How Global? An international conference exploring new directions in public collecting

23 Jun 2016 – 24 Jun 2016

Event times

18.00 - 21.00 (23 June)
10.00 - 18.00 (24 June)

Cost of entry

£30 / £20 concessions

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Featuring a launch and keynote by Gerardo Mosquera on 23 June at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, and a full day conference on 24 June at Arnolfini, How Global? accompanies the final leg of exhibition 'Art from Elsewhere'.


How Global?

23– 24 June 2016

Launch and Keynote by Gerardo Mosquera: Thursday 23 June, 6-9pm, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Conference: Friday 24 June, 10am – 6pm, Arnolfini

Arnolfini, in collaboration with Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, presents an international conference to investigate new directions in collecting international art by public museums.

How Global? will focus on critical, practical and theoretical engagement with institutional approaches to contemporary collecting, highlighting non-western voices and perspectives. 

What does ‘elsewhere’ mean to both artists and museums? Who gets to decide what a public art collection is, or should be? How do artists antagonise and shape institutional collecting? How do we use museums and other public art spaces? Who collects and why?

Driven by the necessity of addressing critical challenges around globalisation in relation to art, and responding to the Art Fund International scheme when five UK museums were awarded £4M to develop international contemporary art collections from 2007-2012, this conference will explore the key ideas, approaches and positions informing the shape of public collections and institutions not only in the UK but in other continents and contexts.

Through presentations, performances and case studies, international experts, museum directors and scholars will join artists and curators – some speaking to UK audiences for the first time – to provide insight into the conceptual and practical challenges related to collecting today and the complex relationship between museums and strategies of decolonisation.

Questions and provocations include: How is public art collecting learning about and responding to changing audiences? What constitutes a responsible ‘global museum’? What is the evidence of post-colonial awareness in Museum policies? How do public art collections reflect on the distinctions, and confusions, between global and local?

These will also provide a context and conceptual framework to reflect on some of the themes in Arnolfini and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s current exhibition Art from Elsewhere, such as migration, capital and consumerism, and the question of whether post-colonial experience is in fact neo-colonial.

The event will consider how a diverse spectrum of artistic practice and artists can be supported by public museum collections, particularly in relation to art produced outside of the western canon, and what public museums are able to offer that growing numbers of private museums cannot.

The conference will open at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on the evening of Thursday 23 June with a special keynote lecture by Gerardo Mosquera, one of Latin America’s most prominent art curators and writers, addressing the challenges facing museums and public collections coping with the increasing internationalisation of the production and circulation of art.

Other speakers include:

Élise Atangana, Paris-based curator and producer; Kate Brindley, CEO/Director, Arnolfini; David Elliott, writer and curator of Art from Elsewhere; Vasif Kortun, Director of Research and Programs at SALT, Istanbul; Ruth Noack, curator and art historian based in Vienna and Jarosław Suchan, Director of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, with more participants  to be confirmed shortly.

Tickets are £30 / £25 concession, with a limited number of Early Bird tickets available at £20 until 3rd June 2016.  Book via this link:

How Global? is generously supported by the Art Fund, to coincide with the presentation of Art from Elsewhere at Arnolfini and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Art from Elsewhere is a Hayward Touring exhibition supported by the Art Fund, showcasing a selection of major international works recently collected by museums throughout the UK with over £4m of support from the Art Fund.

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David Elliott

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