Annual Conference

The Irish Museums Association (IMA) annual conference is being held at the RDS Dublin on 10 and 11 May 2018, under the title Collecting the 'Now'. Please note these are rescheduled dates.

The IMA's annual spring conference is the main conference of the year in the Irish museum sector, giving museum professionals, academics, and practitioners from the wider cultural landscape the opportunity to meet and exchange views. A themed event, the 2018 conference is part of a two-year programme exploring contemporary collecting in museums.

The IMA would like to thank RDS Library and Archive, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Heritage Council for their support.

CLICK HERE to visit the dedicated conference website.


This conference will explore how museum can collect for the future and represent the 'now', and whether we have the objectivity to identify and select the items which will define our society for future generations.

We live in a period of unparalleled human consumption making the decision about what to preserve from our lives - and what to discard - increasingly difficult. Ironically, despite the unprecedented material abundance of our age, significant aspects of contemporary life are happening in a virtual world which most museums are still struggling to document and record.

While museums seek to remain relevant, for many, their collections and collecting practices remain rooted in the past. Museums see themselves as egalitarian and democratic institutions, but this is not always reflected in their collections and the way they collect.

How can museums ensure that the collections capture contemporary cultural changes and shifting perspectives, moving on in some cases from the collected object? Are there new, conceptual, collaborative and participatory ways to collect which will produce more imaginative and diverse museum collections and exhibitions for the future?


Click here to view the conference programme. Abstracts are available through the below links and on the dedicated conference website.


Speakers are invited and/or selected through an open call for papers issued each August.

Finbarr Whooley, Director of Content, Museum of London
Kassandra O'Connell, Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive
Owain Rhys, Community Engagement and Participation Manager, National Museum Wales
Corinna Gardner, Senior Curator of Design and Digital, Victoria and Albert Museum.
Eamonn Maxwell, Curator and Cultural Consultant, and Collection Adviser, Arts Council of Ireland
Ele von Monschaw, Easel Paintings Conservator-Restorer, National Gallery of Ireland
Johanne Mullan, Collections Programmer, Irish Museum of Modern Art
Dr. Audrey Whitty, Keeper of the Art and Industrial Division (Decorative Arts, Design and History), National Museum of Ireland
Brenda Malone, historian and museum professional, National Museum of Ireland
Hannah Crowdy, Head of Curatorial, National Museums Northern Ireland
Charles Duggan, Heritage Officer, Dublin City Council
Dr Linda King, Lecturer in Design and Visual Culture, Faculty of Film, Art and Creative Technologies, The Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) Dún Laoghaire
Daniel Breen, Acting Curator, Cork Public Museum
Briony Widdis, PhD Candidate : 'Engaging the Past' Research Group, Ulster University
Joanna Finegan, Assistant Keeper of Digital Collections, National Library of Ireland
Dr Karen Logan, Project Curator, National Museums Northern Ireland

Short biographies are available for speakers  presenting on Thursday 10 May and Friday 11 May 2018.

Click here to access the conference abstracts.


Click here for table of rates and to view payment options.

Click here to download a booking form and email back to the IMA.

Click here to complete an online booking form via google forms, click here for general website form.

Invoices can be requested if booking through an institution, please indicate purchase order number on the booking form.


The Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge are offering a discounted rate for delegates. To make a booking, please visit and.use the promo code RDS15 to avail of a 10% discount on their 'best available room only' rate.

Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge
Merrion Road, Ballsbridge
Dublin 4, DO4 P3C3
Tlf: +353 1 668 1111.

There is a wide range of additional accommodation options in Ballsbridge, Sandymount, Donnybrook, Ranelagh and the city centre, all within a short walking distance of the RDS.


The conference is being held at the Minerva Suite, to the left of the main entrance to the RDS, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin. The RDS is approximately 25 mins walk from O'Connell bridge.

Click here to download the RDS access guide.

By air:
The nearest airport is Dublin Airport,
located approximately 10km north of Dublin City Centre. There are public transport links to/from the airport by bus and taxi.
Taxis are readily available for hire outside the airport (no need to prebook) and a journey to the citycentre costs approximately €25.
The RDS is serviced by Aircoach (Private airport bus) which brings you directly to and from Dublin Airport. Aircoach route 702 stops on the Merrion Road in front of the
conference venue.

By bus:
Bus Eireann run regular services to Dublin.
Dublin Bus is Dublin’s local bus service and the RDS is serviced by several bus routes. The direct Dublin Bus routes to the RDS (Ballsbridge area) from Dublin city centre include 4, 7
and 7a. Also, the 18 and 27x bus routes.

By train:
For information on national train timetables and ticketing information visit the Iarnrod Eireann website. The national network serve Heuston and Connolly Stations.
The nearest local light train/tram stop is Sandymount stop (5 mins walk), served by the DART from the city centre.

By car:
Daily parking is available to event visitors at a rate of €7.00 per day, subject to availability.

For further information, please contact:

Gina O'Kelly | Irish Museums Association |11 Parnell Square East, Dublin D01 ND60
Tel: + 353 (0)1 412 0939 Mobile: + 353 (0)87 279 0518
Website: Email: