Open Museum Forum: directors of major museums reflect on the main challenges facing the sector

Museo Casa Botines Gaudí and Canal Saber, the audiovisual platform promoted by FUNDOS (Fundación Obra Social de Castilla y León), launched in February the first edition of the Open Museum Forum, a national meeting of museum directors from all over Spain to reflect on the major challenges facing the sector.

This initiative is supported by the Banco Sabadell Foundation and is part of our desire to promote spaces that generate synergies and insights that help organisations find solutions to shared challenges. Fernández Sobrino, director of Museo Casa Botines Gaudí, explains that “This is a project with a clear desire for continuity” as “it focuses on the great challenges facing Spanish museums in the future”, as well as a discussion on “a figure as influential in today’s cultural landscape as that of the museum director.”

The first conversation was held between Manuel Fontán del Junco, Director of Museums and Exhibitions at Fundación Juan March and Museo de Arte Abstracto Español de Cuenca, and José María Viejo, general manager of FUNDOS and creator of Museo Casa Botines Gaudí in León. The main topic of the conversation was the generational change in which the heads of museums in Spain are immersed, as well as the challenges facing museums in the short and medium term. During the talk, Fontán del Junco explained his understanding of the current situation of Spanish museums through a list of songs: from Vainica Doble to The Cure to Loquillo.

Pablo González Tornel, director of Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia, opened his conversation with the director of Museo Casa Botines Gaudí, Raúl Fernández Sobrino, in a talk entitled “A review of uncomfortable questions”, which was sold out in the loft of the museum in León. González Tornel explained that “Everyone can experience museums as they please. Museums belong to everyone and they are the place to be and to relate to one of the most impressive creations made by human beings throughout history.”

In the third meeting of the Open Museum Forum, the similarities and differences between organisational practices of two museum eras were analysed with Carolina Miguel, director of Museo Nacional de Romanticismo, and Juan Manuel Bonet, former director of the Reina Sofía National Museum and the Valencia Institute of Modern Art and one of the persons responsible for driving the development of the museum system in Spain. Carolina Miguel shared: “I think it has been very important how museums have changed when it comes to showcasing the content we work on. We are in social media and we reach audiences that we would not be able to reach otherwise, but we must not fall trap to the tyranny of social media.”

The main topic of the fourth conversation was the management models in the various centres at the national level, and brought together two leading figures in museum management with different yet complementary profiles: Miguel Zugaza, director of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, and José Luis Pérez Pont, managing director of Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània. Pérez Pont noted that “the audience is a consequence of doing the work well, the audience is not the end in itself, nor is it a means. It is acquired because the work was done well.”

You can view all the conversations in the Canal_Saber Youtube channel.