ASEMUS Executive Meeting, 2001

This was the first ASEMUS Executive committee held with the generous support from the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). The meeting discussed the mode of operation for the Exco committee and there were discussion on the series of five conferences or workshops to be held between 2002-2004.

Minutes below:

ASEMUS Executive Committee Meeting

Singapore, October 16th 2001

The meeting was convened and generously supported by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). It assembled the enlarged ASEMUS Executive Committee. New members are: Director Chen Xiejun, the Shanghai Museum, Director General Hayashida Hideki, the National Science Museum in Tokyo, Senior Keeper John Mack, British Museum and Director Stephané Martin, the Museum of Quai Branly in Paris and Director Juan A.Vidarte, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The enlargement of the committee means that the ASEMUS-network turns into a new phase. Since its foundation in Stockholm, fall 2000, there has been a rapid development. As a result of the meeting in Seoul, generously hosted by the Korea Museum Association in March 2001, the foundation was laid for a request for funding from ASEF. This was approved with a grant of app. S$ 500.000 to guarantee a series of five conferences/workshops to be held in 2002-2004 and the setting up of an ASEMUS website. The network and its activities were launched for the international museum community at the ICOM-conference in Barcelona in July 2001. In order to reinforce this background and to further secure the sustainability of ASEMUS the decision has been made to enlarge the Executive Committee.


Participants: Gabriel Casal, Chong Phil Choe, Steven Engelsman, Hayashida Hideki, Kenson Kwok, Stéphane Martin, Cai Rongsheng, Thommy Svensson (chair), Chen Xiejun, Marie Le Sourd and Karl Magnusson (secr.)

Regrets: Juan I. Vidarte and John Mack.

1. The Executive Committee – Mandate and Modes of Operation

The ASEMUS Executive Committee consists of:

Thommy Svensson, Director General of the National Museums of World Culture, Gothenburg (Sweden) (chair)

Gabriel Casal, Director of the National Museum in Manila (the Philippines)

Chong Phil Choe, Director of the University Museum, Sejong University, Seoul (Korea)

Steven Engelsman, Director General of the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden (the Netherlands)

Kenson Kwok, Director of the Asian Civilisations Museum, (Singapore)

John Mack, Senior Keeper, British Museum, London, (Great Britain)

Stephane Martin, Director of Museé du Quai Branly, Paris, (France)

Cai Rongsheng, Director, Cultural Exchange, ASEF (Asia-Europe Foundation)

Chen Xiejun, Director, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, (China)

Hayashida Hideki, Director General, National Science Museum, Tokyo, (Japan)

Juan I.Vidarte, Director General, The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, (Spain).

Thommy Svensson will chair the up to the ICOM-meeting in Seoul 2004. During the same period, the Swedish Museums of World Culture will host the secretariat.

The task of the Executive Committee is to plan and monitor the activities of ASEMUS. In this work, the committee will act as an adviser to organisers of different projects and investigator and promotor of the prospects for further sources of funding for the network. ASEMUS is by no means a competing institution in relation to ICOM. However, the network is more operational in its approach towards cooperation and different projects are focused to deliver concrete results.

There is a general need for increasing the dialogue between museums and surrounding communities and in the future it will be necessary for ASEMUS to find means to engage the civil society in its activities.

Each ASEMUS project must have a specific budget. In relation to ASEF there is a system of matching funding provided by the local organisers.

2. Membership

The secretariat has the mandate and responsibility to register new members. These must acknowledge the ICOM code of ethics and be willing to open up registers and collections for the use of others. For the time being they must come from ASEM countries.1 The same applies in relation to the conferences where financial means granted by ASEF may only be used by members from ASEM-countries. However, the approach to these matters shall be practical e.g people from countries and institutions outside ASEM may be invited as ‘special guests’ or ‘observers’, financed by the share provided by the local organiser.

