CFP: IV International Congress on Education and Accessibility in Museums and Heritage

Places: Lisbon, Cascais and Batalha (see provisional programme here)

Dates: October, 2, 3 and 4, 2017

Submission Deadline: until May 12, 2017

Evaluation Deadline: until June 5, 2017

Programme Disclosure Deadline: June 26, 2017

Presentation Lenght: max.15 minutes.


The last decade has witnessed, notably in the Iberian Peninsula, a significant increase in the interest by museum and heritage professionals in the reflection on the adoption of inclusive practices and processes. Resulting in part from growing pressure and demand from civil society on the right to cultural enjoyment and participation, as well as the progressive visibility of these issues in academic and professional discourses, this interest has resulted in a calibrated search for knowledge and good practices that can equip professionals with the necessary skills to implement an inclusive practice, accessible to all, either through acquisition of academic training in specialization and postgraduate courses, or seeking answers to specific questions and / or more generalist approaches in the short-term training market.

One of the pillar concepts advanced in this formal and informal vocational training has been that of universal accessibility, that is, of the initial conception of any cultural space and / or program as inherently inclusive from the outset. In terms of physical barriers, this objective would be easily attainable, if that was the wish of the respective owner or designer – which, argued by proponents of universal accessibility, is not, in most cases, what happens. But going further, universal accessibility, one that transcends cultural, social, economic and intellectual barriers, seems a distant and hardly achievable ambition, perhaps only within the reach of urban, cosmopolitan, and hyperfinanced contexts. Thus, many professionals, despite seeking and training in this area, feel themselves to be on an indefinite path, no longer in the area of lip service, but not yet in the land of universal accessibility fully achieved and practiced.

The International Congress on Education and Accessibility in Museums and Heritage has consolidated a growing international importance in the discussion of Education and Accessibility in museums and heritage. Its last edition, in 2016, took to Spain around 150 speakers, from several countries, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and Russia. The Congress hosted professionals from museums, art galleries, natural parks, central, regional and local government bodies, schools and universities, cultural facilities, tourism, industry, Architecture and design, among others.

In its fourth edition, the first to be held in Portugal, the congress aims to question the concepts and methods that have supported education and training for accessibility, in particular universal accessibility.

The Congress has three main objectives:

1) To make a state of the art regarding learning about accessibility and inclusion, from the perspective of theoretical and conceptual teaching and its practical implementation.

2) To conduct a formal diagnostic study on teaching and training concearning accessibility applicable to Museums and Heritage.

3) To identify the acquisition of competencies and best practices capable of improving the performance of all agents.

We invite you to submit proposals for three general topics to be developed on each day of the congress. These are as follows:

October 2 – Learning for inclusion: how and where is it taught?

  • What are the similarities and differences in the legislation for inclusion?
  • What are the contents and formal methodologies of teaching and training institutions in this area?
  • How is the available information about the topic built and delivered?

October 3 – Academic research and professional practice: breaking down barriers and building bridges.

  • What are the trends of academic research in the area of universal accessibility and inclusion?
  • What practical and applicable results in the field produce the relationship between academic reflection and production and professional practice in the context of Museums and Heritage?

October 4 – Inclusion Practices: a teaching laboratory for universal accessibility?

  • Which inclusion projects and programs outside the museum and heritage universe could be held as examples of good practices for museums and heritage?

Presentations will be accepted in Portuguese, Spanish and English. There will be no simultaneous translation, nor will Skype / videoconference presentations be accepted.

Presentation proposals should include: name of the author; institutional affiliation; title of the communication; 3 to 5 keywords; abstract (up to 400 words); brief biographical note (up to 150 words).
Proposals must be sent to by May 12, 2017.


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