At the dawn of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the country had just 25 museums, a number that remained relatively unchanged until the breakneck urbanization that grew out of the economic reforms of the late 1970s. Today, China boasts more than 5000 museums with culture-centric government initiatives and ambitious private collectors spurring a museum building frenzy.
Constructing thousands of new museums across the full spectrum of Chinese cities has raised questions of social utility, cultural responsibility, and ecological sustainability, issues Museum 2050, a China-based platform, was explicitly established to confront.
Since 2017, Museum 2050 has held an annual symposium at a different institution to explore a pertinent question facing China’s cultural landscape. This year centers on cultural collaborations, a timely theme given the new and urgent ways that museums and cultural organizations are working together in the wake of COVID-19. The venue? He Art Museum, which became the first museum in Shunde, Guangdong, when it opened in October (though, those unable to attend in person can tune into the livestream — as 27,000 did last year).
“Cultural Alliances: The Imperatives and Challenges of Collaboration” will run Dec 5 to 6 and is composed of a one-day conference followed by a day of professional workshops all geared towards contemporary cultural questions.
The symposium will begin with a keynote speech by artist Daniel Arsham — what will be the nature of cultural collaborations in the year 3020? — followed by an address on post-pandemic collaborations from Guangdong Times Museums’ Chief Curator, and a consideration of the advantages of working with tech companies from the Founder of Cuseum, among many others.
Workshops will focus on themes such as public art creation, publishing, and institution development and be led by the Founding Director of the Design Society, a Curator at Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum, and at a design team from Urban Art Projects (UAP). Workshops will be co-hosted by live-link between the He Art Museum and Para Site Hong Kong.