Special talk: The future of museums and galleries - looking beyond the era of Covid-19 (with CC)

Special talk: The future of museums and galleries - looking beyond the era of Covid-19 (with CC)

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hello my name is matt knowles i'm the british council's director in japan and i'm delighted to introduce a discussion between dr gabriele finaudi director of the national gallery in london and mami katoka director of the mori art museum this event is part of a wider campaign being run by the british council and the british embassy called uk in japan through it we're showcasing areas of uk innovation and building new creative partnerships between our countries to begin our conversation on the connections and friendship between the uk and japan it is my great pleasure to introduce nigel adams he is minister of state in the uk's foreign commonwealth and development office and has a wide-ranging role with responsibility for uk trade economic diplomacy and culture across east and south east asia that of course includes the work done by the british council he was last in tokyo during the rugby world cup as we launched the uk and japan campaign he joins us now from the uk and will share his reflections on the many strengths of our close cultural partnership and his hopes for the year ahead minister adams thank you for being with us well thank you and hell hello everyone uh first let me thank the british council for hosting this event it's a real privilege to be here alongside dr gabrielle finalde and nami katoka two outstanding leaders and experts in their field and supporters of cultural cooperation between the united kingdom and japan i'm proud that the national gallery one of our largest and best-known art galleries has come to japan with what is the largest uh selection of its paintings to tour internationally the paintings chosen uh for the exhibition span an exciting range of eras and genre uh including artists such as velasquez vermeer turner monet and van gogh um the exhibition shines a bright light on the strength of the relationship between the uk and japan it demonstrates the commitment to collaborate from both sides despite the immense challenges we're facing during this global pandemic now the arts are uniquely placed to galvanize communities and create a forum to listen to learn to share and develop our mutual responses to global events such as this covid crisis our partnership with japan has been an important component of our efforts to beat the virus our our ministers and our scientists consult regularly we've both committed substantial funds to global vaccination initiatives to ensure that no one is left behind this close cooperation extends however um across the bilateral relationship our economic partnership is long-standing 1200 japanese firms supporting 150 000 british jobs and it's also quickly developing this month the comprehensive economic partnership agreement has come into effect this uh historic deal could boost trade between the uk and japan by over 15 billion pounds and and drive economic growth well into the future japan is also supportive of the uk's accession to the comprehensive and progressive trans pacific partnership our security partnership is also strong and broad ranging we work together on maritime security counter-terrorism and cyber security a program of ship visits including six uk vessels visiting japan since 2017 demonstrates our joint commitment to the rules-based international system in the indo-pacific region and that bilateral relationship goes from strength to strength we're delighted to celebrate it through our uk in japan campaign a program of activity in japan spanning business science education in the arts um which kicked off as you mentioned at the world cup 2019 rugby world cup hosted in japan today uk and japan has seen over 90 new cultural relationships broken between our two countries the likes of the royal opera house bbc proms bbc scottish symphony orchestra in addition phil harmonia orchestra national portrait gallery and coltor gallery of undertaken tours in japan and the uk and japan campaign continues into 2021 among the exciting opportunities are a creative tech great season and the british council's culture connects us digital program which will connect british and japanese creative sectors by digital platforms elsewhere the uk artist residency program in isei offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for british artists to study japanese culture explore its traditions and contemporary relevance and also build those new cultural relationships and cultural resilience has never been needed more so than now together we'll continue to build on this momentum through cultural exchange it's through open dialogues creative thinking and strong collaboration that we will encourage innovative solutions we are committed to championing the immense benefits that our culture and creative industries bring to the uk as well as to international audiences so in 2021 when the eyes of the world will be on japan throughout the tokyo olympiad we look ahead with optimism that both our nation's arts and culture sectors will contribute to the health well-being and cohesion of our societies which is fundamental to our recovery it's at times like this that we need our friends more than ever the united kingdom has a great friend in japan and japan has a loyal friend in the united kingdom thank you very much let me now introduce our speakers dr gabriele fernaldi has been director of the national gallery since august 2015. the institution sits as a jewel at the very heart of london he was previously deputy director for collections and research at the museo nacional del prado in madrid and prior to his role at prado gabriella was a curator at the national gallery where he was responsible for the late italian paintings in the collection and for the spanish collection he has curated exhibitions in the uk in spain in italy and belgium mami kotoka is director at mori art museum positioning art at the heart of a landmark development here in tokyo she is president of the international committee for museums and collections of modern art has very strong links with the uk mami worked as the international curator at the haywood gallery in london and has collaborated with many uk artists and curators mami we're very much looking forward to seeing your next exhibition another energy featuring 16 female artists over the age of 70 including work by philadelphia