IMA Annual Conference

2023 Irish Museums Association Annual Conference

Influencing Museums

8-9 September, Derry~Londonderry

  • 2023 Conference Theme

    Museums play a vital role in influencing and informing important public conversations about everything from issues around climate change and sustainability, to the legacy of colonialism and the need to build a more equitable society. By enhancing society’s understanding of the past, they are a catalyst for positive change in the world and - as we see the rise of a global ‘trust deficit’ - their status as a source of reliable information has never been more important.

    However, while museums are committed to sharing knowledge that is accurate and balanced, that does not mean we are neutral when it comes to the big issues facing society. If we are truly committed to values such as inclusivity, sustainability and diversity, then we also have a definite point of view in these debates, even if that may bring us into conflict with some of our key stakeholders. How do we ensure that museums really speak truth to power when they are beholden to external pressures that may drive specific agendas? What happens when significant parts of the communities we serve hold views that are at odds with our values? Despite the complexities museum have to grapple with when playing a more activist role in society, retreating from the public forum is not an option if we wish to live up to the values we aspire to.


    Influencing Museums will look at how our sector brings about positive change by informing, enriching, and leading the important discussions we need to be having at this time of global crisis and uncertainty. It will also consider what we have to share when it comes to amplifying and providing space for voices which have been marginalised or silenced by those in power, and examine how we can set an example by being open and honest in acknowledging and addressing the role museums have played in perpetuating global systems based on exploitation and disenfranchisement. 

    As museums face new and complex challenges, how do we ensure that we are leading, not following?

  • Call for Session Proposals

    We are now inviting proposals for sessions on the 2023 conference theme.

    Deadline receipt of submissions:  Noon, 21 June 2023

    Conference location: Ulster University Magee Campus, Derry~Londonderry

    Conference dates:  8 + 9 September 2023


    The IMA annual conference is the main gathering of the Irish museum sector. It aims to provide a platform for critical dialogue around the role and purpose of museums and inform sectoral agendas, while assisting museums with their thinking and planning as they realise their full potential.

    Successful proposals will respond to the conference theme, Influencing Museums, and offer innovative approaches that will inspire and encourage dynamic and constructive discussions. Proposals may be for 20-minute individual presentations or 50-minute sessions.


    Submission Guidelines

    Please email your submission to by noon, 21 June 2023, with subject line: 2023 IMA Conference Proposal.

    Preferred format: Word Document


    • Title of presentation
    • Presentation abstract (250 words max.)
    • Session format
    • Speaker(s) biography (150 words max.)
    • Contact details (email and telephone number)


    When submitting a session proposal, please indicate clearly in Session format whether it is a panel, interview, interjections, provocations, etc. Sessions should have no more than 5 people including session chair.

    Notification of selection will be within 14 days of the closing date for submissions, following selection by the advisory panel. 

    Selected presentations must be delivered in person. The language of the conference is English.



    Details of previous IMA conferences are available in the side-bar drop-down menu, under Conference archive. 

    For further information or if you wish to discuss your proposal, contact the conference convenor:

    Gina O'Kelly | Irish Museums Association 

    Tel: + 353 (0)1 873 4216  |  Email: