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A Futurist Call for Proposals at AAM2020

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

CFM is building a museum time machine, and you can help.,

In the spirit of the 2020 AAM annual meeting theme (“A Bridge to the Future”) CFM will transform one room at the Moscone Convention Center into a “time portal” featuring sessions devoted to immersive future content. Each session will take place in some specific future, with presenters speaking from the perspective of someone working in that year and discussing “current” challenges, innovations, and museum practices. With this post, I’m inviting you to submit a proposal for a session to populate this track.

Each session must be:

  • Set in a particular year (e.g., 2040, 2100)
  • Reflect a specific vision of the future
  • Presented in an immersive manner (with panelists playing the roles of people living and working in that future, rather than saying “in the year 2040 museums will be like this.”)
  • Explore how particular issues have played out in this future (Who is visiting museums and how? What technologies dominate the museum experience? What does it mean to BE a museum in that future?)

For example, one session, set in the year 2100, might share the stories of museums helping communities disrupted or displaced by climate change. Another might present a moderated conversation with two members of the 135th Congress (2037-2039 session), about government’s role in supporting US museums.

The “Time Portal” sessions will the conference equivalent of Museum 2040, a special issue of Museum magazine in which contributors explored a specific scenario of the year 2040. Both projects are examples of “design fiction,” an immersive means of fostering innovative perspectives and provoking meaningful conversations about the choices we can make to shape the future.

Time Portal sessions can take place in any (well-thought out) future—you might want to use the futures described in the scenario edition of TrendsWatch to spark your thinking.

Open and save this Time Portal Session Proposal Form. Submit your proposal by sending the completed form to me at emerritt (at) rather than using the AAM2020 session proposal submission site. (Which is over here, if you have a more conventional session in mind.)

I held a Zoom meeting presentation on the process of designing proposals for the Time Portal track: this post shares the PPT slides and links to a recording of the session. I’m also happy to correspond with you as you develop your idea.

Proposals are due September 23. Now, go forth and future…

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