All salient reports on the future of museums point towards the spectacular: audiences, forced out of physical institutions by COVID-19, have grown accustomed to increasingly virtual relationships with the archives they know and love, allowing them to experience a level of detail, intimacy, and insider intel unprecedented in exhibition history.
With the rise of virtual reality, technological partnerships, and pre-virus pop-up events, the stakes have never been higher for cultural venues — piquing the interest of a viewership defined by entertainment glut is a far from simple task, after all, and the stodgy models of yesteryear won’t cut it. This “edutainment” angle is particularly urgent in the realm of curation — online disinformation and endless scrolling require streamlined in-person antidotes. While institutions revamp their outreach strategies in preparation for a reopened world, the traveling exhibition, a well-worn concept that has proven wildly popular with contemporary audiences, boasts quite the track record of visitor interactivity and calculated anticipation-building.
But, in a fast-involving industry flush with moving parts, what to do about all the logistics? Enter Teo, a French-based global touring exhibitions platform founded in 2019 by Manon Delaury and Fabian Niel.
Teo is an open platform that supports a variety of stakeholders and participants in the traveling exhibitions industry, helping cultural venues all over the world find partners, information, and oversight while offering international visibility to a growing network of specialist suppliers. Teo’s initiative includes museums, galleries, libraries, and science centers, not to mention vast numbers of collaborative opportunities for individual contractors and institutions alike. It fosters community, hinging its success on a directory of exhibitions available for hire, and a journal dedicated to open calls, job postings, industry best practices, and member profiles.
“Teo facilitates the search for new content and new partners for international venues seeking new experiences for their audiences,” says Delaury, founder and CEO. Members of the Teo community have produced such blockbuster projects as Imagine Picasso, Golden Mummies of Egypt, and AI: More than Human.
On March 25, Teo will launch Teo Live, a new online event open to all professionals involved in the hosting and touring of cultural exhibitions. Designed to support the touring exhibitions community at large, Teo Live will feature a keynote session dedicated to presenting the findings of Culture Connect’s inaugural Cultural Dialogue Survey, a report developed in collaboration with Teo that highlights the future of touring exhibitions. Post-COVID, these findings are an important piece of the puzzle for museum professionals looking to better comprehend the current cultural landscape. Speakers include Anais Aguerre, Managing Director of Culture Connect, a cultural sector consultancy, and Otone Doi, Culture Connect’s research and operations manager.
A marketplace of more than 20 exhibition presentations will also be featured, followed by “meet up opportunities” with producers in individual virtual meeting rooms. Names include producers like Contemporanea Progetti, Mobiles Musik Museum, and iMUCHA productions. Registration is now open; the event kicks off at 3 pm CET. This type of event underscores Teo’s commitment to community, aiding the platform in its goal of “stirring creativity and collaborations in the traveling experiences world,” says Delaury.