Large Impact by Joining Forces - session at the ICOM General Conference Kyoto 2019

jan 11 2019


Session 'Large Impact by Joining Forces': 4 September 2019, 13.30 pm (Kyoto International Conference Center - Room D)


Did you miss this inspiring session? Here you can find a summary of the whole session (written by Marit van Dijk) and one of the keynote by ms. Gail Lord.

More information about the session, the content and our speakers:

What are Hubs?

Hubs are physical or virtual places, bringing enterprising people together in temporary labs and incubation spaces which ignite innovations, static or mobile hubs, as well as online networks with the potential to revive the economy or change society ( Hubs are a cross between a business incubator, a learning lab, and a professional membership community ( In a hub, people with good ideas can meet and find a creative place to connect.

The hub between Japan and the Netherlands

Dejima in Japan, the Japan Museum Sieboldhuis in the Netherlands are gates to the centuries old hub between two worlds. Dejima is an artificial island constructed by Nagasaki merchants until 1636 under Japan's feudal government for trade with the West. However, contacts were not limited to trade only. Dr von Siebold worked for the Dutch authorities in Dejima between 1823 and 1829. He collected a large number of items which formed the basis of the Dutch National Museum of Ethnology.
Currently, the island Dejima as well as the Japan Museum Sieboldhuis are museums focusing on the relation between Japan and the Netherlands. Also they promote international contacts in the present.

Case Study

What were the specifics of Dejima as cultural hub, centuries ago? Is this model an option for the future and if so, in what respect? How do these connections still play a role and how are traditions and shared heritage involved? Is this hub model based on exclusiveness or is it inclusive enough? What are the roles of colonialism and protectionism in the past and the present? Do we need more inclusive models of interaction, which are globally speaking more just? Who are the winners and losers?

How can museums function as a hub?

Museums worldwide are increasingly linking with other organizations, authorities, industries research centres. They have always been a place where people, communities, professionals and artist come together. Museums should take their place in conversations about larger issues like social cohesion and climate and function like a hub in facilitating contact and be one of the engines behind meaningful action towards larger issues like social cohesion and climate.

The 'Large Impact' session at Kyoto 2019

In this session “Large Impact by Joining Forces”, we used the historical Dutch-Japanese ties as backdrop to discuss exactly this trend, how museums can function as a hub. The two countries have a four-century old connection in trade, military and knowledge exchange. This connection is still strong as governments, companies, cultural organisations and technology innovators from both sides regularly join forces.

The internationally oriented speakers in this session did look well beyond the museum sector and defined their ambitions for the future of museums and their role in society. The session was held on September 4 at 13.30 pm. The location was: KICC (Kyoto International Conference Center), IMH (Inamori Hall), Room D.


 13.30 - 13.50 Léontine Meyer van MenschWhere worlds meet, museums setting the stage for international cooperation  ICOM Executive Council  Germany
 13.50 - 14.30  Kris Schiermeier: Japan Museum SieboldHuis: A new Symbol of Japanese-Dutch exchange  Director of The Japan Sieboldhuis, Leiden  The Netherlands
 14.30 - 15.10  Mijuki YamaguchiDejima, Transcending Time Itself  Curator at the Dejima Museum, Nagasaki  Japan
 15.10 - 16.00  Joy Hendry: Japan's Representation of Holland as a model for Cultural Display in a Global
 Perspective: an early “hub” of intercultural communication?

 Prof. Em. at Oxford Brookes University

 United Kingdom
 16.00 - 16.30  Coffee/tea break    
 16.30 - 17.15  Gail LordFrom Islands to Hubs—the Future of Museums  Co-president Lord Cultural Resources  Canada
 17.15 - 18.00  Discussion - led by Léontine Meyer van Mensch  ICOM The Netherlands  Germany

 Note: well known illustrator Luis Mendo ( will make a live drawing of all the presentations.

More about the speakers and lectures:

Léontine Meyer van Mensch: Where worlds meet, museums setting the stage for international cooperation
The centuries-old Japanese-Dutch connections were vital for the development on both sides of the globe. Taking up this lesson from the past, we can see how museums have an important role to play.

Léontine Meyer van Mensch is director of Saxony State Ethnographical Collections, ICOM Executive Board Member, guest lecturer at various international heritage studies programs.

Kris Schiermeijer - Japan Museum SieboldHuis: A new Symbol of Japanese-Dutch exchange                                                                                                                                                        Japan Museum SieboldHuis functions as a hub for people from academia, business, as well as art lovers, artists, members of civil society and amongst others children and students.

Kris Schiermeijer is director of the Japan Museum SieboldHuis, Leiden, Netherlands since 2010. Degrees in Japanese Language and Culture & Art History.

Mijuki YamaguchiDejima, Transcending Time Itself                                                                                                                                                                                                                           In the 17th -18th century, Dejima was a gateway between Japan and the Netherlands, and through them, to the world. It is now being restored to the early 19 th century looks, open to the public.

Mijuki Yamaguchi is curator at the Dejima Museum, Nagasaki. University Graduate, Literature, Hiroshima National University.

Joy HendryJapan's Representation of Holland as a model for Cultural Display in a Global Perspective: an early “hub” of intercultural communication?
The park Huis ten Bosch in Kyushu is argued to have been an early modern hub of international communication, built with innovative ideas of empowerment, inclusion, tradition and sustainability.

Joy Hendry is Prof. Em. of Social Anthropology of Japan at Oxford Brookes University, founder of the Japan Anthropology Workshop and Europe Japan Research Centre.

Gail LordFrom Islands to Hubs—the Future of Museums
Lessons from the past, inspiration for the future; we see a new role for museums in the modern, globalised society where museums become engines towards meaningful action in contemporary society.

Gail Lord is Co-president of Lord Cultural Resources, over 30 years of experience in the arts and cultural sectors, instrumental in professional museum planning. 


The session is a cooperation between:

ICOM the Netherlands:  ICOMnederland
ICOM Japan:  Logo ICOM Japan 1
EXARC:  logo EXARC 1
The Japan Museum Sieboldhuis  Sieboldhuis


Meer informatie over ICOM's General Conference: