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Mr. Zigmunt Zaradkiewicz`s speech in yesterday`s Zemun conference / from Poland

Ladies and Gentlemen!

For the first time I have the pleasure to take part in the respectable assembly of directors of those unique cultural institutions known as museums of cartoon art. Only two months ago, I was appointed head of the Museum of Cartoon Art and Caricature in Warsaw, but as I have been a cartoonist myself for nearly forty years now, I can say with full responsibility that I know the subject rather well.
I take care to attentively follow all the events related to satirical drawing, both as a participant and winner of many competitions, as a museum director and a member of various juries. I would like to share with you some of my reflections and present a plan for co-operation between our institutions and between us personally. It is only going to be a concise draft, a mere outline, which may then serve as a basis for detailed analyses of each of the signalled issues.
First and foremost, our museums need to co-operate more closely by upholding the initiative of international Meetings of Cartoon Museum Directors, which serve to create new ideas, establish direct contacts, and are indispensable as a forum which initiates various forms of co-operation. At the meetings, we should continue to present our museums, the history of our collections, and current activity related to exhibitions.
Still, our co-operation ought to develop along several different lines and  must not be limited to cyclic meetings. Exchange of exhibitions, joint organisation of topical or educational events, as well as individual presentations of artists from the collections of the other museums - are only some examples of possible co-operation. Creating a specialised internet site or, alternatively, folders on a social networking site on the pages of each project participant would allow our cartoon museums to establish regular contacts. Co-operation also ought to include the promotion of satirical drawings, of publications, institutions and internet sites related to this discipline of art. In a nutshell, these are the main though not the only forms of co-operation that deserve to be considered.
Few institutions related to cartoon art maintain regular international contacts. International cartoon festivals and competitions have the advantage of being regular events which have won a permanent place in the minds of both the artists and the audiences connected with the discipline. Even though the museums have a much wider range of activity, information about them appears only sporadically, mostly in the context of spectacular exhibitions dedicated to specific subjects. On the other hand, it bodes well for those museums that implement international projects that they do it in a professional way, taking care to provide the highest standard of presentation. The high professional level of the projects is made possible thanks to frequently unique character of the collections that can be found only in those museums and owing to the excellent qualifications and expertise of the staff.
One example is the Museum of Cartoon Art and Caricature in Warsaw, which maintains regular contact with associations of cartoon artists, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, in such countries as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia and Bulgaria. At present, our museum is holding exhibitions in Sofia, Brussels, and Bratislava.
It needs to be emphasised, though, that too few of the projects are based on international co-operation and co-created by many involved parties. Most of these are exhibition and publication exchange. To improve the situation, I would like to propose measures aimed at a radical transformation of the present practice and a boom in cartoon art resulting from international co-operation of cartoon museums.
I suggest that the participants of the international Meetings of Cartoon Museum Directors undertake the following tasks:

1.    defining the principles of international co-operation between cartoon museums worldwide;
2.    launching joint promotion of international collaboration in the artistic field - by inspiring joint exhibitions, and in the professional field - through the exchange of experiences and knowledge;
3.    joint participation in international conferences, festivals and projects;
4.    implementing artistic projects and exhibitions in the form of the so-called "share events" - joint projects and events taking place simultaneously in many places;
5.    cyclic presentations in traditional and multimedia formats of exhibits from the collections of our museums;
6.    joint self-promotion by placing links to other cartoon museums on our internet sites;
7.    improving the quality of our projects through exchange of experiences;
8.    joint search for partners and applications for funds to launch international projects.

I hope that my proposals will help implement a programme for integration and will inspire new areas of activity in the day-to-day work of our cartoon museums, to the benefit of both cartoon artists and the museum visitors. I wish all of us a fruitful discussion. Thank you very much for your attention.{jcomments on}

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