from the uk and we look forward to the aichi triennial next year which you will curate as artistic director it will be fascinating now to hear you both describe the role of your institutions the ways in which culture can connect us and to learn about the innovations you've made in the context of the ongoing pandemic mommy let me hand over to you thank you matthew let me um let me do an introduction in japanese my the minister spoke about the role of the arts in bringing communication communities together in creating opportunities to learn from each other and help us to respond to global events i'd like to begin a conversation with gable lovely to meet you gabriel good to meet you too hello can you tell us about the national gallery's core objectives what do you set out to achieve sure well uh greetings to you mommy um greetings to matthew knowles and to minister adams uh too um i'm here in in london greeting you from my study in south london and it's where i spent a great deal of time over the last few months um we're into our third lockdown of course as you know here in britain but i think the role of our museum has been very important if i may say so during this time after the first lockdown we were the first gallery to reopen in early july and i think there was something symbolic in the national gallery reopening we sit in the very heart of london many people remember not because they were there necessarily but many people remember that during the war years the gallery was open the pictures were not on display because they were kept in in safety far away from london but the gallery was open every day for musical concerts and so that sense of the national gallery being there for the public for the public to be able to gather for them to be able to share um i think is still tremendously important today fundamentally of course our role is to look after our collection we've got a very very important not very large uh collection of um of great uh paintings from the western artistic tradition running from late medieval times from the times of ducho and jotto in the uh around 1300 right through to the early 20th century so our concern is to look after that collection but fundamentally to make it available to the public the national guard is all about making the connection between the gallery's collection and the people who come and visit and when they can't come and visit it's important to make connections virtually we've become very expert at that of course over the last year the collection is growing so we continue to acquire pictures for the uh national collection we study it uh we share it we think of the national gallery as a place which is both for enjoyment but also for learning and understanding we're very keen also to develop our international relations and share our collection uh internationally and the show that's currently on in osaka masterpieces from the national guide i think is a fantastic demonstration of the way in which we can work with museum colleagues and museum institutions uh in japan and abroad generally although of course our show in japan is a very very uh important one um you if i may if i can turn the question to you mommy you um are directing the uh the mori uh art museum it's rather different from the national gallery but tell us a bit about the principal objectives of your institution sure um yeah it's very different from national gallery uh mauryan museum is a privately funded uh museum operated by mori building corporation but its mission is south to larger public like any other museums through international contemporary art and it is also our nature to contribute to our own neighbouring communities as a part of the company's mission for town making and i would say that it's quite a unique model as a private museum which did not start from a founder's collection yeah a lot of a museum uh started from somebody's the private collection and started to open up to the public but our founder mr mori um wanted to have a museum on the top of the skyscraper which is 53 stories high to be a crown of uh creative energy and so that symbolize that some new energy is coming out from the core of the uh urban public space so uh yeah we are serving to the larger number of people yep i think it's we're similar in a way that um our location is in a very sort of touristic place but we always see that the people gathering at the trafalgar square and here us at roppongi hills which is also new uh tourist destination since 20 years so one of our mission as international contemporary art museum is to serve to the broader public uh to introduce worldwide contemporary art yeah it's very very interesting this idea of being right in the center of the city kind of serving the city but serving uh people beyond the city as well when the national gallery was uh established um trafalgar didn't exist in the way it does uh today but very quickly that was where it was decided that the gallery should be built and the idea that should be built in the very gangway of london it should be in this absolute center of the city so that people could reach it uh easily uh both from the poorer east side of london and from the more wealthy west side of london and that uh in the in the language they used at the time uh the estates of society could mingle uh in front of uh great works of art and you know we we we continue to believe that the gallery is is a very important place for communities to mix to encounter each other and that you know the opportunity to be in front of great works of art to have conversations uh to learn about them to have a perspective on the past to reflect on the way in which you know our predecessors dealt with the um the big questions the big crises continues to be relevant today so even though it's a collection of historic art we believe that it's very much a collection that has something to say today and the museum i think has the role of um making those encounters uh making those uh debates uh making that communication possible yes um we're looking back on an incredibly challenged challenge yeah the year in which we have all had to adapt to this comet 19 safeguards and restrictions and it must have impacted so much on your not only program but also visitor numbers particularly those museums i i know including ourselves that are those museums who are in uh uh center of the city and very sort of tourist-centric uh activity then we all lost those tourists from both domestic and abroad and can you tell us what affect how how