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Synopsis and Concept 

The theme for the International Council of Museum’s (ICOM) 2023 International Museum Day, Museums, Sustainability and Well-being, recognises museums as key contributors to the well-being and sustainable development of our communities. As publicly accessible spaces for education, interaction and socialisation, museums are in unique positions to foster positive change in creating a better society that supports climate action, inclusion and the well-being of society.


The ICOM Resolution on the implementation of Agenda 2030 drafted in 2019 are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and proposes that all museums have a role to play in shaping and creating sustainable futures through programmes and operations. For IMD 2023, the National Heritage Board, ICOM Singapore and the Museum Roundtable will focus on the importance of cultural leadership in steering the museum sector to adopt sustainable business models, support quality cultural heritage education through its collections, and provide positive experiences for the well-being of communities through achieving goals in social and environmental sustainability.


We invite you to be part of these important conversations on the current and potential contributions of museum leaders and museums in fostering positive change towards a society that supports climate action, inclusion and the well-being of its members.  

Registration details

Date: 18 May 2023, Thursday

Time: 9am to 6pm

Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum


As seats at the Asian Civilisations Museum are limited, registration for physical attendance will be prioritised for ICOM members and Museum Roundtable members.


The Symposium proceedings will be livestreamed on the I Love Museum Facebook page and there are no registration fees required; please register for the event via the link or by scanning the QR code below:


Symposium Programme and Speakers List

 Singapore Time (GMT+08)

Symposium Programme

0900 - 0930


0930 - 0935

Welcome and introduction

0935 - 0940

Opening address by Chair of ICOM Singapore and Chief Executive Officer of National Heritage Board

0940 - 0945

Opening remarks by Emma Nardi, President, ICOM

0945 - 0955

Keynote speech

0955 - 1005

Morning break

1005 - 1140

Roundtable Discussion: The Relevance of Cultural Leadership

This session will focus on how leadership in the cultural sector can steer society to achieve the objectives outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically on developing a more economically and environmentally sustainable museum sector, and a society that offers quality museum services and education to locals and tourists.

Speakers at this session will share perspectives from their organisations and experiences, and address questions on the future of work in museums.


· Tommy Koh, Former Chair, National Heritage Board

· Carol Ann Scott, Chair, Academic and Programming Board, ICOM-IMREC (International Museum Research and Exchange Centre)

· Thien Kwee Eng, Chief Executive Officer, Sentosa Development Corporation

· Mathew Trinca, Director, National Museum of Australia


Yeo Kirk Siang, Senior Director, Heritage Policy and National Heritage Board Singapore


1145 - 1300

Lunch break

1300 - 1430

Panel 1: Social Sustainability through Museum Programmes

Social sustainability is the acknowledgement that well-being, health, education and quality of life are key to strengthening social cohesion and promoting a more connected community that is concerned about the health of its current and future generations. As safe community spaces that encourages open discussions and quality education, this panel will discuss how museums leverage on their content and programmes and use history, traditions and contemporary culture to promote social sustainability.


Cathy Losson, Head of the Education, Democratisation and Accessibility Department, The Louvre Museum

Joseph Sullivan, Director, The Cartoon Museum

Tim McHenry, Deputy Executive Director, The Rubin Museum of Art


Emma Lee, Manager (Programmes, Education), the ArtScience Museum


1430 - 1600

Panel 2: Business Sustainability in Museums

Corporate sustainability is important for museums operating amidst the volatility of the economic conditions impacted by war, pandemics, and imminent global challenges. With ICOM’s new museum definition suggesting that museums are “not-for-profit, permanent institution(s)”, this panel will discuss the corporate decisions, alternatives and viability of business models adopted by museums globally, and how each museum envisions and works towards its long-term sustainability.


· Hao Liang, Associate Professor of Finance, Singapore Management University

· Betty Fung, Chief Executive Officer, West Kowloon Cultural District

· Maribel Garcia, Managing Director, Bonifacio Art Foundation and The Mind Museum


Jason Ong, Director, Partnerships Development, National Gallery Singapore

1600 - 1620

Afternoon break

1620 - 1750

Panel 3: Sustainable Collecting Strategies

The maintenance of museum collections is resource intensive, be it the storage and conservation facilities used to store them, and/or the human and monetary resources required to preserve them. Thus, it is important for museums to design collecting strategies with careful considerations of the social, environment and business sustainability of the institutions it serves. Exploring topics in storage solutions, contemporary collecting strategies, and visible storage for public education, this panel will focus on concepts on sustainability discussed in the previous panels and consider the impact museums have on the future in the way they build their collections.


Christel Pesme, Head Conservator, Heritage Conservation Centre Singapore

Craig Middleton, Senior Curator, National Museum of Australia

Lisa Catherine Heinis, Curator of Education, Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen


Bruno Brulon Soares, Co-chair, ICOM Museum Define

1750 - 1800

End of programme


For more information about the panels, you may download the programme booklet on the day of the event (18th May 2023). 


About IMD Singapore Symposium

IMD Singapore Symposium is a signature event organised by ICOM Singapore in collaboration with NHB and the Museum Roundtable to encourage thought leadership and the sharing of best practices amongst museum professionals.


About ICOM Singapore


The ICOM Singapore National Committee represents all ICOM members in Singapore. Presently chaired by Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive Officer of NHB, ICOM Singapore is supported by a secretariat at the NHB and works closely with the Museum Roundtable.


About the Museum Roundtable


The Museum Roundtable is a collective established by NHB in 1996 to promote a museum-going culture amongst Singaporeans and to position museums as unique cultural destinations. The members comprise over 60 public and private museums and heritage galleries covering the subjects of national history, culture and community, art, defence, lifestyle and collectibles, healthcare, science and innovation. Together, members collaborate on exhibitions, festivals and programmes, share best practices, and focus on building and raising the capabilities of members.


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