Welcome at IC Ethics!

IC Ethics Meeting Room

Who gets to decide in the end? Sponsors and museum professionalism

25 August 2020, 12-13.30 EST / 18-19.30 CEST

Museums often depend on the cooperation with private sponsors when in need of more money to fulfill working tasks in the way they wish to. In many countries, financially strong companies are willing to help with generous financial contributions, and private investors may give or lend parts of their collections. However, major ethical challenges can arise, when this transfer of resources is linked to certain demands on how the museum has to use the money or objects. This can jeopardize the high level of professional and institutional integrity as well as autonomy of museums as stated in Principle 1.10 of ICOM Code of Ethics. Challenges can also arise when a sponsor’s reputation is called into question. Is there anything a museum can do to protect itself from this kind of controversy?

Moderator: Dr. Kathrin Pabst, Chair of IC Ethics
Introduction: Prof. Dr. Sally Yerkovich, Chair of ETHCOM

Sally Yerkovich is the Director of Educational Exchange and Special Projects at the American-Scandinavian Foundation and a Professor in the Museum Anthropology Master’s Degree Program at Columbia University. Prior to joining ASF she held leadership positions in museums and other cultural organizations for over 20 years. She is the Chair of ICOM’s standing committee on Ethics, ETHCOM, and also chair of the Standards and Ethics Committee for the American Association of State and Local History. She is the author of A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics.

Please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvcuispzksEtAOYPb53EFaFtw47KQE3COq

More information about the IC Ethics Meeting Room series, following and previous events as well as the recordings of the introductions >> on this page.

IC Ethics Virtual Colloquium

Ethical Challenges of Contemporary Collecting During a Pandemic

11 or 12 November 2020

How can museums work ethically and responsibly with their communities during the pandemic? How have museums been collecting and adapting their practices to respect the dignity of the groups they engage with? These are some of the important questions we want to discuss during our half-day virtual colloquium. 

More details coming soon.

to the President, Executive Board, and General Director of ICOM, 22 June 2020

Yesterday, it became public that Suay Aksoy has resigned as president of ICOM.
Her resignation, together with many others, came sudden and unexpected, and at a critical time for ICOM due to the coronavirus crisis and ongoing discussions about the new museum definition.

We are aware that different versions of what has happened, are circulating in
different fora, and regard this as potentially damaging for our ICOM community.

In light of the situation at hand, IC Ethics hereby demands full transparency in the working processes that led to the sudden resignation of the former president.

This includes the immediate release of

  • the minutes of all meetings of the Executive Board for the years 2019 and
  • the recordings of meetings from the same period of time which are not
    signed by all board members,
  • Suay Aksoy´s Letter of Resignation,
  • the minutes of all procedures behind the election of the new president and
    the disposition in the statutes that regulated the election.

IC Ethics is supportive of ICOMs recent work advancing transparency, inclusion, diversity, democracy and sustainability, and we encourage all ICOM members and the leadership to continue and strengthen the work.

In the name of the Board Members of IC Ethics,
Kathrin Pabst, Chair of IC Ethics

About IC Ethics

As dedicated museum professionals and ICOM members, we see the need for a broad and open debate about ethical dilemmas. With the new importance of museums as societal actors, ethical dilemmas are among the most relevant working fields. We believe that IC Ethics will be an essential and important addition to the International Committees of ICOM.

As an International Committee, it will be an open forum on ethical dilemmas for all museum professionals, a forum for reflection, discussion and sharing, thereby helping museum professionals to make more informed choices.

IC Ethics has been officially founded in Kyoto/Japan on Tuesday, 4th of September 2019, after being approved by the ICOMs Executive Board in July 2019. The initiators have received 171 Letters of Support from 38 different countries and four continents. In addition, five National Committees have supported the initiative with written statements.

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