ICOM-Portugal critical delay and results of competitions for the direction of national museums | museums
The national commission of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-Portugal) criticized, in an opinion released this week, the deadlines for competitions for directors of national museums, that of the juries and the “favoritism” that the results “appear”.
The international competitions for directors of national museums, palaces and monuments assigned to the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) opened in May 2020 and were divided into two phases.
Of the 18 spaces with completed competitions, the results for the National Music Museum and the Alcobaça Monastery have yet to be announced, which reflects a “three-year delay”, ICOM-Portugal, referring to the director selection process arising from the entry into force of the legal regime for the autonomy of management of museums, monuments and palaces, in 2019.
“It should also be noted that these competitions did not cover the Monastery of Batalha, the Convent of Christ, in Tomar, or the National Museum of Ancient Art, in Lisbon, whose opening has inexplicably not yet taken place”, points out this body.
For the direction of the national committee of this council, chaired by Maria de Jesus Monge, “the inability shown by the DGPC in the timely conclusion of the tenders and, in some cases several months (in some cases almost a year), the non-compliance with the signature of the contract programs , that some cases Should occur until the entry in 90 days of the winners of the additional contests, are confirmations of the difficulty of the [própria] DGPC in realizing projects”.
The ICOM “the public perception of bankruptcy of all administrative resources, justifies the lack of interest shown by the low number of candidacies” to consider these contests as well. This aspect is, in the opinion of the Portuguese branch of the International Council of Museums, another reason for reflection.
The DGPC recently announced that it had received 46 applications from 3 foreign citizens, “one minute, with the number of open competitions numbering 2”, according to ICOM-Portugal. In the same opinion, “many of the foreign candidates were not selected for the majority of their participation in the contest, they were recognized as their qualifications to be recognized”.
For the present management of museums, as candidates, which represent the bodies that manifest with the equipment, the management of other museums, mainly, as some bodies that manifest themselves with the equipment, the management of other museums, which represent the bodies that manifest themselves with the equipment, the direction of other museums belonging to the universe, such as some equipment management bodies, the direction of other museums, belonging to the universe, the Cultural Animation company (EGEAC), of the Lisbon City Council.
“Why will the national museums and palaces also be so unattractive?”, asks the national commission of ICOM, noting then that the competitions with the fewest candidates for director were those in which the real responsible entered the race. In the opinion of ICOM-Portugal, “the way in which the assessment was carried out favored those within the institution, particularly the directors”.
Therefore, the direction of Maria de Jesus Monge suggests that, in future competitions, “professional experience in museums should be given greater weight and value, namely practices such as management of collective aspects, conservation, organization and curatorship of exhibitions and experience with publics”. ”. It will only be possible to “assess candidates and skills from internal knowledge, thus making the candidacy more attractive”, argues ICOM-Portugal.
As for the juries of the competitions, the composition “made the maximum weight of the university evident”: among the four members of each jury there were never more than two museum professionals, not counting the president of the DGPC as the jury, “being that in most cases there is only one”, reads the document. “This aspect ended up having an impact on the choice, especially in cases where there was no previous director candidacy”, added ICOM.
In the aforementioned opinion, the direction in which ICOM-Portugal is part of several members of the national juries, this body highlights that, after the majority of competitions are over, one “is left with the social sense that it was privileged as academic and literary valences, in experiences museums inherent to museographic preferences and practices”.
In this sense, ICOM-Portugal recommends rethinking the way in which juries are constituted, increasing the number of senior professionals from museums or professional associations, such as ICOM-Portugal, the Portuguese Association of Museology (APOM) the Council International Museum of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
When the new legal regime for the autonomy of museums came into force, in June 2019, more than half of the directors of DGPC museums and monuments became replacements, awaiting competition.
Under the new employment regime, directors are now recruited through public tenders or without any ties to the public administration, in Portugal or abroad, for three-year service commissions, with a maximum limitation of ten years.
In the long document released, ICOM-Portugal proposed “an evaluation of the entire tender procedure, with the results presented at the General Council of Museums, Palaces and Monuments and in the Museums, Conservation and Restoration and Intangible Heritage section”.
Gener, the direction of the national commission of this body considers that the decree-law of the autonomy of museums “has come to the return of the national museological panorama with the hope of finally seeing them endowed as reference museums with conditions to fulfill the mission they are committed to”, and defends let the law be.
Lusa contacted DGPC to get a timely reaction to this document, with no useful response.