ASEMUS Executive Meeting, 2004

The meeting discussed two papers distributed by Stephane Martin and Steven Engelsman on the organisational links between ASEF and ASEMUS and the possible strategies to expand the ASEMUS network.

Minutes below:

Minutes ASEMUS 7th Executive Committee Meeting

Seoul, Korea, October 4th 2004

Participants: Brian Durrans, Chulamanee Chartsuwan, Chong Phil Choe, Corazon Alvina (vice-chair), Eva Gesang-Karlström, Steven Engelsman (chair), Stéphane Martin, Karl Magnusson (secr.) and Vernetta Belarmino.

Regrets: Chen Xiejun, Kenson Kwok and Uchida Hiroyasu. Heidi Tan represented Kenson Kwok during the meeting.

1. Previous meeting

Minutes from previous meeting in Singapore adopted.

 2. ExCom. issues

One week before the ExCom meeting, the secretariat was informed that Uchida Hiroyasu has decided to retire from his position as an ExCom member. The International Cultural Exchange Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan is at present investigating a possible successor to Mr. Uchida. The ExCom decided to await their suggestion.

Juan Vidarte from the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, has been unable to attend the ExCom meetings due to other assignments. Therefore he has agreed to leave as member of ASEMUS ExCom. The Chairman will contact possible candidates in order to find a successor.

 3. ASEMUS membership

A list of the current members in ASEMUS is published on the website In order to extend the network we will at first aim for cultural historical museums with Asian collections in the new ASEM countries. Some of those museums were invited through e-mail to the ASEMUS activities in Seoul but did not attend. In conjunction with next ASEMUS conference they will be invited again.

4. Status of the 8 ASEMUS projects

Museum outreach and public activities

The Silpakorn University in Thailand and the Chester Beatty Library in Ireland coordinates the group. Partial funding has been supplied by ASEF and the Business Plan has been endorsed by the ASEMUS ExCom. A call for applications to the exchange program will be announced in the beginning of January 2005.

The Travelling Exhibition

The project is proceeding and has received partial funding from ASEF. The coordinators will present a business plan by mid-October.

The Virtual Exhibition

Although it has received initial funding from ASEF, the implementation of the Virtual Exhibition has come to a halt due to unexpected technical problems. Therefore, the ExCom decided to reconsider the present design of the project and different ways to proceed were discussed. The first step will probably be to organize a small expert group meeting, consisting of curators, IT experts and IT companies, to re-discuss the feasibility of the project. This meeting will take place in the first half of 2005. As a result of this meeting, a realistic solution on the continuation of a Virtual Exhibition project must be at hand. Steven Engelsman and Stephane Martin agreed to follow up this.

Unearthing Philippines Past

According to Corazon Alvina the project is under way, although it has gone slower than expected due to heavy workload in Hamburg and Manila. They are prepared to sign the certificate that regulates the relationship between ASEMUS as such and the different projects.


The different parties in the group are trying to pool resources in order to proceed with the project. A major asset is the fact that the ACM in Singapore has decided to create a Peranakan museum in the old building on Armenian Street. At present a curator is on way to the Museum of Ethnology in Leiden to carry out research on the Peranakan collections in that museum. The project coordinators will sign the certificate when the curator returns from Leiden and the feasibility of the project is confirmed.


According to Steven Engelsman the project will proceed with support from the participating institutions. It’s a relatively small-scale project that rather soon will produce concrete results.


The project was a result of the meeting in Antwerp where ongoing activities at the National Museum of Denmark were matched with similar thoughts at the museum in Leiden. Since the project has not received any financial support it seems for the moment that the Danish part of the project will proceed along the lines already established and the link towards Leiden and the stakeholders in Indonesia will be weaker.


The three weeks workshop organised in Kuala Lumpur was a great success. The format, design and cooperation partners (ICCROM) suited the objectives very well. For ASEMUS as a museum network, focusing on the sharing of collections and the knowledge about them, conservation and preservation techniques must be exchanged continuously. Still, the project has not yet received any funding and different ways to proceed are investigated.

5. ASEMUS activities 2004-2006

Two so-called “non-papers” were distributed before the meeting as point of departure for the discussion. The first one is written by Stephane Martin and emphasise the organisational link between ASEF-ASEMUS while the other, by Steven Engelsman, tries to outline possible activities for ASEMUS in the coming years as well as different strategies to expand the network. In addition the ExCom was informed that ASEMUS is mentioned as the “grand” example of cooperation in the cultural sector in the general declaration of the ASEM 5 meeting on “Dialogue Among Cultures and Civilisations”. Although a very encouraging assessment of ASEMUS phase one, this judgement also bring to the fore responsibilities for the network (ExCom) to evaluate the first four years process and use lessons learnt to improve the work in the future. A number of points were made in the following discussion:

– There is still a strong need for meetings between museums in Asia and Europe that are operational in character.

– In the future there will be two kinds of meetings within ASEMUS. The first category will be used to evaluate ongoing projects and develop new ones. The second kind will be larger, thematic, conferences on topics that has emanated from problems or general findings in the work of different projects. The latter meetings will also be used to invite possible new members to ASEMUS

– In order to strengthen the sustainability of the network it was (again) stressed that membership in ASEMUS must be institutional.

– There is a need to develop some kind of evaluation process before new projects are endorsed to “qualify” as ASEMUS projects.

– The prime strategy for enlargement of ASEMUS will be to concentrate on similar museums as now i.e. cultural historical museum with Asian collections, in the new member states of the ASEM-process.

– A small “expert” meeting will be organised early 2005 in order to investigate possible ways to proceed with the Virtual Exhibition

– In order to keep the momentum of enlargement the aim is to organise one large ASEMUS meeting early 2006. A relevant theme would be “Museums and Education” and possible venues are either Bangkok or Dublin.

– A basic outline for ASEMUS activities in the following years may be as follows:

a) Large meetings once every two years.

b) Programme committee together with ExCom in 2005 and 2007

c) Expert meetings when need arises e.g. the one on Virtual exhibition.

– To establish the program for the following years definitely and to prepare the large conference 2006, there is a need for some kind of program committee meeting in April/May 2005.

– The financial arrangements are considered by ASEF at present

6. ICOM-Conference Seoul

The different ASEMUS activities at ICOM were discussed and planned (see appendix 1&2)

7. Next ExCom meeting

Next ExCom meeting will take place in conjunction with the program committee meeting in April/May 2005 tbc.

Karl Magnusson

Secretary of ASEMUS

Gothenburg 2004-10-18

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