Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion
In 1977, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) designated 18 May as the annual International Museum Day (IMD) to raise public awareness of the important role that museums play in society. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department has been responding to this important appeal since 2001 by organising IMD events in mid-May every year.
The theme of IMD 2020 is "Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion 2020". The potential of museums to create meaningful experiences for peoples of all origins and backgrounds is central to their social value. As agents of change and trusted institutions, there is no time like the present for museums to demonstrate their relevance by engaging constructively in the political, social, and cultural realities of modern society.
The challenges of inclusion and diversity and the difficulty of navigating complex social issues in increasingly polarised environments, while not unique to museums and cultural institutions, are important ones, due to the high regard in which museums are held by society.
An increasing public expectation for social change has catalysed a conversation around museums' potential for social good in the form of exhibitions, conferences, performances, education programmes, and initiatives created. However, there remains much to do to overcome conscious and subconscious power dynamics that can create disparities within museums, and between museums and their visitors.
These disparities can relate to many topics, including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identity, socioeconomic background, education level, physical ability, political affiliation and religious beliefs.
With the theme "Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion", International Museum Day 2020 aims at becoming a rallying point to both celebrate the diversity of perspectives that make up the communities and personnel of museums, and champion tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what they display and the stories they tell.
This year, International Museum Day in Hong Kong is scheduled for 16-17 May 2020 (Saturday and Sunday), and over those two days, visitors will be admitted free (except for special exhibitions and programmes with an admission fee) to LCSD museums, as well as most of the other participating venues, where a wide range of public programmes will be held. Come and be inspired!