Museum professionals in Rio


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A reception was held for the Norwegian ICOM delegation on August 14, 2013.

A delegation of about 30 Norwegians is currently in Rio for the General Conference of the International Council of Museums, ICOM, and on August 14, the Norwegian Embassy hosted a reception at the Marriott Hotel in Rio de Janeiro for the delegation and for the Norwegian community in Rio de Janeiro.

“Brazil has a very rich culture, and it is only natural that a conference like this takes place here. Brazil is probably most known for its music and for football, but this country has a great variety of cultural expressions that both embrace and enrich each other”, Mrs. Sissel Hodne Steen, the charges d’affaires at the Norwegian Embassy in Brasilia, said in her welcoming speech Wednesday night.

Consul at the Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. André Mundal, was also present, as was Helle Moen, director of Innovation Norway in Rio de Janeiro, Paulo Rolim, president of the NBCC and Johnny Håberg, director of the Seafood Council in Rio de Janeiro.

Leif Pareli is the president of the Norwegian National Committee of ICOM.

“We appreciate the chance to meet Norwegians who live here in Rio de Janeiro. Meeting new people is probably of greater importance than participating at lectures and meetings during the conference. Many of us are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or even South America for the first time, and we are looking forward to expand our knowledge of the country. We are here to find inspiration and make new experiences. It is an overwhelming city, with overwhelming traffic, a colorful human life and spectacular nature. We have a lot to learn, but even though Norway is a small country, we might have something to teach as well”, Mr. Pareli says. He works as a curator at The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Norsk Folkemuseum, in Oslo, with a special focus on the Norwegian Sami minority and an overall responsibility for the Sami collection at the museum. Coming to Brazil, a country with hundreds of different indigenous people, is therefore something he defines as especially interesting.

He is aware of the ongoing conflict between authorities and Brazilian indigenous people on the destiny of a former museum close to Maracanã.

Leif Pareli and Sissel Hodne Steen.Leif Pareli and Sissel Hodne Steen.“It is certainly interesting, and at Norsk Folkemuseum, we recently reached an agreement with the Sami Parliament, that half of the Sami collection will be returned to Sami museums. This is a project other countries could use as inspiration”, Mr. Pareli says.


Social change
The international Council of Museums (ICOM) is an organization created in 1946 by and for museum professionals. The network currently has close to 30,000 members, and every three years, ICOM’s General Conference gathers the international museum community on a theme chosen by museum professionals. Both museum professionals and representatives from institutions like The Arts Council Norway (Norsk Kulturråd) and Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (Institutt for kulturminneforskning) take part in the Norwegian delegation.

The theme of ICOM Rio 2013 is Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change. Several keynote speeches, workshops, collaborative sessions and visits will address this theme and allow participants to examine this equation, which gathers concepts that are essential to defining what a museum is today.

“ICOM is discussing the museum sector in the 21st century. You will see that Brazil is creativity, and values and rewards creativity. Social change is the theme for this years General Conference, and the museum sector might inspire social change. Brazil is a fertile soil for a such an approach”, Sissel Hodne Steen says.


By Runa Hestmann Tierno, NBCC journalist