Martin Roth Symposium – MuseumFutures

Kicking off the re:publica weekly topics will be the "Martin Roth Symposium—MuseumFutures" from September 7 to 11, 2020. Organised in cooperation with re:publica and funded by the Federal Foreign Office, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) will host the second "Martin Roth Symposium", which honours one of Germany's most famous and innovative museum directors and cultural policy makers. The symposium will take place as a digital-analogue week-long event online and at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. True to the motto "MuseumFutures" international thought leaders from culture, science, art and politics will discuss the current situation of museums, their challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. 
Museums offer public spaces for encounters between people and ideas. Hardly any other institution is so strongly influenced and challenged by social and cultural change. As a place of remembrance, the museum is on the one hand part of a great tradition but on the other hand it must react to the rapidly changing expectations of the public in order to be a place of the future. If cultural products belong to the whole of humankind, how might the museums of the future be built as spaces of polyphonic and critical dialogues under globalised conditions? How might museums serve cultural democracy for all, while challenged by increasing anti-liberal tensions worldwide? And is it even possible to see the museum in a radically democratic light, as many artists and curators are demanding today?
Among the speakers who will discuss critical questions like these are David Adjaye (United Kingdom), Inés de Castro (Argentina), David Chipperfield (United Kingdom), Bice Curiger (Switzerland), Hartmut Dorgerloh (Germany), Elvira Espejo (Bolivia), Pi Li (Hong Kong), Małgorzata Ludwisiak (Poland), Benita von Maltzahn (Germany), Robin Reardon (USA), Kavita Singh (India), Philip Tinari (China), Johannes Vogel (Germany) and Marie Cecile Zinsou (Benin). Moderation by Katie Gallus.
Day I: Museums and Futures
Monday, September 7, 2020, 5 – 8pm
The first day presents a global perspective on the future of the museum as a space of democracy. In short Sprints the speakers will provide regional insights in museum leadership in different cultural and political contexts, a historical view on the role of museums and raise awareness for the current technological challenges that the museum world is facing. Following the Sprints, Deep Dives offer the opportunity for Q&A sessions with the speakers.
Day II: Museums and Power

Tuesday, September 8, 2020, 5 – 8pm       
How inclusive are museums today and how political should they be? To what extent is the mission of museums and their independence as research institutions influenced by authoritarian governments and ideologies? And how can the younger generation be addressed? On the second day, the role of public and private museums in society will be discussed and it will be examined which stakeholders need to be taken into account when managing a museum in the 21st century.
Day III: Museums and Entertainment
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Culture and pleasure are closely linked—so why not enjoy yourself in a museum? How can the social space of the institution and the exhibition spaces of the museum be filled with life? Is enjoyment part of what museums must offer to the public? This day focuses on the influence of pleasure on museum design, reality and virtuality, and the connection between art, science and entertainment.
Day IV: Museums and Architecture

Thursday, September 10, 2020, 5 – 8pm  
It is now commonplace to see museums as public spaces, but who do they belong to and how? What are the conditions and modes of access that best serve collections and encourage dialogue between objects and people? What possibilities of presentation are open to archived, fragile or controversial cultural assets? Our speakers will share their ideas on the nature of space in our current museums with an eye on both the past and the future.
Day V: Museums and Failure
Friday, September 11, 2020, 5 – 8pm   
This day sees the "best possible failure" not as a contradiction in terms, but as a necessity. It acknowledges the value of failure for museum self-reflection and innovation. What does failure mean within the museum sector? In a "culture" that prefers success stories, where can a space be found to talk about failures and rethink wrong decisions? How do we take responsibility for our mistakes? And what conditions and values do museums need for a productive learning process, for open exchange and for a dynamic self-reflective culture?

Interactive Werkstatt at Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
On September 11, 2020, the last day of the "MuseumFutures" theme week, the digital programme will be complemented with an interactive Werkstatt day (workshop day) from 1:30-8pm. Participation in the workshops is only possible after prior registration:

More about the Werkstatt
About Martin Roth Symposium
The symposium honours and commemorates the legacy of one of Germany’s most innovative museum directors and cultural policy makers: Martin Roth. Following its first issue in 2018, “What can culture do?”, the Martin Roth Symposium aims to biennially bring together thought leaders from the cultural, academic, artistic and political sectors to share ideas and future scenarios close to Roth’s own innovative convictions.