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2024 ICOM UK Conference at the Ulster Museum

April 11 @ 8:00 am - April 13 @ 5:00 pm

£40 – £250

We live in an age of division and discord, with many communities riven by political differences, social inequalities and, in some cases, conflict and its legacy. This conference will explore the role of museums as valuable shared spaces, where differences can be ethically discussed and represented, and areas of commonality identified and valued.

Hear from museum professionals from the island of Ireland, the UK and the global museum community, in a city that has been damaged by division but through the ongoing social peace process is embracing the opportunities of the present and looking to a more positive future.

The ICOM UK 2024 Conference is a collaboration between ICOM UK, NMDC and National Museums NI, with support from the Northern Ireland Museums Council, the Irish Museums Association, ICOM Ireland and Barker Langham.



Thursday 11 April 2024

15:00 “Best of Belfast” Walking Tour (Free Tour).

Evening – Informal meet-up at the Post House (32 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 5BQ)

(delegates to pay for own food and drink)


Friday 12 April

09:00 – 10:00 Optional tour of The Troubles and Beyond gallery, Ulster Museum (limited places available, booking required)

09:00 – 10:00: Student and Emerging Professionals Breakfast (Free event, booking is required. Please note that a ticket is required to attend the wider conference)

10:00 – 10:30 Arrivals, refreshments (provided), informal networking

10:30-10:40 Welcome and introductions: William Blair, Director of Collections, National Museums Northern Ireland

10:40 – 11:00 Keynote

Maeve McLaughlin, Manager of Bloody Sunday Trust and Director of Derry Model Project, Bloody Sunday Trust, Derry

11:00 – 12:00 Session 1 – Old Wounds: After Conflict

Chantal Umuhoza, Curator, Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR)

David McGivern, Director, Roddy McCorley’s Republican Heritage Centre, Belfast

Gerry McConville, Director, Falls Community Council, Belfast

Damian Foley, Head of Estates & Strategic Planning and Transformation Department

Summary: Conflict leaves behind a difficult and painful legacy, which is often worked through at a local level. By exploring how different groups are developing the interpretation of their history, this session will explore the parallel processes of continuity and change that characterise societies emerging from conflict.

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch (provided) and informal networking

13:00 – 14:00 Session 2 – Borders and Boundaries

Brenda Malone, Curator, National Museum of Ireland

Elma Hasimbegovic, Director, History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Board Member, Balkan Museum Network

Julie Andrews, Director, Linen Hall Library, Belfast

Niall Kerr, Head of Heritage and Community Relations, Nerve Centre, Belfast and Derry

Summary: Whether we choose to focus on them, overlook them or transcend them, borders and boundaries impact our work and how it is viewed both locally and internationally. This session will explore the importance of acknowledging the impacts of borders and boundaries and the role of museums in raising questions of national identity and shared heritage.

14:00 – 14:10 Comfort break

14:10 – 14:30 Keynote – Nusrat Ahmed, Lead Curator (South Asia Gallery), Manchester Museum

14:30 – 15:00 Break and refreshments (provided)

15:00 – 16:00 Session 3 – Four Nations: For Communities

Anne Bradley, Curator (Social & Oral history), National Coal Mining Museum for England

Dr John Giblin, Keeper, Department of Global Arts, Cultures and Design, National Museums Scotland

Dr William Mitchell, Project co-ordinator, Action for Community Transformative (ACT) Initiative , Belfast

Nia Williams, Director of Learning and Public Programmes, Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museums Wales)

Summary: The role of museums is changing, we are taking a much more proactive and forward-looking role in working directly with our audience and local communities. Drawing on their own experience, representatives from the four nations of the United Kingdom will come together with a view to exploring the similarities and differences in approach and the challenges faced by museums in divided communities across the UK.

16:00 – 16:15 Wrap up and close

16:15 – 17:00 Late afternoon Belfast murals tour (limited spaces available, booking required)


Saturday 13 April 2023

All day – we will provide a What’s On guide for self-guided visits

The ICOM UK 2024 Conference is a collaboration between ICOM UK, NMDC and National Museums NI, with support from the Northern Ireland Museums Council, the Irish Museums Association, ICOM Ireland and Barker Langham.

Further details about the programme on Friday 12 April at the Ulster Museum, and associated events in the city and other museums on the afternoon of Thursday 11 April, will be added shortly. We will provide information on self-guided museum and city visits on Saturday 13 April.


April 11 @ 8:00 am
April 13 @ 5:00 pm
£40 – £250
Event Categories:


NMNI (Ulster Museum)
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Ulster Museum (NMNI)
8 Stranmillis Rd
Belfast, BT9 5AB United Kingdom
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