ASEMUS Executive Meeting, 2002

At the 3rd EXCO meeting, members discussed the issue of membership and were updated on by the work of the various committees on: ‘Scattered Collections’ and ‘Lost Heritage’; ‘Conservation’; Travelling Exhibitions’ and Virtual Collection of Masterpieces’.

Minutes ASEMUS 3rd Executive Committee Meeting

Shanghai, October 19th 2002

Participants: Chulamanee Chartsuwan, Chong Phil Choe, Steven Engelsman, Uchida Hiroyasu, Kenson Kwok, Stéphane Martin, Thommy Svensson (chair), Chen Xiejun and Karl Magnusson (secr.)

Regrets: Corazon Alvina, Juan I. Vidarte and John Mack.


1. Previous meeting

The minutes from the previous meeting in Leiden were taken to the records.

2. Ex. Com. issues

a) The new Director for ASEF’s Cultural Exchange, Ms Chulamanee Chartsuwan, introduced herself to the Ex. Com. Apart from a short personal presentation, she underlined that ASEF is co-organiser to each event in ASEMUS conference/workshop series. This means that there shall be close and continuous exchange between the local organisers and the ASEF office.

b) The ASEF Governor of the Philippines has suggested that Ms Corazon Alvina replaces Fr. Gabriel Casals in the Ex. Com. The decision was taken to follow the recommendation. Fr. Casals contribution to the development pf ASEMUS is highly appreciated. The Chairman will send a letter of thanks to Fr. Casals on behalf of the Ex. Com. Fr. Casals will also be invited to the ASEMUS conference in Singapore 2004.

c) The chairman of the Ex. Com., Thommy Svensson, has recently given up his position as Director General of the National Museums of World Culture (NMWC) in Sweden. This brought forward the question if he should continue as chairman and what to do with the representation for NMWC. The Ex. Com. expressed the wish that Thommy Svensson remains as chair and that a letter is to be sent to the Swedish Minister of Culture with the request to enable him to continue (letter enclosed to the minutes). Furthermore, the new Director General of NMWC, Ms Eva Gesang-Karlström, is invited to be a member of the ASEMUS Ex. Com. The invitation to be done by the Chairman.

3. Membership issues

a) The number of participating museums/institutions in ASEMUS is at present 66 – the list is available at the website – A discussion was held about what status ‘membership’ in ASEMUs carries. It was concluded that the open and mutual character of ASEMUS is probably better captured by the concept of ‘partner’ than ‘membership’. The term partner is thus to be used for participating institutions during the first phase up to Singapore 2004.

b) Different projects between partners within the network, which are in line with the basic policies of ASEMUS but do not directly link to the five working groups set up in Leiden in April 2002, can be given ‘ASEMUS patronage’ in the form of official moral support.

c) The question of partnership for institutions outside the 25 ASEM countries is to be brought up during the concluding discussions in Singapore 2004 where formal statutes of ASEMUS are to be set up.

4. Follow up Leiden conference

The report has been delayed, but is soon to be published on the website as well as in a printed version. The printed version shall have the same graphical outline as the report from Foresta, Stockholm.

5-6 Working groups and conference series

a) Working groups on ‘Scattered Collections’ and ‘Lost Heritage’

 Originally, the workshop of working groups 1-2 was planned to take place in Copenhagen, autumn 2002. Due to financial difficulties, the Copenhagen host has withdrawn. The museum of Ethnography in Antwerp, Belgium, has declared itself willing to take over the arrangement and managed to raise the matching funding needed. The Chairman will send a letter of gratitude signed by him and, preferably, Ambassador Colomé of ASEF. An organising committee, consisting of among others the ‘chairs’ from the respective sessions in Leiden, is to be formed as soon as possible. Apart from deciding on the exact contents, the committee must immediatle set the dates for the meeting. Hitherto, working group 1 and 2 has not been working as actively as hoped. There is a need to stimulate the groups to get going. From the ASEMUS Ex. Com., Chong Pil Choe and Karl Magnusson will act as resource persons.

b) Working group on ‘Conservation’

 The working group has provided the Ex.Com. with a detailed proposal to organise a three-week workshop on different conservation techniques in Kuala Lumpur in April 2003 (enclosed to the minutes). The Ex. Com. approved of the proposal. The group should go ahead with the work. From the Ex. Com., Kenson Kwok will continue to act as resource person.

c) Working groups on ‘Travelling Exhibition’ and ‘Virtual Exhibition of Masterpieces’

 The working group on the ‘Travelling Exhibition’ provided the meeting with a draft proposal with ‘portraiture’ as the leading theme (enclosed to the minutes). The Ex. Com decided to approve of this. Karl Magnusson will inform the group. The working group on the Virtual Exhibition has done a lot of practical work by selecting the ‘masterpieces’, but need input on the technical side of the project. Steven Engelsman promised to get the webhosting facilities done by the staff at the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden.. Both working groups will convene at the workshop in Shanghai in September 2003. Chen Xiejun and Stephané Martin, who are the hosts of the conference, are resource persons from the Ex. Com.

d) The concluding conference in Singapore

The wrap-up conference is planned to take place in April 2004. At present the local organiser investigates the financial side. Steven Engelsman will contribute with the practical experiences from the Leiden conference.

7. ASEMUS website

The website has been operating for one and a half year. During the last months, the new input has been nil. Although the report from the Leiden conference is soon to be published on the site, there is a need to expand the contents and keep the site more updated. One idea is to create chatting rooms for each of the five working groups. This shall be open for the partners in ASEMUS and facilitate input of ideas to the groups. In addition, Karl Magnusson and Marie Le Sourd of ASEF will send out a questionnaire to the partners to investigate what kind of contents that is wanted on

8. Vuseum Eurasia

An extensive proposal for the creation of a virtual museum (Vuseum) has been developed by Thommy Svensson, Steven Engelsman, Kenson Kwok and John Perkins of the CIMI Consortium (enclosed to the minutes). There was a consensus at the meeting that Vuseum captures the needs for the second, post-2004 stage of the ASEMUS process. Three main issues remain to be solved:

1. How to secure the sustainability of the project, including estimates of the financial needs?

2. How will the Vuseum be managed and administered?

3. What kind of relationship will there be between ASEMUS and Vuseum?

In addition, the connection between the anticipated results from working groups 1-5, the present ASEMUS website and the Vuseum has to be elaborated. A meeting that will target these issues is scheduled to be held December 9-10 on invitation of Ambassador Colomé in conjunction with his European tour. It was decided that Thommy Svensson, Steven Engelsman, Kenson Kwok and Stéphane Martin should take part.

9. Next meeting

Next Ex. Com. meeting is scheduled to March 3rd 2003 in Singapore (two days after the opening of the Asian Civilisations Museum).

Karl Magnusson

Secretary of ASEMUS 

Gothenburg 2002-10-28

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