Important update – call extended until 1 May 2020

In light of the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak , we are not cancelling our annual conference at the moment.  We will carefully review our position on a regular basis and consider options on how we can best and safely come together

The call for papers and proposals will be extended until 1 May 2020 and we would like to invite you to keep sending us your ideas for proposals as outlined the call for papers.

 It is important to keep our dialogue active at this time. The consequences and impacts of the challenging situation the world finds itself in today will influence our conversations in how we address global agendas and the role of museums in this.

Do keep in touch and we look forward to hearing from you.

Stay safe and stay well.


Call for papers – send us your proposal

FIHRM 2020: Power and Voices Echoes of Empires 

14-16 October 2020

International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK 

Conference theme

We live in a world where we are experiencing worsening levels of discrimination, legacies of colonial rule continue to undermine people’s basic rights and there is growing urgency about the consequences of climate change. Museums are increasingly activist and determinedly not neutral. There is growing consensus among museums that their role in society must be active, not passive. 

The ethos underpinning FIHRM is that all types of museums, regardless of size or resources, share similar challenges in dealing with these difficult, politically-loaded, and controversial subjects. Since FIHRM’s foundation in 2010, one of its fundamental principles has been the importance of international dialogue and the capacity to address and promote human rights issues collectively.  Ten years on this resonates more than ever. We believe it’s time for museums to step up to the plate.  

In this challenging global context, there is one particular issue we want to focus on at our 2020 conference:  the dynamic between power and voices.  Who holds the power when we share stories?  Whose voice is absent, silenced or forgotten? What about voices for those without a material culture?  How do museums promote equality and human rights?  

We wish to look at the concept of voice in its broadest sense – considering diversity and inclusion of voices in our narratives and relationships, as well as the creative interpretations of voices in addressing difficult issues.  

We would like to invite proposals for case studies, provocation, exchange where we explore some of the following topics:  

  • Human rights agendas including modern slavery, migration and climate change  
  • Decolonisation, legacies of empire now and in the past 
  • Social inequality and exclusion 
  • Art and activism  
  • Community and civic engagement 
  • Working in museums – dealing with trauma, support for staff

Key words: censorship, inequality, social justice, conflict, discrimination, access, mental health, trauma, support, campaigning, democracy, power, returns and repatriation; ethics, digital approaches, action, activism, dialogue, shared narratives, diversity, bias, privilege, intersectionality, well- being 

Call for papers  

FULL DETAILS: FIHRM 2020 Call for papers(pdf)

We welcome proposals for case studies, research papers, workshops and poster sessions under any of the outlined themes. Proposals should be no more than 300 words and in addition you are asked to submit a short biography of 200 words. 

Please specify type of session: 

  • Case study  15minute case study on a project or area of work within the context of the conference theme. We encourage visual presentations- audio and video material can be used.  
  • Panel debate – session with 3 panelists and a moderator. Panel members deliver a short provocation or case study, followed by a moderated debate with input from the audience. Please provide full outline and key focus of debate. Panels will be 40 minutes max. We look for short provocative panel presentations and active audience involvement. Visual aids are encouraged. 
  • Creative workshop: this provides an opportunity to bring together people to create fresh thinking about an idea or way of working. Workshops will be 1 ½ hours (90 minutes).  The aim of the workshop is active engagement in a topic to openly share new ideas and practices in an interactive and innovative way.  
  • Poster:  A poster is a visual and concise method of presenting one’s work. A specific time is allocated in the programme to present your poster and it will be available for viewing throughout the conference. Full specification for posters will be provided.

Points to note 

  • The conference language is English. 
  • Conference registration fees are covered for presenters.  
  • Some sessions may be recorded and presentations will be published on the FIHRM website 
  • Poster will be photographed and published on FIHRM website.  

Bursary Scheme 

FIHRM will offer a number of bursaries to cover travel and accommodation for those who would not be able to attend otherwise. Details for the bursary scheme will be published on the website on  1 May 2020. 

Deadline and submission: 1 May 2020 

 Please send your proposal and biography to Francoise McClafferty at  

Conference page