In November 2016, AMACI – Associazione dei Musei d’Arte Contemporanea Italiani (Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums) set up a working group to survey and analyse the state of the museum practices of its associate museums. After an initial phase of monitoring existing practices among its members, the working group brought together the main museum practices observed with their relative standards in a single document.
In the light of the contingent situation generated by more than two years of pandemic and the healthcare emergency, but also of the great transformations and profound changes over recent years that have radically altered the activities of museum institutions, during 2022 the Association felt the need to rethink the 2016 Vademecum, working collectively and in coordination with professionals in the field.
The aim of the previous as well as of the present document is to provide associate museums – in the wake of the analysis carried out on all relevant profiles, conferring with the various figures in charge of the supervision of the museum activities in question – with common positions and useful guidelines in the management of everyday museum practices. The goal is to ensure the quality and appropriateness of the activities themselves, both internally and in relation to third parties, so that they might be carried out in accordance with best practices as commonly identified in the sector, in full compliance with the relevant legislation and regulations currently in force.
Far from being exhaustive, this document is designed to lay out the guidelines that AMACI wishes to share with its associate museums. With regard to good practices concerning the governance of museums and, more generally, of the contemporary art sector, the Association wishes to promote the models developed by policymakers, public administrations, national and supranational bodies. AMACI will persevere in its commitment to outline, inform and empower its target audiences, but also public opinion in general, through working groups and study days, drawing on the professionalism of its associate museums, as well as through outreach activities on contemporary issues, so as to better communicate the specific needs of the museum sector and the professional figures operating within it.
General Principles of Reference
➢ Codes of Cultural Heritage and Landscape as well as acknowledgment of existing national and EU regulations;
➢ UNESCO recommendations, conventions and declarations on the protection and enhancement of tangible and intangible cultural heritage;
➢ EU and national recommendations and good practices;
➢ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation (ILO);
➢ ICOM recommendations and good practices.
1. Valorisation and promotion of artistic heritage
AMACI brings together Italian contemporary art museums which aim to promote and organise activities, initiatives, exhibitions, conventions and events fostering the conservation, promotion and enhancement of their artistic heritage, as well as encouraging the production of culture for the purposes of knowledge, education and public enjoyment. Associate Museums operate for non-commercial purposes, respecting the protection of copyright and other ensuing rights.
2. Contract drafting
In keeping with the objectives laid out in this document, and in compliance with the indications and guidelines of the European Parliament in the 2007 Social Status of Artists, AMACI considers it both useful and opportune to propose contractual instruments for its member Museums, thus ensuring all of them comply with the same standards, suited to their respective legal form, internal regulations and various organisational models. To this end, also in compliance with the 2017 PACTA, the Association promotes contractual models in keeping with specific negotiating needs (by way of example: the loan and insurance of artworks, transportation, the production of works, publishing contracts and assignments given to curators, cultural mediators and other assistant figures in the organisation and staging of exhibitions, events or reviews).
3. Acknowledgement for artists and other professional figures in the art world
It is only fitting and proper that museum activities – and their relative professions, including those of artists – are remunerated fairly. AMACI strives for maximum transparency, ethicality and fairness in remuneration. In keeping with its mission, as well as its aims of protecting and promoting contemporary art, the Association considers work in all its forms to be deserving of guarantees, attention and support, in harmony with the values expressed by our Constitutional Charter (Articles 1 and 3 of the Italian Constitution). AMACI considers it fundamental to consider and strengthen the social and economic elements that enable these figures to operate and achieve the aims of their research by affording adequate recognition to their professionalism and suitable remuneration. To this end, AMACI is committed to ensuring that associate Museums provide and guarantee forms of reimbursement, payment, support (including through residency programmes and stays) for the production of works.
4. Loans of artworks and exhibitions
AMACI is committed to safeguarding the Museum’s mission and role as an institution dedicated to the promotion of art and its promotion throughout society as a whole. In this regard, the Association believes it to be appropriate to respond to organisational and managerial needs through best practices shared by its community of members, favouring loans between AMACI Museums and promoting them with institutions outside the network for projects of particular scholarly relevance. In the case of projects that require a particular management commitment on the part of the lending museum, the Association allows for the granting of loans to external or private institutions against a fee at a capped price so as not to burden museum budgets with excessive costs. The latter is useful mechanism by which to trigger a virtuous and prolific circuit within the system, for the greater goal of enhanced collaboration and synergy among member Museums and beyond.
As for the approval process of loan requests to institutions inside and outside the network of associate Museums, AMACI always recommends the involvement of artists along with the archives or foundations of reference.
5. Equality, non-discrimination and the value of the individual
AMACI fights inequality, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination of all kinds in the treatment of individuals, in artistic and educational programming, in services or employment, guaranteeing a welcoming environment for artists, professionals, volunteers and visitors, affirming rights to equality, access to culture and rejecting all forms of discrimination.
The value of the human individual must be protected by preserving his/her physical and moral integrity, and by fostering the continuous development of his/her cultural and professional potential.
In staff management, the Association promotes the adoption of criteria of merit, recognition and enhancement of each individual’s abilities, skills and potential, guaranteeing equal opportunities to all, with a commitment to ensuring that authority is exercised fairly and correctly, without any form of abuse.
AMACI accepts and implements the recommendations put forward by ICOM, also with reference to the field of museum professions, where the international body, in the recommendation issued on 15/06/2021, invites “the state to recognise all profiles of museum professions and liaise with the professional associations for forms of collective negotiation in order to define a framework of minimum salaries as soon as possible.” In compliance with this recommendation, which has not only a social but also a constitutional value, along with the sectorial bodies and institutions of reference, AMACI is committed to promoting dialogue and ideal collaboration for the correct consideration and valorisation of the professions linked to the museum and the art world. AMACI considers it a fundamental objective to promote the valorisation of the work of all those operating in the museum art system, in all its forms, configurations and contributions to civil society, also ideally in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture.
AMACI considers museums to be places for the affirmation of cultural rights, guaranteeing access to heritage, its enjoyment and presence in people’s cultural lives. The Association encourages the overcoming and removal of barriers of various kinds through an understanding of the needs of various audiences, organising reception mechanisms and spaces for the adoption of compensatory tools for direct accessibility where this is otherwise impeded, the training of staff, the availability of inclusive means of communication, inclusive design, the use of monitoring mechanisms, consultation and the direct involvement of people with disabilities or associations representing their interests. AMACI promotes full access to museum contents and activities for the public as well as the mediation of their needs in relation to age and temporary or permanent motorial, cognitive or psycho-sensory disabilities.
7. Sustainable development
AMACI endorses the plan of action for people, planet and prosperity adopted by the 193 United Nations Members and approved by the UN General Assembly summit in 1995, and is committed to the goals outlined in Agenda 2030. AMACI recognises its associate Museums as places of research, experimentation, public debate and community; at the same time, it identifies them as entities capable of promoting a renewed awareness and widespread environmental, social and economic sensitivity through the languages of art and new models of operation, exhibition and fruition, oriented towards sustainable development, within a wide-ranging programming mandate, aimed at achieving a tangible impact also on the reduction of consumption and emissions.
8. Principles of legality, correctness and transparency
AMACI promotes and shares principles of legality, correctness and transparency in the constant and generalised observance of the principle of law and the juridical and regulatory orders.
We would like to thank Mr. Andrea Pizzi and all the AMACI Directors who took part in the drafting of these guidelines.
Bergamo, May 2023