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Calls For Papers

Defining Institutions: Proposals for Museums of the Future

Type: Calls For Papers [View all]
Posted by: Museum 2050
Deadline: Sun, January 20th, 2019

For Museum 2050’s 2nd annual symposium, the platform seeks to be a forum for suggestions about what institutions in China could be and how they could engage with artists. The rapidly expanding institutional landscape in China allows for the unique opportunity to redefine museums’ missions in a context often free of expectations about what an institution should be and how it relates to audiences. We ask artists, curators, arts professionals and the public: what do you want from a museum? What should a museum be and what could or should a museum’s relationship to locally-based artists be? What are historical examples of how museums have addressed their relationship to artists and how might these be applied in Greater China? Should we seek to replicate museum formats or replace them with new forms entirely?


Recent years have witnessed a dramatic and much-documented “museum boom” in China, with the number of private museums having tripled from 277 in 2009 to 841 by 2017, with this number ever growing. China-based platform Museum 2050 was initiated in 2017 to consider the cultural and social impacts this exponential growth will have by mid-century and how this growth will affect audiences and ideas about existing museum frameworks. Additionally, the platform has a distinct focus on being a resource for young people from all over China, many of whom largely work and inhabit these institutions, as well as providing a place to converse, share ideas and create a vibrant museum community.


Located at the foot of Chengdu’s Laojun Mountain in southwestern China with a focus on modern and contemporary art, ZHI ART MUSEUM’s serene architecture brings to life the beauty and tranquility of Zen. An iconic work by renowned Japanese master architect, Kengo Kuma, the museum embodies the Eastern philosophy of “Learning from Nature.” The museum itself was founded in 2016 and its architectural features are based on the core concepts of: Universality, Insight, and Innovation. ZHI ART MUSEUM’s inaugural show Open curated by Zhang Ga initiated the institution’s exhibition program in April of 2018 with works by Zhang Peili, Wang Gongxing, Mariko Mori and Carsten Nicolai, among others. In September of 2018, the museum presented a retrospective of the late 20th century artist Luis Chan.


This year’s Museum 2050 symposium will not only include an academic forum and career development workshops, but also a cultural deep dive into Chengdu, with its unique creative and historical context. Traditionally home to people from diverse backgrounds, the city is known for its welcoming embrace of new ideas, talents and cultural forms as well as for its world-renowned artists and art schools. This year participants will gain unique insights into how cultural development has been evolving in the Western region of China through museums visits, studio visits and cultural tours to heritage sites. This holistic view of Sichuan will not only bring people from all over the world together to ruminate on the future of museums under the dongfang aesthetic framework in which ZHI is situated, but also will coincide with this year’s edition of Art Chengdu, one of China’s newest and most exciting art fairs.


The Organizing Committee of Museum 2050 is calling for abstract submissions on the theme “Defining Institutions: Proposals for Museums of the Future.” Our second annual conference will be held in Chengdu, China, on the 28th of April, 2019. We will accept mostly paper presentations, but also a limited number of presentations delivered through other media, such as films, music, and performance art. We invite innovative research on a wide variety of topics that address the intersection of fields including but not restricted to: Anthropology, Sociology and Cultural Studies, Architecture and Design, Art and Visual Culture, Education, History, Literature, Media Studies, and Museology.

Application file:

All proposals should include a paper or presentation title and an abstract of 250 words in PDF format and may be submitted in either English or Chinese.

To apply, please send all proposals directly via email to by January 20th, 2019.

Selected applications will be contacted by February 15th, 2019.

Limited travel stipends are available based on merit. If you wish to be considered for a travel stipend, please include an additional 300-word statement on how participating in the symposium would contribute to your professional development.

For inquiries, please do not hesitate to email us at For more information head to our website at


Posted on Wed, December 19th, 2018
Expires on Sun, January 20th, 2019

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