ICOM is preparing an issue of Museum International on the theme of Museums, sustainability and sustainable development (Vol. 74, Nº 297 – 298).

All proposals submitted will be assessed for suitability, and if chosen, the subsequent articles will go through a double-blind peer review process. The issue is expected to be published, in collaboration with Taylor&Francis/Routledge, in December 2023.

As environmental protestors bring their activism into major international art galleries, the museum sector cannot ignore the many pressing social, economic and environmental issues affecting humanity and the biosphere. What is needed to make a sustainable museum in the 21st century? How can museums actively contribute to sustainable communities? Is our own museum practice implicated in actions that may harm the planet? How can museums participate in, and even lead, the transformations necessary for both humans and our planet to survive and thrive?


In a world facing socio-ecological collapse, museums have a pivotal role in building local responses and collective approaches that promote a range of mutually supporting sustaining practices for a habitable world. For the next issue of Museum International, we invite authors to send proposals that reflect on the multiple understandings and experiences of the roles of museums in relation to sustainability and sustainable development both locally and globally.

We recognize that the notion of sustainability has different meanings depending on national context and the local economic rationale, while sustainable development captures all three social, economic, and environmental dimensions, enshrined in the fundamental principles of the United Nationa’ Agenda 2020 function as a framework to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the five (5) ‘P’s (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership). Furthermore, some museums are taking into consideration the concept of sustaining practices more broadly, through engagement with indigenous practices attuned to living ecosystems.

Sustainability and Sustainable development have different interpretations globally that lead to different actions, depending on local priorities. We therefore encourage authors to express a range of ideas about sustainability and sustainable development, including their critique, and how these can and might relate to museums’ activities and the communities they serve – what should and could these encompass in the context of museums? It is crucial for both ICOM and the wider museum sector to discuss a range of perspectives, policies and practices.

We welcome a diversity of submissions that can inform the sector on what is being done or emerging in this sphere and also develop inspirational ideas for future practice.

We encourage the authors to share different perspectives of museum practices and actions through which museums contribute to or even drive the shift towards a sustainably developed future. We welcome contributions that address the following non-exhaustive list of topics:

  • Museum as social and community activator
  • Museum governance models and operations
  • Museums and Public Programmes (exhibitions, activities, education programmes)
  • Museum economics
  • Museums’ environmental footprint
  • New museum practices
  • Museum partnerships and networks
  • Museums and indigenous technologies and their pedagogies for sustainability
  • Museum activism and leadership
  • Museums and creative commons (licence-free access to images, exhibitions and publications

For more information and submission process, please visit the call for papers on the website of ICOM.