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?

  • IMA Funders and Conference Supporters

    The Irish Museums Association gratefully acknowledges the core funding provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Art, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and The Heritage Council. 

    The 2023 Annual Conference is additionally supported by Ulster University. We also wish to acknowledge the support of the Tower Museum and our advisory group of museum and higher education professionals. For 2023, we particularly thank the contributions made by Professor Elizabeth Crooke; Brian Crowley; Dr Johnathan Dalzell; Dr Gillian O'Brien; Dr Danielle O'Donovan; and Professor Olwen Purdue.

  • Health and Covid-19

    There are currently no Covid-19 regulations in place, however we encourage you to show solidarity with others and get tested before attending the conference if you are showing any symptoms. Please be mindful of other people's wishes about maintaining distance or physical contact.

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