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‘MuseumFutures Africa’ reimagines what an African museum experience could look like

‘MuseumFutures Africa’ reimagines what an African museum experience could look like

‘MuseumFutures Africa’, a Pan-African project established to support the conceptual development of museums throughout the African continent, has announced the participating African museums this week.

The museums are: the Théodore Monod African Art Museum (Dakar, Senegal); the National Museum of Guinea (Conakry, Guinea); the National Museums of Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya); Steve Biko Centre (King Williams Town, South Africa); Uganda Museum (Kampala, Uganda); and Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University (Lekki, Nigeria).

Spearheaded by the Goethe-Institut and a team of practitioners from the art and museum fields, the project was conceived in culmination of a series of ‘Museum Conversations’ in 2019, as a means of mobilizing museum driven processes of innovation, transformation and adaptation.

The central tenet of the project is to support museums seeking to drive change within their institutions, via facilitated peer-to-peer learning between and within African Museums. Through intra-african dialogue, co-creation and self-driven study-labs, museums are addressing endemic challenges.

The participating institutions are encouraged to form study groups with different stakeholders to find new ways of collecting, researching, mediating and engaging society. A curriculum designed by
African practitioners (Abiti Nelson, Tatiana Page and Rebecca Corey) is provided to facilitate this process.

After an Africa-wide call for applications, a steering committee selected six museums that are characterized by their particular drive to innovate and the commitment to cooperation. The selection also geographically reflects the diverse museum landscape on the continent.

“The staff at the Steve Biko Centre are honoured to be participating in the MuseumFutures Africa project. As we are a relatively new museum, the process ofengaging with more experienced institutions will help us improve both our museum and our ways of thinking in the heritage sector. Connecting with other museums on the Continent provides amazing opportunities and we are excited to participate in the process of rethinking African museums,” said Catherine Stratford, Archivist and Assistant Curator at the Steve Biko Centre.

After a first engagement with the curriculum, dealing with self-defined questions such as ‘What do we want to exhibit and how?’, ‘How do we want to work together?’ or ‘Who is our museum for?’, the museums are now working in pairings to exchange ideas and form a pan-African network through monthly workshops until September 2021.

The museum pairs are: Musée Théodore Monod IFAN Université Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal) and Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (Nigeria); Musée National (Guinea)
and National Museums of Kenya; Steve Biko Centre (South Africa) and Uganda Museum.

The steering committee, consists of Flower Manase (Tanzania), Molemo Moiloa (South Africa) and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja (Namibia) as well as Asma Diakité (Goethe-Institut South Africa), Rainer Hauswirth (Goethe-Institut Côte d’Ivoire) and Nadine Siegert (Goethe-Institut South Africa).

The essential learning processes and innovations initiated by the project are continuously documented and passed on in a publication.


About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys