Upcoming NEMO Conference on the (monetary) Value of Museums

This year’s conference of the Network of European Museum Organisations NEMO will take place in Germany for the first time for over ten years. On November 10 – 12, the Baden State Museum in Karlsruhe will welcome international experts, museum leaders, staff and organisations to exchange about best practices and new approaches on „Money Matters: The Economic Value of Museums”. 

Most museum professionals would agree to the statement that “money matters” while thinking on the growing number of tasks and funding applications museums have to deal with. But the economic value of museums involves more than maximizing the market value or increasing the self-financing and effectiveness of arts and cultural heritage. Of course, like NEMO director David Vuillaume emphasizes, the budget cuts, which many  European museums struggle with, affect their structures, programme and activities. Besides new funding opportunities, he identifies a lot of different approaches for museums to face these challenges: „new kinds of cooperation with different stakeholders, new funding opportunities, new formats for different audiences and not the least: new ways of demonstrating and measuring the impact and value that museums have on different sectors and for society.” 

That’s why museums have to develop a new self-understanding as well as a new self-confidence that comprises their artistic, educational and economic potential. With discussing aspects like new forms of cooperation, job creation, cultural tourism, or the attractiveness and development of cities and regions, the programme of the NEMO’s annual conference shows how this might work. „With this year’s conference, we want to help museums to be pro-active in this development, presenting and discussing some of Europe’s finest examples of great and sustainable business models for museums on the one hand, and learning about great cases that demonstrate powerful spill-over effects that museums have on other sectors on the other”, describes Vuillaume. 

Thus, the conference is not about the often-discredited marketization of museums, but wants „to inspire the museum as a sector to act together and to achieve a strong and shared perspective on the museum’s economic value for society.“ Especially the panels on international business models, and work experiences, or innovative cooperation and co-creation formats may shed light on new perspectives, while the working groups and workshops offer the opportunity to discuss the different aspects of “The Economic Value of Museums” in depth: management topics such as the learning museum, cooperation with the creative industries or intellectual property rights are part of the working group agenda, just like the issue of museum and migration. In the workshops, participants are then provided with information about EU funding opportunities, project pitches to private investors or crowdfunding. 

With this year’s conference, NEMO wants to show new approaches on institutional structures and professional communication to foster a proactive, positive and strong European museum landscape. „We believe that acting together as a museum sector is of utmost importance in challenging times for museums where budgets are shrinking while the demands are growing to operate as social agents”, states Vuillaume. „The growing interest in international exchange and collaboration shows that museums are aware of the need to cooperate to successfully position themselves in the future. Within a network, just like NEMO, we facilitate this exchange and cooperation on various issues, we help to develop the museums’ educational, social and economic role in society based on their strongest asset – the collections.” 

Karlsruhe, the conference venue, thus shows that museums can be of economic and societal importance not only in the big cities: “Karlsruhe is one of Germany’s economically most interesting regions, with the creative sectors boosting different market sectors. Karlsruhe’s museums are actively involved in this development, having built different forms of cooperation with the creative and tourism sector, and delivering environments for creative entrepreneurship.

Registration for this year’s NEMO annual conference „Money Matters: The Economic Value of Museums“ is open until November 4th. Participation is free for NEMO members. For museum professionals and other representatives from the museum and culture sector in Europe the conference fee is 150 €. Members of organisations that are NEMO members receive a 20% discount. Participation fee for students is 75 €. All fees include conference material, excursions, workshops and evening programs. 

Further information on program and registration can be found on the NEMO website 

Management Topic: Financing & Sponsorship
Cultural Area: Museum+Visual Arts
Submitted by editor-in-chief on Sep 26, 2016