6th International IAWM Conference of Women’s Museums

Mar 23, 2022

IAWM 2021 Conference Hittisau, Austria. Sixty women museums from 32 countries exchanged ideas in Women’s Museum Hittisau.

The 6th International IAWM Conference of Women’s Museums took place at the Women’s Museum Hittisau. The conference theme was “and still we* create”. Over sixty directors and representatives of women’s museums and women’s museum initiatives from five continents came together at the Women’s Museum Hittisau to exchange ideas, discuss and look for common ground.

On Tuesday, the conference was opened with speeches by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and IAWM patron. The tragic situation of Afghan women was also addressed and an appeal for a policy of humane asylum was made to the politicians responsible.

On the occasion of the opening, the Women’s Museum Hittisau showed a flight of the UDDERballoon by performance artist Barbara Anna Husar (Austria), performances by the artists Ronja Svaneborg (Denmark) and Guadalupe Aldrete (Mexico) as well as dance performances by Natalie Fend and Eva-Maria Kraft (Austria).

Wednesday was dedicated to the culture of birth, the theme of the exhibition in Hittisau which was an EU project realized by the Women’s Museums of Hittisau (Austria) and Merano (Italy), the Gender Museum Kharkiv (Ukraine) as well as the Centre de Cultura de Dones Francesca Bonnemaison in Barcelona (Spain).

Among others, there were lectures by the Leading Midwife of the WHO, Frances McConville, Claudia Mandel Katz, philosopher from Costa Rica, the Vietnamese museologist Nhung Le Cam, the Norwegian curator Thea Aarbakke and the midwife of the Navajo Nation in Texas, Nicolle Gonzales. The day was concluded by a talk by the charismatic Hungarian midwife Agnés Géreb, who was placed under house arrest for fifteen months for advocating for self-determined birth.”

Different meetings and workshops were held on the two days reserved for members of the International Association of Women’s Museums (IAWM). Physically present in Hittisau were colleagues from Germany, Norway, Iran, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, Spain, Serbia, Slovenia and Austria.

Virtually we were joined over the 2 days by women from 18 countries, who were unable to attend because of the pandemic. Members joined us from Canada, USA, Hungary, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Albania, Korea, Vietnam, Australia, Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland, Senegal, Turkey and Egypt.

“To be able to hold this conference in Hittisau was a great honour for us, but also a great challenge, especially as the conference was held hybrid. Despite the travel problems caused by the pandemic, the conference became a truly global event that once again highlighted how important the work of women’s museums is in many countries.”
Stefania Pitscheider Soraperra, Director of the Women’s Museum Hittisau

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