museum: from the “cabinets of curiosities” and collections to the polyhedric spaces containing the knowledge of the past.
  • The museum as a memorial:the preservation of collective identity, visual memory and national construction from the museological discourse.
  • Museums and their typological diversity:the art museum against themed history, science and society museums. The needs and specific problems depending on their characteristics  and use (public, private, ecclesiastic, etc.).
  • Museum management:past, present and future of work and service group organization, the design of museographic discourse and social interaction.

Latest advances in curatorial studies. The museum’s identity against society and its function as a cultural space, new possibilities in between exhibition and performance or the financing problems of the modern museum

  1. museums
  2. theory
  3. collections
  4. typology
  5. structure
  6. organization chart
  7. history
  8. origin
  9. identity
  10. art of collecting
  11. institutions
  12. curatorial studies

Sub-theme 4

Museums and 21st century audiences.

Accessibility, education and inclusion. ​

In response to the latest historiographic perspectives, the contemporary museum cannot continue to exist as an insulated entity, self-sufficient and insensitive to the expectations of the general public it is designed to meet. Hence, the idea that the museum’s ultimate goal is to best serve society by showcasing the cultural heritage under its custody is becoming widely accepted.

In a similar vein, the museum has undergone a revolution with regards to its social function: once it completely breaks with holding the curator’s one-way perspective as the passive spectator’s only truth, it is becoming increasingly open to the collaboration of the active spectator with the museographic discourse, and a dialogue with the museum itself.

Hence, we will accept papers that analyze different initiatives that take into account the needs and expectations of audiences when defining exhibition policies and programming, in addition to projects that underscore the challenges facing the museum with regards to the didactic function of its museographic content, the image it projects and in terms of cultural action. This involves the need to study the processes, programs, plans, strategies and initiatives that are adopted with a view to build shared museographic discourses, in an open conversation between museum agents and their audiences. Incuded as well will be those papers that explore the social problems present in the contemporary museum, as well as the critical analysiss of historical memory, political action in the museum or the construction of social and personal identities as a result of gender. We furthermore welcome those papers focused on the responsibility of the museum in response to functional diversity and disability representation to promote culture for all. Similarly, this sub-theme will encompass studies on the moral responsibiliy of the museum in response to social integration issues, to raise awareness of cultural, religious and ideological diversity concerining refugees, migrants and other ethnic groups.

  • The museum as an entity that serves society: the responsibilities of museum centres to promote human values for all people.
  • The social shift of the museum: from the curator’s one-way discourse to the shift from passive to active spectatorship
  • The role of audience studies in the redefinition of exhibition policies: observing, analyzing, consulting and presenting exhibitions taking into account audiences.
  • Challenges for museums in matters of teaching and cultural action. Processes, plans, and strategies for cooperation between museum agents and their 21st century audiences.
  • Museums in contemporary times: reflection on the past, trauma and memory; the construction of social and personal identities as a result of gender and political action in the museum.
  • The museum in response to functional diversity and disability representation: accessibility, universal design and culture for all people
  • The museum in response to social integration issues:cultural, religious and ideological diversity concerning refugees, migrants and other ethnic groups.
  1. public
  2. accessibility
  3. inclusion
  4. social inclusion
  5. memory
  6. gender
  7. migration
  8. diversity
  9. teaching
  10. cultural action
  11. refugees
  12. disability

Sub-theme 5

Museums and universities.

Places in common for research, experimentation and proprietary collections. ​

The museum and the university have acted in many settings as two distinct universes without many points in common. Today, however, the reality that museum and university constitute two entities that need to interrelate and mutually enrich themselves in harmonious collaboration is becoming increasingly prevalent. In light of this, we will admit papers that explain the spaces, actors, functions, programs and activities that both institutions can share.

It in this sense, we envision research that presents university teaching within the framework of degrees and master’s related to museums, as well as different specific programs and didactic activities developed by museums in the context of segments of their collections. It is also worth reflecting on teaching and the training of museum professionals at universities and other advanced study centres, without excluding the delicate topic of access to the curatorial function, on the basis of experience and profesional accomplishments, as well as the problems in relation to training and teaching practices in museums that facilitate new professional curator and educator profiles in museum institutions. We offer a space for proposals that cover the topic of the university as a museum and museum universities, as spaces for collections of artistic, scientific and technological objects, responding both to the diversity of content as well as their models and management avenues.

  • The museum and the university as necessarily interrelated entities capable of mutually benefitial partnerships. Institutional relations, spaces, actors and shared functions.
  • Teaching about museums at university and formal education in the context of the museum.Teaching spaces tied to learning as a group.
  • Training of museum professionals: professional experience, access to curatorial functions and training and teaching practices in museums towards the development of new professional curatoros and educators.
  • The university as a museum and university museums: from the accumulation of objects for scientific and didactic purposes to university museums as recipients of historical heritage and artwork.
  • University heritage for all of society:the museum as a resource for study, conservation, promotion and the dissemination of university art collections.
  • Management of university museums: specific problems regarding conservation, staff training and resource administration.
  1. university
  2. research
  3. experimentation
  4. collaboration
  5. interdisciplinarity
  6. university collections
  7. museum education
  8. curatorial training
  9. specialization
  10. management
  11. administration
  12. functionality

Sub-theme 6

Museums as spaces for inclusive innovation and technology.

Communication, transmedia and virtual reality for all people. ​

Digital and technological development calls for a debate on the horizons and limits of applied technologies to artistic exhibitions and cultural heritage. The new ways in which the past can be shown in the era of digital humanities and the avenues that these open with regards to the transfer of knowledge of the museum to society must be analyzed as engagement vehicles. As a result, it is crucial to study the way in which the museum can benefit from the innovative use of ICTs. In this vein, it is appropriate to discuss the challenges, problems and possibilities of technological, digital and virtual museums, as well as innovative museographic proposals to allow for the participation of audiences through technology and through the exploration of the multensory experience of the user in its appreciation of artwork.

Th use of disruptive technologies in the museum will be subject of analysis in this sub-theme, such as web applications, the mobile museum, geolocation, open digital access of artwork databases, digital open resources or digital cataloguing. Corporations specialized in technological innovation will play an important role in this area, driving  progress in museums by providing them with services, new technologies, and consulting advice. This involves the need to critically reformulate tehcnological innovation in the museum, opening up the opportunity to proposals of museological experimentation that go beyond traditional exhibition designs. It is similarly a necessary task to reveal the museum as a space for universal accessibility and for inclusive museological communication beyond platforms, applications and technological systems. In a parallel fashion, it is worth discussing accessibility and the democratization of knowledge in the museum through communication, social media, open access to artwork and audience engagement.

  • The museum and its innovative relationship with technology in a globalized society. Challenges and possibilities of technological, digital and virtual museums.
  • Innovative proposals to allow for the participation of audiences through technology:multisensory experience and user interaction in art exhibitions.
  • The increased scope of the museum through disruptive technologies.Different applications such as the mobile museum, geolocation, artwork databases, open digital resources or digital cataloguing.
  • Relationships between corporations and museums with regards to technological progress or innovation: adoption of new technologies, service outsourcing and challenges with the financing of cultural policies.
  • A critical analysis of technological innovation in the museum: from spaces of museological experimentaion to traditional exhibition designs.
  • The museum as a space for inclusive cultural communication: museological communication beyond technological systems and platforms. Values, messages and audiences.
  • A well-rounded perspective of museum accessibility. The democratization of knowledge through communication, social mediums, open acess to artwork and audience interaction through ICTs.
  1. digital museums
  2. virtual museums
  3. digital humanities
  4. ICTs
  5. communication
  6. social networks
  7. disruptive technologies
  8. digitization
  9. cataloguing
  10. open access
  11. augmented reality
  12. big data

Sub-theme 7

Accessibility beyond the museum.

Governmental strategies, tourism and universal design.

The universal right to culture is an integral part of the basic principles that governments must guarantee to all citizens. Papers will be accepted in this sub-theme that analyze the varied initiatives and actions put into motion by national and regional bodies to fulfill this basic responsibility.

In the context of this universal accesibility to knowledge and culture, included are governmental actions such as legislation on accesibility, inclusion, culture for all, cultural heritage and its protection and dissemination.

Similarly, we will incorpate pioneering initiatives in inclusive tourism, designed to analyze and evaluate programs, plans and activities by public and private agents with the aim of promoting entertainment for all people and tourism resource management for everyone’s enjoyment, especially including those that have special accessibility needs. We will similarly appreciate contributions on actions designed to promote sustainable development through strategies of well-rounded accessibility and social inclusion in tourism for any type of user. Included, hence, in this sub-theme are those papers that show the different universal product, service and artistic-cultural possessions design strategies, that from their inception to their end product, have as recipients all people, including new architectural and spacial designs to facility accessibility to culture for those who may have a disability or special need.

  • Citizens’ rights to culture in a democratic society.
  • Governmental action:legislation on accessibility, inclusion, cultural heritage and its protection.
  • Public and private programs for inclusive entertainment and touristic resource management for all people.
  • Actions to support sustainable development through accesibility and social inclusion strategies in tourism.
  • Strategies for universal service and product design that from their creation to the end product take into consideration all people.
  • New architectural and spacial designs to facilitate accessibility and address disability and diversity in the context of cultural management.
  1. legislation
  2. protection
  3. public policies
  4. cultural rights
  5. touristic resources
  6. infrastructure
  7. accessibility
  8. universal design
  9. arquitecture
  10. inclusion
  11. sustainable development
  12. social inclusion

Sub-theme 8

Outstanding projects and practices in museology, accessibility or social inclusion.

Presentation in scientific poster format. ​

The poster format will encompass and showcase projects, activities, innovation and development endeavors, as well as degree final projects and master’s final projects about art, heritage and museums for all people. These projects and applied projects will show the activities and new strategic initiatives that reflect upon the problems of bringing the art and heritage dimension closer to all people, especially those that specifically cover a particular entity or collection.

The aim will be to create a global view between all of the proposals that allows for cohesion stemming from geographic diversity (regional versus national foci, small exhibitions in lieu of large museums) , the dynamics of visitors between the city centre and the periphery, as well as the originality of the proposals and pioneering acitivities in the present museographic discourses. It will be thus a space designed to exclusively showcase specific cases that put into practice theoretical matters explored in other sub-themes of the conference.

Submitted papers in this format will be among the recipients of the “MUSACCES Awards for inclusive and innovative proposals on the subject of art and museums.

  • Projects and research papers, educational development and innovation, as well as Doctoral Theses or Degree or Master’s Final Projects, about a topic on museology, accessibility or social inclusion.
  • Studies of cases applied to a specific museographic collection, country or geographic area where a topic from any of the other sub-themes has been highlighted.
  • Pioneering initiatives in museums of art centresthat have explored social inclusion or accesibility.
  • Educational museum programs focused on inclusion, diversity or disability that promote responsible ethical values.
  • Proposals carried out in the business worldto solve challenges of 21st century museums.
  • Institutional projects carried out between various entities or by governmental entities in which the social value of the museum is underscored.
  1. Specific museums
  2. Artistic Project
  3. Research project
  4. Innovation project
  5. Educational project
  6. Doctoral Thesis
  7. Master’s final project
  8. Collections
  9. Best practices
  10. Cultural action
  11. Social inclusion
  12. Region