The Museum Conversations 2019 conference is scheduled to open on Wednesday 18 September 2019, 09:00 at the Habitat Research and Development Centre.
In 2018, the Goethe-Institut held museum talks in Kigali, Rwanda; Windhoek, Namibia; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Accra, Ghana; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; and Lagos, Nigeria.
The approach of this first round of smaller and local events was to create a platform for a conceptual discourse on museum work in Sub-Saharan Africa. In some participating countries, these events were the first of their kind and also the first events during which basic questions were identified.
Museum work in Africa is increasingly marked by changes. Many curators take a critical look at the often colonial background of their houses and collections and want to develop new approaches for the museums on this basis. At the same time, large and new museum projects are started at many locations. One example is the Musee des Civilisations Noires that recently opened in Dakar. Another important factor in the debate is the growing and controversial involvement of cultural artefacts in European collections from colonial contexts.
In addition to these developments, museum talks at the seven different locations revolved around different topics, some of which meet the important challenges of museum makers in Europe. For example, the approach of targeting a young audience for them to recognize the value of museums early and understand the institutions as a natural part of their lifelong education and biography is a featuring topic. The growing collaboration with communities is another topic that does not only affect historical museums but art museums and others are increasingly aiming towards greater cooperation with people in their immediate environment for the creation of access to more organic and suitable offers.
These and many more questions will be brought together in September 2019 at a final conference in Windhoek, Namibia. By networking museum staff, curators and scholars from many African countries with selected European guests, the event not only offers an extraordinary breadth of topics but also excellent opportunities for mutual learning and getting to know each other.