Call for participation - NEMO conference “Can we talk? Museums facing polarisation”

© Image: Panu Salonen

© Image: Panu Salonen

Contribute to the 2024 NEMO European Museum Conference “Can we talk? Museums facing polarisation”, which seeks to address the vital role museums (can) play in today’s challenged democracies. NEMO invites you to shape the conference by submitting a proposal for the programme by 19 June 2024.

Until registration opens in June, NEMO is building the programme that will bring together fascinating speakers and engaged participants to exchange on museum trends, opportunities and challenges. NEMO welcomes contributions to the conference until 19 June. Join us for inspiring panel discussions and keynote speeches, networking with European colleagues, museum visits and much more.

NEMO's European Museum Conference 2024, taking place from 10-12 November in Sibiu, Romania, will explore the power museums have to face polarisation: Which possibilities do museums have to navigate controversies and foster dialogue and debate? How can museums better respond when caught in the crosshairs of sociopolitical debate? Additionally, the conference will discuss how to build strong relationships with underrepresented groups and foster their representation. Finally, we will bring to light the growing political pressure that museums worldwide are grappling with; inviting and analysing possible (re)actions as models for prevention.

Be part of inspiring the participants with examples from European museums and successful strategies from other sectors when we reflect on our museums’ operations and the options we have – including effective community engagement, governance models, and conflict management strategies.

Call for participation

Explore the three areas of the open call below. Deadline: 19 June 2024.

  • SLAM - Navigating controversies

    The Slam format brings together different perspectives in short time. Each presenter can share their vision, approach, experience in 5 minutes on the stage by using entertaining, participative or learning formats around the following topic:

    How to deal with sensitive topics while facing backlash or controversy? How can museums respond when caught in the crosshairs of sociopolitical debate?

    We are searching for professionals that will talk openly about how they navigated controversies, about their ad hoc reactions or strategies, failures and lessons learnt.

  • Workshops

    Our workshop programme has a practical/participatory approach and should offer our participants a concrete takeaway from the conference. The topics can vary. Relevant examples are listed below:  

    • Democratising the museum (diversity management, change management methods with focus on awareness (theory u) etc.)
    • Anti-bias training
    • Conflict management strategies (mediation, moderation for cultural organisations),
    • Feel free to propose a workshop that you think would be relevant for our conference topic.
  • Conference

    The NEMO European Conference programme includes all formats taking place on our stage: from short panel presentations to interactive formats with the audience, each in the time frame of 5-8 Minutes. You can apply with a contribution relevant to the following topics:

    1. Are we allowed to talk? Museums and political influence
      We want to address the experience of museums operating within growing political influence. Which strategies can cultural institutions such as museums use to deal with or even counteract political interference?
    2. Feel free to propose a topic that you think would be relevant for our conference.


Application process

Please submit the following information:

  • Abstract of the presentation (subject, content, approach – max. 150 words)
  • Approach, method of your workshop or contribution (max. 150 words)
  • Name of the author
  • Organisation and country
  • Selection of your preferred conference area
  • Title of your contribution
  • Biography of each presenter (max. 100 words)
  • Send your proposal to, with “Call for participation” and the area you apply for in the subject line

Please note that once you have submitted your proposal, it enters the internal curation process. We will inform you of the status of your submission from 1st July onwards.

In the selection process we will consider the quality of content as well as diversity criteria since we want to provide space for different perspectives and reflect diversity. We also aim to include perspectives from diverse regions, gender, professional backgrounds, age groups, sexual orientations and disabilities.

For us, this is what makes a good submissions:
  • Relevant, forward-thinking, problem-solving, opinionated: your submission should be convincing and include a well-thought-out concept. Our conference participants and the programme team wish for content that deals with the challenges of todays’ societies, where we can learn something, be confronted with new perspectives and solutions, and be inspired.
  • We want content - not pitches! Obvious advertising and marketing pitches will not be considered. This does not mean that our participants are not interested in the latest museum products and services. In case you would like to showcase your products or if you would like to find out more about the opportunities for your company or organisation to become a partner, please reach out to  with the subject line “Become a partner”.