Strategic Plan 2020-2024

MEG takes action on global societal and environmental changes, as well as those occurring within the museum world, in order to define its commitments for the coming years. Issues such as decolonization, collaborative processes, creativity, inclusion, and sustainability form the core of MEG's new vision unveiled in its Strategic Plan 2020-2024 [PDF 1.25 Mo].

The challenge for MEG's future is to position itself strategically and critically in a world where global museum in full mutation. The "ethnography museums" are disappearing, confronted with new critical attitudes that urge them to engage in a process of "decolonization". In Switzerland as elsewhere, the colonial heritage is contested, unfair exchanges are criticized, racism and exclusion are denounced. In response to these movements, notions of inclusion, partnership, exchange, collaboration and co-construction are promoted in a spirit of mutual respect and trust.

MEG is undergoing a profound transformation to keep pace with these global trends, and has set the following strategic objectives to be achieved by 2024 :

  1. Decolonize the Museum.
  2. Strengthen the Museum's role as a platform and partner for local and international collaborations.
  3. Diversify and include new audiences.
  4. Inspire creative processes./li>
  5. To become a reference museum on sustainable development.


To this end, MEG has initiated eight major strategic programs. They concretize priorities in public service and in relations with working partners. These programs were designed by the Museum's teams and are all interdependent.

1. Looking to the future: a new museological strategy in the anthropocene era.

Program led by Boris Wastiau, Director

The program presents the orientation of the exhibitions for the next five years. It is based on the five strategic directions of the Museum, as well as all eight programs. From 2023, MEG's new museography will feature a new permanent exhibition as well as two temporary exhibitions per year. In its new museological approach, MEG is committed to addressing themes of global scope in a transversal and interdisciplinary manner, and to co-curating exhibitions. The "ethnographic" approach is outdated to focus on transversal issues that affect all populations. Such questioning takes place in the context of current societal, political, climatic and environmental changes. In a way, the aim is to give an account of the "anthropocene worksite", this new era that marks the awareness that human activities have a significant global impact on the earth's ecosystem, of which humans themselves are an integral part.

In 2021, MEG presents the result of collaborative work on environmental issues from an indigenous knowledge and engagement perspective. This theme will be developed in an exhibition entitled "Environmental Injustice - Indigenous Alternatives". To address human interactions more broadly, MEG will then address the matter of "posthumanism". This is a wide field of reflection that sees converging movements of thought in science, philosophy and politics. In other exhibitions, MEG will question the means of projecting itself into the future, which is today more uncertain than ever. As an important step, MEG will be completely redesigning the presentation of its permanent collection by adopting a decolonial posture. The Museum will also develop a reflection on the exploitation of the earth's natural resources, starting from its historical roots and moving towards its environmental and human consequences. MEG will also consider the challenges of global demographics, from the standpoint of access to livelihoods, work, health and democracy. Finally, the Museum will include the issue of territoriality and governance in this cycle.

2. Decolonizing collections: a renewed dialogue with the original cultures for fair exchanges.

Program led by Carine Durand, head of the Collections unit

MEG is strongly committed to a proactive process of decolonizing its practices and the history of its collections. An assumed and committed decolonial approach represents a real challenge in a country that did not have colonies, but yet has a rich and complex colonial history. MEG wants to show that decolonization concerns all countries, regions and institutions whose citizens have pursued colonial practices, sometimes even after declarations of independence. In this perspective, MEG wishes to raise awareness among its publics and partners about the colonial roots of its collections, the knowledge it has produced and its museology. The overall objective is to engage, from our Swiss and European reality, a translocal dialogue and fair exchanges with the descendants of those who were colonized. This dialogue is based on three principles. The first is to shed light on the history of the Museum's collections by deepening our knowledge of the provenance of the objects, in particular their motive and the way in which they were acquired. MEG will commit to informing culture carriers of the presence of sensitive objects in its collections. The second is to re-establish the link between "source communities", from the five continents, and the collections or archives that concern them, with the aim of reappropriating the heritage. The idea here is to gather around the collections to hear the voices of the descendants of those who created the Museum's objects, to co-construct new knowledge and new interpretations. The third is to promote exchanges with creators, with the aim of generating new artistic creations, and to encourage researchers, as well as culture bearers and audiences to look to the future and shape a decolonial future with many hands.

3. Reaffirming societal commitment: redeployment of programming and equitable and inclusive community partnerships.

Program led by Mauricio Estrada Muñoz, head of the Publics unit

MEG's Strategic Plan calls for a comprehensive redesign of its cultural and scientific programming for, and with, all audiences. This translates into a societal commitment to promote sustainable development that is socially, environmentally and economically responsible. In accordance with MEG's vision, this program aims to explore equitable exchanges and interculturality from a trans-local perspective. This involves implementing a new relational ethic that takes into consideration, in an inclusive manner, a multiplicity of viewpoints representing the perspectives and interests of all components of the population. This includes the populations from which the collections come, but also groups and minorities left behind by yesterday's and today's dominant narratives. This program aims to support an inclusive approach, seeking the participation of stakeholders and interveners from fields other than those of MEG. The Museum will then become an evolving platform for local and international collaborations as well as a source of inspiration for creative people from all disciplines.

4. Redesigning public spaces: encouraging longer and more frequent visits, and places that promote the diversification of audiences.

