8 March 2021



Working Internationally Conference

Leading cultural consultancy, Barker Langham, has joined forces with the International Council of Museums UK (ICOM UK) to curate a series of panels for the 2021 Working Internationally Conference. Titled Shifting Landscapes, Shifting Perspectives, this online conference takes place over three days (16–18 March) and will explore and debate some of the most significant global issues affecting the cultural industry: social justice, sustainability and the future of museums.


ICOM UK and Barker Langham share a common goal to open up discussion on museums, their future and their evolution. Both organisations want to throw a spotlight on the projects and people behind the scenes that are making change in the world.


Barker Langham’s global team works with museums, institutions and cultural organisations across the world. This international outlook shapes every aspect of their work and their focus on identifying different perspectives, fresh ideas and best practice has been the genesis of the sessions that they have developed for the Working Internationally Conference.


Eric Langham, Founder, Barker Langham 

“It’s a real privilege for us to contribute to this conference and to offer our perspective on the museum world as it continues to shift and evolve. What is especially fascinating is that although we acknowledge that no single country, region or even museum faces an identical set of challenges, or behaves in the same way, the three topics that we focus on – social justice, futures and sustainability – are topics that define humanity.”


Each day of the conference will focus on a major global issue: 

Social Justice: Museum responses to decolonisation, restitution, Black Lives Matter, representation and youth on Tuesday 16 March

Museums and Sustainability: Challenges of working in and responding to a changing climate on Wednesday 17 March

The Future of Museums: Where are we now, and where do we go from here? on Thursday 18 March


Barker Langham Curated Sessions


The Barker Langham curated sessions will examine the complexity of the debates around each of these topics. The films aim to curate a toolbox of ideas and experiences that conference delegates can use to inform and shape their own thinking.


Eric Langham, Founder, Barker Langham

“It is our aspiration to make the films conversational so they work in dialogue with the conference participants but also allow us to draw on the wealth of ideas already out there in the world – creating a bigger conversation.”


The three hour-long sessions, each based around an audio-visual think-piece, feature a diverse group of speakers. A live Q&A will be held during each session as part of the chat function on the conference platform.


Day 1: Wednesday 16 March – Social Justice 

14:00 – 15:00 Barker Langham Curated Session – Just Outcomes 

In the context of a sustained move to decolonise museums, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the growth of a global debate about economic inequality, social justice has become a hot topic for museums.

Subhadra Das (UCL), Clara Paillard (Public and Commercial Services Union), Deborah Tulani Salahu-Din (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Matt and Jess Turtle (Museum of Homelessness) and Anne Wetsi Mpoma (independent curator, Brussels) tackle some of the toughest questions facing our profession, from re-centering the stories we tell, to changing pay and hiring policies, to empowering visitors to transform their communities.



Day 2: Tuesday 17 March – Museums and Sustainability

14:00 – 15:00 Barker Langham Curated Session – Testaments from the Age of Humans 

Every object can tell a story of humanity’s impact on our planet and every museum has the power to be a voice for climate action. In this session, Barker Langham will take the audience on a virtual journey across the world’s museums and cultural landmarks, showcasing captivating and unexpected stories that shed new light on the way we think about our places, collections and institutions in the context of the global environmental crisis.

This international tour will take in institutions including the District Six Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Museum of Qatar and many more. At each museum, we will hear stories of environmental change and people’s evolving relationship with, and effect on, the world.  


Day 3: Thursday 18 March – The Future of Museums 

This day will be introduced and chaired by Eric Langham

14:00 – 15:00 Barker Langham Curated Session – Responsive Futures

Through political turmoil, public health crises, economic downturns and seismic shifts in global culture, museums have to adapt to survive and remain relevant. Today, many are using rapid-response collecting as a proactive tool to build archives that speak to who we are now. 


Sharing inspiring stories of the ways in which museums have responded to disruption, this film will examine the act of collecting in times of strife. With insights from Foteini Aravani (Museum of London), Dr Aaron Bryant (Museum of African American History and Culture), Anna Burckhardt (Museum of Modern Art) and Suzy Hakimian (Museum of Minerals and Chair of ICOM Lebanon), it will ask how museums are navigating ever-changing landscapes, and shed light on why and for whom they collect.


Further Information

The 2021 Working Internationally Conference, organised by ICOM UK in partnership with NMDC, with support from the British Council and curatorial support from Barker Langham, takes place online from 16–18 March 2021.  

The conference is free of charge for ICOM UK and NMDC members. For booking, and the full programme of speakers and events, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-working-internationally-conference-registration-136012148999?aff=erelexpmlt

About Barker Langham

The Barker Langham team includes museum and culture professionals living and working across Europe, China, Africa, the Middle East and North America. Together, they are one of the world’s leading cultural consultancies, creating pioneering and sustainable projects for museums, historical sites, governments and charities. They have successfully delivered over 250 projects, from community oral history initiatives to international mega-museums. Barker Langham’s interdisciplinary team works collaboratively across curation, strategy, interpretation, business planning, audience development, research and recruitment, and approaches every project with the same enthusiasm for seeking out and telling compelling stories and for creating memorable and meaningful experiences. They are expert advisors and mentors for the UK Heritage Fund, the European Union, the Museums Association and UNESCO.




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