uh you have been affected by kobet 19 yeah uh sure enough the the the first impact of course was that um we we um we we had to close uh the gallery it was a very sad moment for us and of course for many other cultural institutions uh in in march um over the course of last year we've been closed i think i calculated it the other day 155 days so that's nearly half of the year that's unprecedented for us i said before that even during the uh even during the war years uh our doors were open so that was painful for us to deal with it was absolutely necessary um but of course during that time what we've tried to do is to maintain all kinds of communication channels open with our regular visitors but also we've i suppose in a sense discovered that uh becoming a uh because of circumstances and circumstances obliged just to become a a digital gallery an online gallery uh all of a sudden i think new opportunities and new possibilities have opened to us um the possibility to reach much more widely to look at different sorts of formats of programs of means of communication to talk about the gallery and to share the gallery uh with people so i think there's been opportunities too um it's been difficult because of course you know we generally speaking have around six million visitors a year we're one of the top visited galleries in the in the world um and over 2020 of course that's been very very uh seriously um affected even when we did reopen of course we had to open with covet limitations we need to make people feel safe when they came and of course people were more reluctant to to come out um most importantly of course you know tourism has been severely uh affected and you know the big london museum institutions of course depend very significantly on that big tourist audience that comes to london you know london's a huge magnus of course and its cultural institutions are very very significant in that in that regard and of course you know the economic impact has also been uh tough but we've been talking a lot to uh government uh we've been talking a lot to our uh benefactors and uh we've seen through the year in 2021 will be uh challenged too but um you know i i'm confident that we'll find a way through we've had to rethink our programs and we've had to postpone some of our uh exhibitions uh and so on um we're working very hard to find a way through but i imagine that you too mummy at the mori and other japanese institutions have had similar uh challenges to to to deal with yes it was it has been exactly the same we had to close also for five months and uh it was from end of february to end of july and uh everyone all the staff had to welcome home and something that probably very different from you is probably you had already some digital resources on your website and showing your collection and i have seen wonderful different pages in your website to be able to go through your works and tours but because we are not collection based museum we are more like based on our main program is uh temporary running music exhibitions so uh we almost had none like no resources to be able to use for our digital program so we had to initiate small team while everyone was working from home to start doing something uh online and i was wondering how how much you already had uh digital resources and what you newly innovated do i link of it well i i we interestingly um when when i joined the gallery back in 2015 we decided that we should make a a quite serious investment in in digital we sensed that you know that was an important part of the gallery's future so we already had an established team we already had a certain number of formats that we were using and so on but i think what the closure as a result of the pandemic taught us was that we could really boost uh that digital activity it was tremendously important to keep in touch with our audiences and so we essentially quadrupled our uh activity um we put out all kinds of different um forms of uh communication we had slow looking at national gallery pictures we had curators speaking from home we used some archival material material that was related to the exhibitions that had opened and then had closed uh was also put on online and these were i think hugely appreciated we saw our user numbers going up um enormously and we recognize that there's uh there's an opportunity there to build up a much larger uh and potentially a global audience you know that's the wonderful thing about being online um i guess we have some advantages because of the language that we use we you know we find that it's it's easy to reach out across the across the world and i think that's certainly an opportunity we want to we want to develop develop further yes i i also think that um digital program is a brilliant addition to additional tools to enrich museum experience for all kinds of visitors on the top of what we have been providing through on-site experience and some of the parts that i see are quite big potential is as you said that it's uh wonderful to reach out to global audience and when i did the instagram live tour of the exhibition there's so many comments came from tel aviv and mexico city and uh yeah only this time difference is a tricky thing but otherwise people can still see it the recorded version and uh we also screened some of the video works sometimes it's too long to see it in exhibition space but people can see it online at home so some of the long like durational works and then also some of the long wall text that people cannot read through in exhibition space then we also uh shared online so that people can read quietly at home and these are something that um we could even continue after kobe is gone and uh i think we are finding some of the uh brilliant potential to uh work uh broader with the our potential audience i think that's a challenge for all of us you know we've we've all upped our game uh as we say um you know we're all doing more we're doing it more intelligently and so on uh the challenge i think for the future is you know as we reopen our museums and as we you know do the activities that we've traditionally done um you know will we also maintain that strong digital presence my feeling is that we will and that we should uh because i think it's a way to expand our horizons it's a way to communicate more broadly and i think you know certainly for us um you know we consider that the collection has an interest kind of way beyond uh way beyond you know the london audience or or in fact just the visiting