Call: Museums Without Walls – Conference & Exhibition – Queen’s University

Call: Museums Without Walls – Conference & Exhibition
An inquiry into virtual art / institutions and communities
Queen’s University, Ontario, August 15-17 + Online

Deadline: April 23

The global pandemic has laid bare the technological crossroads where cultural institutions find themselves in the early 21st century. By promoting a superabundance of ‘content’ and multiplying the transversality of connections, digital networks have increasingly undermined the authority of museums as sites for memory preservation, collection stewardship, and discourse reproduction. All the while, new media systems keep promising to expand the museal apparatus and radically transform the ways in which art institutions can perform their mandates and operate within society.

Has the modern project of the museum finally come to its terms? Can future forms of socio-cultural institutionality be found among online databases, simulated environments, social media communities, smart contracts, and other computer platforms?

These questions invite us to reclaim notions of virtuality from the technopositivist buzz and revisit the long history of relationships between museums and media. In the spirit of critical and social museology – and particularly interested in non-Western perspectives –, the Museums Without Walls conference seeks to open a space for the discussion and exercise of new configurations for art and cultural institutions.

We are looking for proposals of papers, talks, workshops, publications, exhibitions, websites, movies, and other forms of artworks that engage with subjects such as:

  • Museums and/in virtual realities
  • Uses of new and old media systems and VR/AR/XR for cultural access and documentation
  • Online / virtual exhibitions, arts residencies, and other forms of public outreach
  • Technopolitics in/of galleries, libraries, archives and museums
  • Art institutions as discursive, knowledge, and informational frameworks
  • Interfaces for art and artifact collections
  • Museum projects in simulated, digital, and gaming environments
  • Publications and merchandise as extensions of institutional activities
  • Printed, broadcasted, and streamed exhibitions
  • Audiotours, videoguides, and other interactive forms of mediating artist practice
  • Cultural management and curatorial strategies in the age of computer networks
  • Possibilities of collaboration and dissent enabled by online platforms
  • Counterpublic appropriations and the unsettling of museal spaces
  • Performances of monumentality using media and XR technologies
  • The mediation of absences and struggles for re/depatriation
  • Multi-user web platforms as exhibition sites (Mozilla Hubs, New Art City,, etc)
  • Public repositories of museal data (Google Arts & Culture, Smithsonian Open Access, Scan the World, etc)
  • Rogue 3D scanning and other digital bootlegs
  • Art institutions in the ‘metaverse’

The Museums Without Walls conference takes place at Queen’s University, Ontario, between August 15-17. The conference will intersect with the Summer Institute: The Curatorial  organized by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Queen’s Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies program, and it will be completely free to attend and participate. A number of online activities will precede and follow the event.

Submit your proposals by April 23 using the link:

Proposals consist in an abstract/synopsis (100-250 words), short author’s bio (100 words), and links to supporting material. When submitting, please indicate whether your proposal is for presentation online and/or on site at Queen’s, during the days of the conference. For workshop and artwork proposals, please include links to relevant documentation as well as technical and installation requirements. Submit any questions to

Museum Without Walls is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.