Program led by Olivier Kreis, administrator

The objective of this program is to reorganize certain areas of the Museum, to modify its ergonomics to encourage longer and more frequent visits by the public, and to encourage diversification of the reasons for visits. Thus, at MEG entrance, the Welcome Desk will be merged with the former Boutique to improve the reception of the public and resume the sale of publications. The area freed up by the relocation of the reception furniture will become a lounge with a beautiful view of the outside garden. The Foyer, in the 1st basement, will be redesigned to become a space for sound and music broadcasting giving it a new character. The Marguerite Lobsiger Conference Room, in the 1st basement, will become a place for work and training, used to promote the use of the International Archives of Popular Music (AIMP) by means of a reading facility for different musical supports (vinyl, tape, CD, DVD, etc.). The exhibition room of the permanent collection, in the 2nd basement, will be subdivided into two spaces, of 400m2 and 600m2 respectively. This will allow for a second temporary exhibition to complement the 1000m2 exhibition. Furthermore, the "Donors' Corridor", in the 2nd basement, will be redesigned to make it more welcoming. Donors will still be honored, but with a new system. The conservation-restoration workshop, on the 1st floor, will be equipped to facilitate the consultation of the collections by a specialized public or a public culturally linked to the objects. The Pocket Cinema, located in the Library on MEG's 2nd floor, will be transformed into a reading and conference room. The Music Room, also located in the Library, will be redesigned for more comfortable music listening and more ergonomic working conditions. Regarding the Auditorium depots, they will be reorganized to form a logistics center able to deploy event technical facilities in a minimum amount of time.

5. Engaging the digital transition: new technologies, and innovation as a corporate culture.

Program led by Grégoire de Ceuninck, curator in charge of the digital

As a strategic, economic and social challenge, the digital transition is stimulating interdisciplinary thinking at MEG on the theme of "museum, interaction and technology". The implementation of high-performance IT solutions relating to administrative management, museology, mediation, digital communication, and business intelligence transforms the way MEG operates, simplifies business processes, reduces daunting tasks, and promotes innovation. It also solves certain issues related to IT security or the maintenance of tools currently used by MEG. The digital transition is leading to the development of new online services. It requires a rethinking of the links established between the public and the Museum by offering co-generated, co-edited participatory content that meets the public's expectations, needs and motivations. It engages the entire staff by establishing an intensive collaborative dynamic and developing the digital skills of each individual in order to improve the overall functioning of MEG.

6. Increasing sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint: concrete measures to address the climate and environmental emergency.

Program led by Mauricio Estrada Muñoz, head of the Publics unit

In response to the climate emergency, MEG has included in its Strategic Plan the objective to become a reference museum in terms of sustainable development. Museums, as cultural actors, participate in democratic debate and raise public awareness on issues affecting society. Due to their activity of producing exhibitions and cultural and scientific programs, they are energy and raw material consumers; they generate waste that is added to the total volume of CO2 emissions. This program has several dimensions. One concerns the development of eco-responsible scenography; another concerns the general reduction of MEG's carbon footprint; a third aims to define an eco-responsible purchasing policy; a fourth aims to transform the way the Museum works; and the last suggests a program of meetings on climate emergency themes. It is also structured around the following axes: integrating data-based decision-making; promoting innovation, experimentation, responsibility and well-being at work; becoming a privileged meeting place for the neighborhood; contributing to the objectives of Agenda 21; being an agile and committed Museum for the City of Geneva's Smart Cities objectives; including the theme of sustainable development in all major projects.

7. Develop a new verbal and visual identity: a transformation reflecting the museum's museological and decolonial orientation and strengthening its international positioning.

Program led by Laurence Berlamont-Equey, Head of Communication and Press Relations

MEG is developing its new vision around decolonization, collaborative processes, inclusion and creativity. This radical transformation must be supported by an evolution of its positioning and name. Therefore, the name "Museum Ethnography of Geneva" must be challenged, questioned and rethought. The new MEG brand must reflect the identity of the institution and the way it wishes to present itself. Its verbal identity, image and logo must externally reflect its vision, goals and "promise". A new name could be chosen to reflect the transformation of the Museum and the break with its past. The MEG will therefore consider a new brand, decolonial and global, that reflects the institution's identity and commitment. In this perspective, the Museum will be repositioned in a global and international museum field and its brand must be unique among other similar institutions around the world.

A strong brand generates an emotional connection, creates a positive sense of attraction, consolidates the existing relationship with its public, but also helps to attract new visitors.

8. Experimenting music: meeting, sharing and creating around sound.

Program led by Madeleine Leclair, curator in charge of ethnomusicology

The objective here is to share the exceptional music collections held at MEG with a broader audience including source communities, researchers, music lovers and artists. The focus is on the expressive dimension of music. The release of the International Archives of Popular Music (IAPM), one of the most important collections of recordings from five continents preserved in a museum, aims to bring to light various achievements exploring the creative and unifying potential of music and sound. The access to these archives is notably reflected in discographic publications and presentations during various public events (exhibitions, shows, listening sessions, etc.). MEG encourages creative projects inspired by recordings extracted from this sound monument and contextualized by the communities that are its heirs. MEG wishes to continue programming musical performances, but also to initiate meetings and discussions between artists and audiences from all backgrounds. The guideline aims to explore the links between musical traditions and contemporary music. Thus, the new programming values intercultural and hybrid projects, and is interested in the work of artists engaged in a creative process of reflection around traditional repertoires.

Strategic Plan 2020-2024 [PDF 1.25 Mo]