audience and we need to think of our visitors as a much broader category than just those who can make it to london and come through our doors and another difficulties that we are facing is international partnership of course and as you mentioned that you brought brilliant group of works from your collection and masterpiece from the national gallery came from london and even within a corvette people queuing to see the show but what do you think you learn from presenting an exhibition in japan and what did it mean to in the national gallery so the first thing i'd like to say is that um this is the first time the national gallery has put on an exhibition on this scale uh outside of of london um and we had uh fabulous partners in the um uh in the national gallery of western art in in tokyo and in the national museum in osaka we took 60 pictures from the collection out to japan during the uk and japan year um and of course what was going to be olympics year and olympics of course will be in 2021. so it was an opportunity for us to show our collection to an audience that we know is very interested in the national gallery is very appreciative as i said we hadn't done anything on this scale before so we saw that we had excellent uh colleagues in uh japan and in tokyo and osaka that could make this uh happen um it is a if i may say so a superb exhibition we essentially wanted to do the best exhibition you can do that represents the national gallery so it's a sort of mini national gallery that's currently in uh japan with works by you know uchello by botticelli uh by velasquez by rembrandt vermeer constable turner and of course the great van gogh sunflowers which um is so significant for our collection but is hugely admired throughout the world so it's an expedition that's very representative and the challenge for us was you know how to explain our collection our history uh but also to ensure that the works that we uh displayed um were um you know were able to kind of speak to a a broad international audience and i'm very happy how the whole experience has gone for us um international activity of course is increasingly important i suppose the art world and the museum world is of its nature a very international uh uh world you know artists uh travel museum curators uh travel exhibitions travel and of course people travel to see exhibitions and to see museums so um you know we all have a very strong uh international profile and that's certainly the case of your of your museum isn't it mummy yes the international international contemporary museum international partnership is essential to us we cannot think about activity activities without contacting our international colleagues and something we did in 2020 was the international symposium with the tate tate modern which was actually planned already a few years back and we could finally realize all online but today symposium and each afternoon for three hours and overcoming our time differences but it was wonderful experience that we had to externalize all these recording and all the participants comes from new zealand america all different places and one format of this international conference which was um uh looking at uh idea of colonialism and entangled histories from alexandria to tokyo so we're not only looking at the idea of decolonization from west versus non-west but looking at this idea within this region from egypt to to japan it's quite new and we it brought together nearly 20 speakers and moderators from really all around the world and even beer online we encountered with so many different untold uh hidden stories from the different corners of the world so that was something that um a digital online program made it possible but one another thing that i was thinking um from last year was one of the words most frequently used in 2020 was the solidarity and it would be much harder to overcome this current situation alone as a single institution and we must put together our experience and wisdom and i'd like to uh talk a little bit about sima international committee for museum as a collection of modern art as a capacity of its president at the moment that i see mum also we normally do annual conference november and that is like the major event of this membership community but because of the corporate last year we started monthly webinar session and talking about different issues from different parts of the world and we feel that um it truly created the sense of solidarity by sharing not only the success but more about the problems and the difficulties and talking with our colleagues among our board and other members and yeah even the copic properties really strengthen our solidarity of the community and it will continue to be very important for all the museum community um i agree with that absolutely um one of the things that we saw back in march when the pandemic really kind of kicked in uh internationally was that um you know there was a there was a real sense that the museums needed to support each other the collections needed to support each other when the national gallery closed in mid-march last year um at the time of the first lockdown we had literally hundreds of works of art on loan to institutions across the world but there was an immediate understanding that you know we needed to support each other we needed to help each other and i hope that that solidarity and i'm confident that it will uh will will continue beyond uh the pandemic the pandemic will come to an end i hope quite soon uh but that sense of uh solidarity between museums that sense that we have a significant responsibility to the public and not just our local public um you know after all uh we think of our collection not just as a british collection but it is a collection of universal uh importance of worldwide importance and so that sense of wanting to share wanting to collaborate wanting to incorporate different points of view as well i think we'll carry through with us beyond the pandemic and that's i think is certainly a good thing for all of us um uh gabriele i wanted to uh look ahead now and i have heard that you are celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024 and what special celebrations and a new development are you planning if i may share so you're right um the gallery was founded in 1824 and it was founded by an act of parliament um so we were a public museum right from the very beginning and we want to celebrate in 2024 in our bicentenary our 200th anniversary we want to celebrate that