With over 300 members in more than 65 countries, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience offers unprecedented access to a wide range of sites, experts and methodologies dedicated to galvanizing the past for a more equitable future. Launched in 2019, our monthly online learning series, Conscience Matters, brings together members, Coalition staff and special guests to probe pressing issues facing Sites of Conscience today and showcase innovative and effective strategies to help members energize their audiences and play a leading role in our global movement for memory.

All sessions are free for members; non-members may attend select sessions for a fee.


Dialogue 101 in Spanish

January 22, 2020 at 10am EST

Contentious topics are nothing new to Sites of Conscience, but learning how to engage visitors and other audiences in meaningful conversations about them can be difficult. Join Braden Paynter, Program Manager for Methodology & Practice, and Silvia Fernández, Regional Program Manager for Asia and Europe, in this session which will be in English and Spanish, as they equip members with the tools they need to navigate divisive histories – challenging visitors’ preconceptions, fostering dialogue and sparking civic action that enables the past to activate the future. 

Involucrar al público en conversaciones difíciles y controvertidas no es fácil, pero a menudo necesario. Durante los últimos veinte años, la Coalición Internacional de Sitios de Conciencia ha ayudado a que museos, sitios históricos y otros espacios públicos se conviertan en centros dinámicos y abiertos a la participación ciudadana ofreciendo talleres de capacitación en la facilitación del diálogo: un enfoque de comunicación que invita a que diferentes perspectivas participen en una conversación abierta y honesta, con el objetivo del aprendizaje personal y colectivo. El webinar lo liderará Braden Paynter, del departamento de membresía, metodología y práctica de la Coalición, y ofrecerá a los participantes herramientas para el desarrollo y la facilitación de programas basados en el diálogo como metodología para tratar temáticas difíciles y controvertidas en lugares de memoria. Silvia Fernández, la coordinadora de las redes europea y asiática ayudará con la traducción al español.


Weddings at Former Plantations? Determining Event and Visitor Behavior Policies at Historical Sites

This session was held on June 5th

As spaces of both collective and individual use many of whom have historically struggled for financial stability, how can we best create ethical policies for private events and visitor interactions at sites? How do sites navigate policy-making around venue rental and visitor behavior – from selfies and photography choices to clothing that features hate speech? How does a site’s history impact how private events are hosted there or how visitors interact with the space today? What happens when sites of human enslavement, genocide, assassination, incarceration, war, and environmental disaster become the sites of weddings, birthday parties and galas? Join Braden Paynter in conversation with Shawn Halifax from the McLeod Plantation Historic Site and Henrike Claussen from Memorium Nuremberg Trials.

To watch this session, click here.


Countering Exclusion: Activating Women’s Stories

March 18, 2020 at 5:30 am EST

The inclusion of women’s stories is integral to ensuring that communities develop a full understanding of injustices past and present, but are too often left out of official narratives. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Coalition will host a practical session on the best strategies for collecting women’s stories and incorporating these in the official and grand narratives through a variety of platforms, visual, aural and text-based.

As the third Conscience Matters webinar of 2020, join Silvia Fernandez in conversation with Bonney Djuric, artist, activist and co-founder of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Project (Australia) and Pooja Pant, photographer, filmmaker and executive director of Voices of Women Media (Nepal) to discuss their work and strategies collecting women’s stories and engaging the public.


Finding Support: Cultural Programming in Challenging Times

April 9th at 8:00 AM NEW YORK / 9:00 AM  RIO DE JANEIRO / 2:00 PM CAPE TOWN / 6:00 PM BANGLADESH
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many cultural institutions are feeling a sense of anxiety and uncertainty around their finances. To address these needs, this session will bring together the Coalition’s Director of Development, Sara Murphy, and Linda Norris, our Global Programs Director, who will share and discuss resources and strategies for funding, grant proposals and reporting mechanisms – with a special focus on the Coalition’s Project Support Fund, which offers members grants for innovative projects. The session will also address the industry’s best practices for financially challenging times. In advance of the session, members are encouraged to submit any questions or suggested areas of discussion through this survey.


Create Your Own Media – Forming the Narrative

May 13th at 10:00 AM NEW YORK / 11:00 AM  RIO DE JANEIRO / 4:00 PM CAPE TOWN / 9:00 PM BANGLADESH

Having a strong communications skill set is one of the fastest and surest ways for cultural institutions to increase audience engagement, respond to current events, and gain credibility and trust in communities. Unfortunately, communications resources do not always make it into the budgets of cultural organizations. In this webinar, Ashley Nelson, the Coalition’s Director of Communications, will share practical media tools for a diverse array of platforms to assist members in effectively launching new programs and advancing advocacy initiatives. Attendees will learn tangible tools to enhance their print and digital media, better engage press, improve their marketing, and activate their Site of Conscience more generally to ensure that their message is publicized.


Contemporary Migration and Sites of Conscience Members

What can museums, historic sites and memorials do to raise awareness about migration and create inclusive societies? Members around the world have addressed this question in diverse ways. In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20th, join the three awardees of the Coalition’s 2019 Project Support Fund, which was dedicated to innovative projects that catalyze dialogue on migration – the Colibrí Center for Human Rights (USA), the International Institute of Learning for Social Reconciliation (Guatemala), and the National Centre of Arts and Culture (The Gambia). Guests from #MigrationMuseums, a group of museums working together worldwide to create welcoming societies and combat xenophobia, will also join the webinar. 


Dialogue 101 in French

Contentious topics are nothing new to Sites of Conscience, but learning how to engage visitors and other audiences in meaningful conversations about them can be difficult. This webinar, facilitated by the Coalition’s Methodology and Practice team will equip members with the tools they need to navigate divisive histories – challenging visitors’ preconceptions, fostering dialogue and sparking civic action that enables the past to activate the future around the world. This dialogue session will be hosted in French and English.



Problematic Visitor Responses

As communities become more invested in supporting dialogues surrounding race, gender, class and sexual orientation, employees of cultural organizations are increasingly called upon to manage a range of visitor reactions and responses to these often controversial conversations. 

In this webinar, Coalition staff will facilitate an open conversation with members around the challenges they face in this regard and offer suggestions for handling problematic visitor comments. Questions that may be discussed include: When is it ok not to respond? How might a response be different for a visitor as opposed to a coworker or a stakeholder? What are the risks of giving a humorous response? Participants are encouraged to send in visitor comments they would like discussed ahead of time to Braden Paynter, Director of Methodology and Practice, at bpaynter@sitesofconscience.org.

The full 2020 Conscience Matters webinar series programming will be available by June 2020. If you have any questions, please email coalition@sitesofconscience.org