CALL FOR SHORT INSIGHT PAPERS - Museums and COVID 19: First Responses. Museums & Society - November 2020 issue

Amy Levin's picture
Call for Papers
April 23, 2020 to June 30, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Health and Health Care, Local History, Public History

As COVID 19 has struck around the world, museums face multiple challenges. While it is too early to draw conclusions regarding the effects of the pandemic, the editors of Museum & Society seek initial responses for their November 2020 issue – short (1000-1500 words) papers reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on cultural organisations; new challenges, realities, and practices emerging during the pandemic; and the impact of the pandemic on planning activities and institutional discourses.

Museum and Society also seeks short (1000-1500 word) opinion pieces on museums and COVID-19. Do fundamental social changes caused by the pandemic present a call to action for our field?

By publishing brief articles in a timely fashion, we seek to serve the profession and to contribute to the initial stages of a thoughtful conversation. Submissions may address the following topics, among others.

Museums’ public/community roles:

(How) have museums prepared for this pandemic, and to what extent do mitigation plans work?

What can/are museums offer(ing) during a global crisis such as a pandemic?

How are individual museums adapting and responding to this catastrophe, especially in their roles as public institutions forced to close? What is happening behind the scenes and on line?

(How) are museums working with communities where coronavirus and its consequences have hit particularly hard because of healthcare or income disparities?

The pandemic has brought to the fore issues related to isolation, mental health, domestic violence, and racism. How can affected museums address these social issues?

Are museums reaching new and different publics during the lockdown and pandemic? 

Specialized museums and audiences:

What are the implications for independent museums that rely on earned income?

What is the role of museums online with children out of school?

(How) do medical museums play distinctive roles during a health care crisis?

Conceptualizing the museum during the crisis:

(How) are museums useful and relevant during lockdown? 

How do museums mediate catastrophes? What are the challenges of being digitally creative during lockdown? How are new digital activities engaging with questions of access, ethics, and resistance?

How do notions of time and space shift during quarantine, and what does this imply for the temporality of museums?

Collecting around COVID 19:

How can museums ethically collect tangible objects or digital/social media related to COVID-19? 

When is the right time to collect coronavirus materials, given that many are overwhelmed with caring for the ill or grieving?

How does collecting a pandemic under lockdown challenge documentation and collecting practices? 

Looking ahead:

(Why) should museums reopen after the lockdown?

How do we begin to assess the practical and economic effects of the crisis on the cultural sector?

Should the role and purpose of cultural institutions be re-evaluated as we prepare for a post-pandemic era?


Submission guidelines are available at:

Contact Info: 

Professor Amy Levin

Contact Email: