Call for papers

International Symposium


“Museum brands: revisiting the public space?”


Toulouse, June 2 and 3, 2016


Brands, typically found in a classic business context, have now been extended to the public sector, particularly to museums, a trend which has been attested by the creation of an Agency dedicated to supporting policies for enhancing France’s intangible heritage[1]. 

In 2006, the Lévy-Jouyet report[2] provided the basis for this optimization policy and identified museums as the spearheads of this cultural branding. Spurred by international institutions - as illustrated by both the Louvre and the Guggenheim branches opening in Abu Dhabi - museum trademarks are becoming widespread.

This symposium will explore how museums create a brand, how they use their brand to define a strategy, what values guide them in building and renewing their identity, how they mobilize concepts to protect their brand, enhance their expertise, and to develop their resources. 

Museum identities are very much forged in history, especially French museums given their origins in the Revolution. Their identities are also formed by powerful values, first and foremost universalism, but will this reliance on brands invoke a paradigm shift?

These questions must be answered using a strictly multidisciplinary approach that includes areas such as law, information sciences, communication, history, economics, management and even sociology.


Theme 1: Norms and institutions


It is important to assess how two outlooks applied to two different types of protection - one relating to the brand and the other to the public service - can coexist within the same institution. This duality involves assessing the complementarities and at times contradictions between different objectives. Brand promotion and protection as well as the demands to enhance and develop internal resources can sometimes conflict with fundamental museum principles, such as the principle of inalienability of collections.


Theme 2: Mediation(s) and digitalization 


A semiological approach should allow one to analyze the different brands, to explore their codes, and to identify the concepts embodied by these museum brands and their systems of expression.

Here the question of public service continues to be a priority: does a reliance on branding cause tension between museological evaluation and marketing? 

Museums are wholly embracing the digital field and launching digital communication strategies. Presence on social media adds to the question of a museum’s e-reputation and, more broadly, its digital identity. These elements should be analyzed through empirical studies in order to be considered in the light of the branding concept. Is digital communication serving the traditional missions of museums, or is it an avatar of brand advertising? Does digital communication allow museums to reach new audiences and/or reinforce existing partnerships and collaborations?


Theme 3: Region(s) and competition


The decentralization processes jointly contribute to the recomposition of local regions, such as urban areas, and to the calling into question of traditional administrative groups in favor of focusing on communications and international visibility.

For example, how do museum brands depict their region? Is it by their architecture, their mediation, or their logo?  For example, the LaM (Lille Métropole museum of modern art), MAC/VAL (museum of contemporary art in Val-de-Marne), and the Soulages museum in Rodez do so by associating an artist with the region. How do they complement the strategies of regional brands (OnlyLyon/musée des Confluences)? How does competition between regions relate to museum brands designed as an attraction factor?


Theme 4:  Management


The issue of branding calls upon management sciences, which observe the continuous extension of managerial tools in non-commercial sectors: universities, hospitals, research centers, as well as non-profit cultural institutions such as opera houses, libraries, theatres, festivals, monuments, and museums.

In the commercial sector, however, a brand - an expression of the values and positioning that the company would like to have associated with its products - provides consumers with a frame of reference and a means to differentiate. This could be considered to be less essential in the cultural sector, where each institution is unique.

Nevertheless, a brand-based approach can give museums the advantage of coherent communications and a stronger affirmation of their specific positioning. 



Scientific committee:

·         Robert Boure , Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse

·         Nikolay Burov, St.Isaac’s cathédral, Saint Pétersbourg

·         Philippe Chantepie, Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, Chaire Innovation et Régulation des services numériques, Ecole Polytechnique

·         Marie Cornu, CNRS , Université de Poitiers

·         Martine Corral-Regourd, Université Toulouse 1 Capitole

·         Jean Davallon, Université d’Avignon et des Pays du Vaucluse

·         Bernadette Dufrêne, Université Paris 8

·         Jean-Marie Pontier, Université Aix-Marseille

·         Dominique Poulot, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

·         Jean-Michel Tobelem, Institut d’études et de recherches Option Culture, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

·         Geneviève Vidal, Université Paris 13

·         Margot Wallace,  Columbia College Chicago


Organizing committee:

·         Christophe Alcantara

·         Martine Corral-Regourd

·         Didier Guignard

·         Jérôme Ferret

·         Sylvie Laval

·         Lucie Sourzat

·         Nicolas Peyre

·         Nicolas Tilli


All members of IDETCOM, University Toulouse 1 Capitole.





Submitting and evaluating projects:


Please submit communications proposals (title, issue, theoretical framework, methodology), to Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.">Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. and Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.">Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. before December 20, 2015. All submissions must be under 3000 characters. Proposals will be reviewed according to regular procedures, and responses will be sent to authors by February 15, 2016.  Proposals will be published as proceedings. Languages of symposium: French, English.