NEMO’s European Museum Conference 2022: Innovation begins within – Resilient museums in times of disruption took place from 9-11 October 2022 in Loulé, Portugal. Close to 200 people from 40 countries joined to explore how museums can be more innovative, agile and flexible in a fast-changing and challenging world.

The conference unfolded a detailed analysis of the museum sector’s varying capacity to respond to crises – be it war, the pandemic, the energy crisis, social injustice or climate change. To encourage museums to adopt innovation as a structural component of their operations and become more resilient and futureproof, the conference celebrated creative skills that already exist within the sector and drew inspiration from outside the sector to find new approaches, perspectives and ideas.

In addition to offering interesting panels, engaging workshops and networking opportunities, we had the great pleasure to celebrate the 30th anniversary of NEMO with our members and the European Museum community. Since 1992, NEMO has supported and acted as the voice of museums across Europe, and we look forward to many more to come.

The discussions about innovative museums often circled back to staying relevant in a changing society and contributing to a better world. Some key recommendations include:

Do one more thing

Without the extra effort, we will continue in our old ways forever without generating any change. Privileged people and organisations with large networks, influence and/ or resources need to do more for everyone.

Do one thing less

Cut something that is not working – maybe the context has changed, technology has developed etc. Take regular stock on your list of “actions” and cut things that hinder you from the truly important work.

Let's normalise failure

Failing can lead to innovation and should be seen as a learning process. Rather than ignoring or criticizing failures, embrace them as a powerful energy source for growth and improvement.

Secure to accept risk

Innovation happens when we leave our comfort zone, but to leave a comfort zone, you need to be in one. Therefore, secure employment mixed with an entrepreneurial mindset become essential for risk taking and innovation.

Ask why, not what

Organisations are often too occupied with what they are doing instead of why they are doing it. Change is a threat to what you are doing, but if you focus more on the why, it is easier to create a context that promotes change.

We stand with Ukraine

Vasyl Rozhko from the Heritage Rescue Emergency Initiative (HERI) delivered a video message from Ukraine about the important work being done to protect cultural heritage from the war. NEMO has supported HERI from the start and we want to highlight this video and the appeal for continued support.
Learn more and donate to HERI

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