Ethical Collecting During the Pandemic
Thanks to a Solidarity Grant from the International Council of Museums' (ICOM) Secretariat we are launching a research project that aims to develop an international dialogue regarding ethical contemporary collecting/documenting during the pandemic (and other concurring crises). We are inviting you to join us at the start of this initiative. This survey is the first phase of the research process. Your contribution is important and will inform the next stage of the research. Please share this questionnaire amongst your networks.

Responses are anonymous. Responding to this questionnaire will take approximately 8-10 minutes.

The data gathered will not be shared with external parties and be used only to inform our research and the development of a series of webinars that will take place in different regions around the world. During these conversations we will further discuss the ethics of collecting/documenting during times of crisis and gather examples of good practice. Furthermore, it is hoped that this process will help to create an international network/community of practice, where other resources such as training, reference groups, publications and other materials can be developed to assist museum professionals around the world.


Many thanks,

ICOM’s International Committee on Collecting (COMCOL), in collaboration with ICOM’s International Committee on Ethical Dilemmas (IC-Ethics), TAKO (Network for Collections Management and Contemporary Documenting in Finland), Museum Casa de la Memoria (Colombia), Museo MIO (Costa Rica), District Six Museum (South Africa), Illinois State Museum (USA), National Museum of Australia (Australia) and the Chinese Association of Museums in Taiwan.
1. What policy documents (eg. Code of Ethics) does your Institution use to inform work and practices around contemporary collecting? *
2. What are the major ethical considerations for your institution regarding contemporary collecting?
3. Did your institution launch a collecting activity during the pandemic? *
4. If the answer is yes, can you, please describe this activity?
5. What was the time period for this activity?
Clear selection
6. Was this initiative led by your institution, or was it part of a national, regional or other effort?
Clear selection
7. If the answer is no, do you think that your institution should have initiated such an activity?
Clear selection
8. Is collecting during times of crisis important for an institution?
Clear selection
9. Why is it important?
10. Why is it not important?
11. What were the major ethical challenges you faced during the collecting process related to the concurring crises?
12. Were these ethical challenges different or similar to challenges you have experienced during other contemporary or rapid response collecting initiatives in the past?
Clear selection
13. Please, expand on the similarities or differences?
14. What did you do? What were the successes of your initiative?
15. What would you do differently, and why, if you had the opportunity to relaunch this initiative?
16. Why would you make these different choices?
17. If you experienced ethical concerns, were you supported to address them and how?
18. Were you able to discuss ethical issues or concerns openly in your institution?
Clear selection
19. Who were you able to raise your concerns with?
Clear selection
20. Have you or your institution undertaken this type of work before? (Including but not limited to natural disasters, protest, legal issues)
Clear selection
21. If yes, how was this initiative different or similar?
22. What were the major practical challenges you experienced during these collecting initiatives?
23. What would be your suggestions for other institutions that would like to launch such an initiative?
24. What resources did you use?
25. How did your institution and staff involved in collecting ensure the minimization of harm and respect of human dignity for those who have experience trauma during these crises?
26. How did your institutions ensure the minimization of harm for the staff conducting the contemporary collecting?
27. Are you planning to continue contemporary documenting/collecting activities?
Clear selection
28. If yes, how?
29. Type of institution you currently work in
Clear selection
30. Your current role in the institution
31. Region of your institution
Clear selection
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