IMD2020: Museums for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ICOM’s theme for International Museum Day (18 May 2020) is “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion.”

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford (Director, V&A East in London, UK) was one of several globally influential leaders within the museum sector invited to contribute a Think Piece to mark IMD2020, which is available to read in full via the following link: htps://

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of V&A East, London. Image source and credit: Photo courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

In his thought-provoking statement, Gus rightly concludes:

“[D]espite profound global change and progress over the last three decades, we continue to face many of the same challenges that our parents faced, we must re-fight the same institutional battles, re-tread the same legislative paths… then equally diligently police the areas of micro-slippage and compromise. We must push on where possible, push back where necessary, and recognise that though we make progress, this will be a long, possibly ceaseless journey.”

Gus Casely-Hayford OBE, PhD – Director, V&A East, London, UK

Several other scholars and creative directors drawn from all the major world regions have also contributed Think Pieces for International Museum Day (IMD2020) – most notably, Raphael Chikukwa, Acting Director, National Gallery of Zimbabwe. His compelling statement poses important questions about the relative capacity of institutions and their staff teams to remain resilient and survive throughout this current COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting Director and Chief Curator Raphael Chikukwa, National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Image source and credit: Whitewall, courtesy of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

In Raphael’s provocation he draws stark contrasts between the plight of museum and gallery service providers within his own nation (which also speaks to similar experiences faced in other countries throughout the global south), compared to the major museums and galleries in the West, as he observes the following:

“The question that keeps ringing in my head is, “How can the National Gallery of Zimbabwe sustain itself during the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath? Museums Directors in the West can dip into the reserves and what about us here in Africa and the need to adapt to new digital audiences?”

“We must deliver a reflection process to re-imagine ourselves, inspired by our mission and in response to the new normal. Our most important challenge however is the need to boost our digital presence and set up a “Digital Back Office”. Taking the National Gallery of Zimbabwe to this new reality we need a gallery without walls and physical boundaries.”

Raphael Chikukwa – Acting Director & Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

To read the full text of these and other important IMD2020 Think Pieces, please visit the website of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) at:

Web links and further information:

Dr Gus Casley Hayford’s IMD2020 Think Piece:

Raphael Chikukwa’s IMD2020 Think Piece:

ICOM’s IMD2020 News Bulletin – with links to all the Think Pieces:

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