Museum 2050 Annual Symposium & Workshops Cultural Alliances: The Imperatives and Challenges of Collaboration

2020.12.05 -2020.12.06

MUSEUM 2050 x HEM 


DECEMBER 5-6, 2020


Museum 2050’s third annual symposium, which will take place from December 5 – 6, 2020 at He Art Museum (HEM) in Shunde, Guangdong will be comprised of a one-day conference, and a second day of workshops providing professional training to museum staff across China. For this third iteration, the platform looks to explore the concept of collaboration, both in its proliferation in recent partnerships amongst museums, particularly in China, and as a centerpiece of creative production. We wish to ask the fundamental question: why collaborate? What is the purpose of these cultural alliances? Whether they are between distinct institutions, artists, professionals, spaces or disciplines, what is gained when we collaborate? What is lost? How can we best foster collaboration? This year, Museum 2050 seeks to broaden the discussion beyond the realm of the Chinese context in order to investigate why museums make the decision to go beyond their walls to forge partnerships, both with other actors in the arts and those in other fields.

The morning and afternoon sessions of the symposium will each kick off with a keynote speech. The morning session will be introduced by artist Daniel Arsham, who will consider the nature of collaboration in 3020. Addressing the afternoon session will be Nikita Yingqian Cai, Chief Curator at Guangdong Times Museum, who will consider how Times Museum is restructuring in response to polarized, post-pandemic realities and how engaging in re-rerouting the geo-infosphere might create networks of understanding and collaboration.

Papers will be presented by speakers of a range of backgrounds and this year’s sessions explore the concept of collaboration in all its manifestations. Brendan Ciecko, Founder and CEO at Cuseum, will consider how partnerships with tech companies can help bring about a dynamic wave of experimentation and innovation to the cultural sector, while artist and research collective ZZYW will present a case on 

computational simulation as a means of collaboration. The Director Emeritus of Clark Art Institute, Michael Conforti, will argue for the common stewardship of our collective cultural heritage through long-term institutional partnerships, while independent curator and writer Sissi Tang will review the Multicultural policy that has impacted the development of the arts in China's Greater Bay Area. 

The symposium will also feature two contributors from China Residencies: Kira Simon-Kennedy, Co-Founder and Director and 2019 Residency Knowledge Fellow Xiaoyao Xu, who will focus on best practices for working with artists and practitioners from other regions and how to build towards long-lasting support structures and sustainable long-term relationships. The day’s session will close with papers by Programme Curator (Exhibitions) at Camden Arts Centre Sophie J. Williamson who will present on collaborations with geology and through deep-time, and a presentation by Executive Director of the Chronus Art Center Bi Xin who will rethink the rich tradition of interdisciplinary and experimental symbiosis between art, science and technology.

Cultural Alliances: The Imperatives and Challenges of Collaboration will also feature remarks by Museum 2050 co-founders, Leigh Tanner and Nicole Ching, as well as Shao Shu, Executive Director of He Art Museum. The conference will also be live streamed for audiences who are not able to attend onsite and builds on last year’s summit at Chengdu’s Zhi Art Museum, where over 27,000 people tuned in to watch the day’s proceedings.

On December 6th, Museum 2050 will host a series of workshops. Recognizing the need for better development opportunities across a burgeoning industry, Museum 2050 will be providing professional sessions to staff of affiliated Museum 2050 institutions across a range of subjects from public art conceptualization and production to publishing and institution-building. Workshop leaders will include Ole Bouman, Founding Director of Design Society; Huang Wenlong, Assistant Curator at Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum; and Dane Currey, Principal, UAP, and Chu Menger, Senior Curator at UAP. These workshops will also be co-hosted simultaneously via live-link with Para Site Hong Kong, who will host an in-person event for participants in HK who are unable to travel to Shunde for the occasion.

Museum 2050’s third symposium is hosted by He Art Museum and is supported by partnerships with Para Site Hong Kong, Jing Culture and Commerce, Design Society, UAP and Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum.

If you would like to join us, please register for the symposium via or the workshops via

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