CFP: Presumption to Responsibility. Museums and contested history. Saying the unspeakable in museums (Brno, 22-25 November 2017)

Each year, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) chooses a theme for the International Museum Day. The theme for 2017 is “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums”, which inspired two events in Ljubljana and Mexico City that we already shared with you (see the blogpost here) as well as the following conference to take place in Brno, Czech Republic:


Once selected, items included in museum collections themselves suggest they are account of our ability to objectively document our history. Exhibitions or numerous publications show if and how we are able to interpret events the particular society does not necessarily take pride in, or would preferably erase it from its history, including physical artefacts.

Among the most popular exhibitions held in museums are those that chart accounts about the times a visitor could either experience alone or through the members of their family (parents or grandparents) therefore arousing personal feelings. What is the ability of museums to show live / experienced history like?

The forthcoming conference is expected to focus on interpretative attitudes of today’s museum professionals to those periods of history that are broadly perceived negatively or “rather negatively” or controversially by the public for whatever reason.


The organisers are inviting the following submissions:

  • Research papers (20-minute talk on recent research or theoretical issues)
  • Short talks (5-minute talk, explanation of a certain problem)

Every lecture or talk will be followed by discussion (10 minutes).

Day 3 will be closed by panel discussion.

All papers will be reviewed by the expert panel of ICOM Czechia, ICOM Slovakia, ICOM Austria and host partners.



June 30, 2017: Submission deadline

July 2017: Acceptance notification


All information on the conference, including the full CFP and the registration form, are available on the website of the ICOM National Committee of the Czech Republic.

Enquiries may be sent to


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