sense of the gallery being for the people of britain so we'll organize a series of really significant activities at the gallery but across the country too um we're one of the earliest institutions in britain to have national in its title the national gallery so we we consider ourselves a resource really for the nation a resource of works of art but also of expertise and also of experiences of you know aesthetic experiences of learning experiences research experiences and so on so we want to find ways to share the gallery across the country but also we have international ambitions and i think probably our international ambitions will focus on uh being much more present uh digitally and to make our collection uh and our museum and our expertise uh much more apparent um internationally um but there'll be there'll be a festival there'll be some great shows there'll be things in in the media and so on i hope it will be a real uh celebration program it's about celebrating uh the great art in the galleries collection but we're not of course the only people who have a significant birthday uh coming up you two you're a much younger institution if i may say so um but uh you've got your 20th anniversary coming up in 2023 i believe yes uh exactly i just cannot believe that i have been with this museum since its beginning so uh yeah 2023 is our 20th anniversary and we're still a baby compared to your 200 years old history but i think uh i'd like to envision a few journal by uh looking at also our past as well and modern and contemporary art also more than contemporary museums are relatively new to national museum of course but came such a long way in the entire 20th century and also first 20 years of the 21st century and now we are in the middle of the vast ocean of the development of art in diverse region and time we are looking at the diverse world art history so we are to look at arts from all different parts of the world but we so we still need to seek for undiscovered treasures within this vast ocean and its potential is i think it's enormous we um as as much uh introduced at the beginning we are showing this exhibition called uh uh another energy which is coming up in three months but to introduce 16 women artists whose ages ranges from 71 to 100.5 so those are the women artists who continue creating and i i see that those to be discovered artists are some so much at the very different corner of the world so uh we would likely to shed more lights on the people and an artist in art works who had who needed more light but also another um essential mission as a museum to reflect the global issue is sustainability its environmental sustainability is also enormous issue and uh probably from architecture from a design point of view but also from uh contemporary art through uh the post-war time that how artists have been giving some voices for those issues will be very interesting uh point to uh discuss in 2023 absolutely um i just want to say a quick word if i may about um contemporary art at the national gallery as well because um contemporary artists have always been part of the national gallery story and particularly um at this time we feel that the contemporary artist's voice in a historic museum is is very valuable so we found um that we found a way to work with a range of contemporary artists um usually responding in some way to the national gallery's own collection but i think really finding uh in the national gallery a source of inspiration a place where you know many people gather to consider the big questions of our time the same as uh happened you know historically um and so i think you know the presence of contemporary artists in the national gallery has become increasingly uh increasingly important um perhaps in the past um the the gallery's collection was as it were the property of the curators i think we've got a much more open attitude today and in a sense the galleries belonging to everyone has to be much more evident much much more uh um much more apparent and that can happen you know through our programs through our activities through audience participation uh in the way we plan our programs and i think very particularly in the way contemporary artists play a part in the national gallery's kind of developing story i think it's so contemporary to re read our history and uh something you have in a collection and also history is a full of knowledge and experience and then also hidden stories so uh it's so exciting to hear that national gallery would welcome contemporary artists to respond to what you have but also opening up the different interpretation of your treasures and i would really hope that your collection will come back to japan again and together with some of your curators and also you could also come to japan and continue some dialogues beyond east and west and there's always so much to uh to be discovered within um western history but also eastern part of the history and there's always something in common and something that we can resonate well mommy i've been very touched to see how enthusiastic the japanese visitors have been to the national gallery exhibition you pointed out before that it was during the pandemic that we eventually opened we were due to open in march uh march 2020 in fact we ended up opening up in in june uh but people were queuing up there on the first day there was a huge amount of interest from the tokyo public to visit the exhibition i think in the end we had about 300 000 visitors well that's amazing for the time of crisis that we're living through now and we've got very strong business numbers in uh in in osaka as well so i you know i'd like to express kind of gratitude to um the japanese audiences who have welcomed the national guard collection and have shown such enthusiasm for it uh like you i hope there will be more opportunities for collaboration in the future i hope that our tourist exchanges will happen again and japanese visitors will visit london and british visitors will visit uh japan and may i offer you and all those listening our very best wishes for 2021 thank you very much and um yeah i think we need to um continue collaborate to um overcome this situation and uh i i have a yeah i have a big trust that we can overcome and uh very much looking forward to continue our conversation and potential collaboration in the future thank you and thanks to the british council too thank you matthew thank you very much you

2021-02-12 04:12

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