The aims of FIHRM
In 2010 National Museums Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum coordinated the establishment of a new international museum initiative called the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM).
FIHRM encourages museums which engage with sensitive and controversial human rights themes, such as transatlantic slavery, the Holocaust and other instances of genocide, and the plight of many indigenous peoples, to work together and share new thinking and initiatives in a supportive environment.
The ethos underpinning the FIHRM initiative is that all types of museums within these fields of work, regardless of size or resources, share similar challenges in dealing with difficult, politically-loaded, and controversial subjects.
National Museums Liverpool (NML) hopes that the world's leading museums and institutions within these fields will support the initiative, and that this will help persuade museums with fewer resources to join together in this international collaboration.
FIHRM is about sharing, working together, learning from each other, and encouraging each other; it is also about being active - looking at the ways our museums can challenge contemporary racism, discrimination and other human rights abuses. We believe that these issues are best confronted collectively rather than individually. Human rights museums must be prepared to challenge traditional museum thinking and practice, and to redefine the museum role with regard to active campaigning against human rights abuses.
How does FIHRM operate?
FIHRM has been established by National Museums Liverpool (NML), which has underwritten the costs of the first two annual conferences (see below), and which hosts the FIHRM website.
It is important to note that FIHRM tries to operate as informally as possible, without the bureaucracy, administration and costs that often beset international networks.
FIHRM is governed by a Council, which has representatives from the following institutions:
- Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada
- National Museum of the American Indian, USA
- National Museum of African American History and Culture, USA
- National Museums Liverpool, UK
- South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation, Republic of South Africa
The current President of FIHRM is Dr David Fleming OBE, Director of National Museums Liverpool.
Hitherto, members of Council have been invited by NML. In future, we anticipate that membership will be by nomination/election at the annual conference
FIHRM Annual Conference
The first two FIHRM conferences were held at the National Museums Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum in September 2010 and October 2011. The third conference will also be held in Liverpool in autumn 2012. Thereafter, we hope that the conference will take place in different museums around the world.
Securing bursaries to enable museum professionals to attend these conferences, who are otherwise unable to do so due to lack of funding, is a fundamental part of the FIHRM conference ethos.
FIHRM has decided to recruit during 2012 a network of National Advocates, representatives in the different countries of the world who act as points of contact, sources of information, and ambassadors for the FIHRM network.
For further information please contact us.