News and updates from ENCOUNTER


In association with


European Network for Country House and Estate Research



Oslo, September 21-23, 2023


Call for Papers

View of Bogstad Manor, Norway. 1789. By Erik Paulsen. SMK. Bogstad is today a popular manor museum.

Museums have been a mainstay of cultural heritage since at least the nineteenth century, playing a central role in the construction of cultural identities. Despite much interest from academics and curators, their wider role in society is often taken for granted. This is particularly true of manor museums, country houses and historic houses.

In 2022, ICOM – the international museum organisation – added four noteworthy new concepts to its definition of what a museum is to reflect new directions in political ideology and cultural policy: inclusion, diversity, sustainability and community participation.

The new definition has also created much debate amongst curators and academics connected to manors and manor museums, which face an urgent need to discuss the consequences of the new definition within fields such as preservation, management, research and outreach. Are new or revised museum priorities necessary – and at what cost?

This joint conference brings together the Nordic symposium on manors and manor museums and ENCOUNTER to focus on issues related to this shift in museum ideals in the context of manors, country houses and historic houses.

The symposium will be hosted by the Norwegian Folk Museum (Norsk Folkemuseum) in Oslo. The organizing committee will facilitate keynote lectures, sessions and excursions during the three days of the symposium.

This call is an invitation to propose papers reflecting on questions raised by the new ICOM definition. The proposals might focus on general issues or have a specific museum as a point of departure. Historical, contemporary and strategic perspectives are welcome.

One session will be hosted by ENCOUNTER – European Network for Country House and Estate Research and will explore the issues within a wider Northern European context.

NB. The working languages will be Scandinavian for the Nordic session and English for the ENCOUNTER sessions.

Deadline for paper proposals is March 24th 2023. Proposals can be sent to Professor Arne Bugge Amundsen ( Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of experts.


Background information

On August 24th 2022, the ICOM Extraordinary General Assembly approved a new museum definition. The new text reads:

“A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.”

This new definition is aligned with some of the major changes in the role of museums, recognising the importance of inclusivity, community participation and sustainability.

See: ICOM approves a new museum definition – International Council of Museums -International Council of Museums

The new definition replaces the ICOM definition of 2007:

“A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.”

For further information contact Arne Bugge Amundsen (

Download Call for Papers here: CfP Oslo 2023