CONF: Museum Collections in Motion. Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters, Cologne 15.07.2019-18.07.2019

A cooperation of: University of Cologne, Bremen University, the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne and boasblogs

The growing public awareness of colonial violence and historical injustice has put ethnographic collections into the spotlight of social and political debates. Museums are increasingly confronted with the challenge to decolonize their exhibition practices and examine their collection history for looted art, colonial entanglements, and systematic exclusions. The recent initiative of French President Macron to explore the modalities for restituting African objects from French collections has opened a new chapter in the debate on restitution and repatriation. While its actual implementation remains to be seen, the report by Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy has set a world-wide agenda for decolonizing museum collections and academic research in the coming years.

In order to envision alternative futures for these collections and new forms of co-operation, this conference brings together activists, curators, experts, young researchers and scholars from around the world. Over three days we will re-visit museum collections and the debates and practices that have evolved around them, discuss ongoing work in the longue durée of colonial and postcolonial encounters and bring views from the Global North and South into intensive dialogue.



Leonie van Dreuten
Uni Köln