A New Management Structure at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich

Thursday, December 7, 2023
A New Management Structure at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich

A new management structure is being implemented at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, representing a new direction for the organisation.

For the first time, a collective of five people will be taking on the management of the museum. With this step, the museum is setting an example of how contemporary management structures can be implemented within the art scene. Going forward, flat hierarchies, process orientation and collaborative teamwork will become key elements of everyday working life at the museum.

On 9 June 2023, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Migros Museum of Contemporary Art) began an intensive transformation process in order to reposition itself with a forward-looking manage- ment team and move away from the traditional model of artistic directorship. This move allows the Migros Culture Percentage institution to meet the changing requirements placed on a museum by means of a modern leadership structure.

From December, a collective of five people will be taking up the reins of the museum. As a result, the Migros Museum will be run based on flat hierarchies and a highly transdisciplinary and collaborative way of working, both in internal and external matters. This modern culture of collaboration is reflected in all of the museum’s areas of activity – each of which will now benefit from equal representation at manage- ment level. The restructuring of the museum therefore represents a logical step and follows on from the expanded definition of a museum issued by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 2019.

The new collective management structure will take effect from 1 December 2023 and will see five department representatives each assume an equal role within the management team:
⦁ Tasnim Baghdadi, Museum Co-Direction – Programmes
⦁ Michael Birchall, Museum Co-Direction – Exhibitions
⦁ Patrick Ilg, Museum Co-Direction – Communications
⦁ Catherine Reymond, Museum Co-Direction – Operations
⦁ Nadia Schneider Willen, Museum Co-Direction – Collection

Hedy Graber, Head of the Social Affairs and Culture Directorate at the Federation of Migros Cooperatives, is delighted with the new structure: “As a private institution, we want to rethink the way in which museums are managed. The nature of the new structure is deliberately iterative so as to be able to adapt to new insights and developments. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to develop this new model by working collaboratively with employees at the museum.”

For the past two and a half years, the museum has been under the interim directorship of Catherine Reymond. “I would like to thank Catherine Reymond for the great commitment she has shown as Interim Museum Director and am delighted that she will be able to continue contributing her many years of experience as she takes up a seat on the new management board,” adds Hedy Graber.

Tasnim Baghdadi has been working as an art mediator for many years. During this time, she has promoted dialogue with the audience. Her main areas of work include designing and implementing educational sessions, events and interactive projects in both physical and digital museum spaces as well as developing audience strategies. In 2021, Baghdadi became Head of Education and Public Programs at the Migros
Museum für Gegenwartskunst. Before this, she worked at the Fondation Beyeler and on the 2017 edition of the Skulptur Projekte Münster (Münster Sculpture Projects). Baghdadi also works as an artist, lecturer and author, specialising in decolonial and intersectional discourses in German-speaking museums. She studied Art History at the University of Bonn and Curating at Berlin University of the Arts. She is a member
of bildungsLab*, a space for critical knowledge production in the fields of education and culture.

Michael Birchall has worked as a curator at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst since 2020, where he has overseen a large number of exhibitions, commissions and publications. His work involves promoting the connection between international art histories and local communities. Birchall has previously worked in curatorial positions at Tate Liverpool (UK), the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre (Canada) and
the Künsterlhaus Stuttgart (Germany). He studied Art History, History and Curating and was awarded his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton. In 2019, he completed Stonewall’s LGBT Leadership Programme. He has taught and lectured at institutions including Zurich University of the Arts and at the Liverpool School of Art, where he is a Visiting Fellow. He sits on the board of Zurich Art Weekend and The Bluecoat
Centre for the Arts (UK).

Patrick Ilg has been in charge of communications for the Culture Division at the Federation of Migros Cooperatives for over four years. In this role, he has overseen communications for the m4music festival, the dance festival Steps, the Migros Culture Percentage Classics concert series as well as for other funding projects and events. As a member of the “Culture” steering group, he has helped shape strategic
organisational development. Prior to working for Migros, Ilg worked in communications at the architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and also held various positions in the financial industry. Ilg studied Literature and Journalism at the University of Zurich and Economics at the University of St. Gallen (HSG).

Catherine Reymond has held the position of Interim Director at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst since 2021. In this role, she has focused on areas including audience orientation and has helped drive forward a new culture of collaboration. Before taking on this role, in 2008, she took over the administration division and played a key part in the strategic development of institutions such as the Hubertus
Exhibitions and the new collection storage facility. Prior to that, Reymond held senior positions at Christie’s Auction House, in the field of film rights and as a journalist. Reymond is a qualified translator and has also received training in process-oriented psychosocial consulting, coaching and supervision.

Nadia Schneider Willen has been a collection curator at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich since 2015. She previously worked as a curator for modern and contemporary art at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva and was also Director of the Kunsthaus Glarus. She has curated numerous exhibitions with international and Swiss artists. For many years, Schneider was a member of the Swiss Federal Commission for Art, before later becoming Chair. In the mid-1990s, she initiated the Kombirama project space in collaboration with a collective and was part of the artists’ curatorium at the Kleines Helmhaus in Zurich. Schneider currently sits on the board of trustees of the Giacometti Foundation. She studied French Literature and Linguistics and Art History at the University of Zurich.

Main Image :From left: Catherine Reymond, Patrick Ilg , Tasnim Baghdadi, Michael Birchall, Nadia Schneider Willen. Photo: Gian Marco Castelberg

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