3. Aims and Logistics for the conferences

The aim of the conference series is to lay the foundation for increased cooperation among museums that have collections of the Asia-Europe cultural heritage. By sharing competence and information, a practical delivery will be the mutual development of different exhibitions. By sharing data-bases on the collections it will also be possible to counter theft, looting and illicite trade of cultural heritage objects.

4. The Leiden conference

Museums as market place

April 10-14th 2002, National Museum of Ethnology Leiden (NME), ASEF, National Museum of the Philippines and the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden. The scope and set-up of the conference is as defined in the ASEMUS flyer. A majority of the chairs are confirmed:

Workshop 1, Scattered collections of Asian minorities, J. Capenberghs and F. Baker

Local organiser: drs. Pieter ter Keurs, Curator Indonesian collections, NME Leiden

Workshop 2, Photocollections, E. Waehle and P. Jarenporn

Local organiser: dr. Nandana Chutiwongs, Curator Asia Collections, NME Leiden

1 ASEM consists of: Austria, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, Viet Nam and the European Commission.

Workshop 3, Preserving the heritage, G. Scott and Lo Heng Noi

Local organiser, Graeme Scott MSC, Head of collections, NME Leiden

Workshop 4, Travelling exhibition, B. Durrans and (?)

Local organiser: drs. Ken Vos, Curator Japan/Korea at NME Leiden

Workshop 5, 2500 masterpieces, S. Martin and X. Chen

Local organiser: dr. Willem Fermont, Head of Curatorial Dep. NME Leiden

(Lo Heng Noi to be confirmed)


Invitation of chairs, Oct. 1st 2001 (Leiden organisers)

Invitation of speakers, Dec. 1st 2001 (Chairs and Leiden org.)

Invitation of participants, Jan 1st 2002 (Leiden org.)

Definitive invitation and programme, March 2002, (ASEF and Director at NME Leiden)

Please note:

The local organisers need input from the Executive Committee on potential participants. At the meeting a longlist compiled from all suggestions up to Oct. 16th was handed out. In addition S. Martin suggested two French participants and H. Hideki will suggest choice of Japanese participants.

5. The following conferences

All the venues and prime organisers have now been confirmed:

Sharing Collections

Copenhagen – September 2002, National Museum of Denmark, ASEF, ???

Taking care of the shared cultural heritage

Kuala Lumpur – spring 2003, National Museum of Malaysia, ASEF, Swedish Museums of World Culture, Sweden.

Presenting the shared cultural heritage to the public

Shanghai – fall 2003, Shanghai Museum, ASEF, Quai Branly

Managing the shared cultural heritage

Singapore – spring 2004, Museum of Asian Civilisations, ASEF, British Museum?

All the themes for the different conferences will be discussed in Leiden by separate working groups. The aim is to create a core of people on each topic who will be partly responsible, together with the local organisers, for the intellectual content at each particular conference.

6. The website –

The website is operated by the ASEMUS secretariat and the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, the Netherlands which has the server. The general principle is that all information shall be cleared by the secretariat before being published by the staff in Leiden. As the website will include links to all museums within ASEMUS, the secretariat needs to be provided with those as soon as possible.

7. Marketing ASEMUS

Henceforth information about ASEMUS will be distributed through the website, the IIAS-newsletter (quarterly) and ASEF-channels. Additional suggestions are welcomed.

8. Funding situation

Different prospects were discussed. For specific projects the Getty Foundation as well as EU funding are possible resources.

9. ASEMUS as instrument for launching dot-museum in Asia

The dot -museum top-domain on Internet is presently being set up. The project is being set up, by among others, ICOM, the Getty Foundation and Swedish museums. ASEMUS has been asked to be a part of launching the dot-museum in Asia. To do this financial means must be provided.

 10. Next meeting

Next meeting with the Executive Committee will be on the 10th of April, immediately before the Leiden conference. There will be a welcoome dinner hosted by NME Leiden for ASEMUS Exco members on Tuesday 9th of April at 7pm. Material and communication will henceforth be distributed by e-mail and fax.

Karl Magnusson

Secretary of ASEMUS

Gothenburg 2001-12-05

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