In this image: Rachel Heminway-Hurst (Brighton Museums), Winani Thebele (National Museum of Botswana), Scobie Lekhutile (Khama III Memorial Museum, Serowe) and Tshepo Skwambane (Diverse Community Empowerment Services, West Sussex)

Putting decolonisation in focus at this year’s MA Conference

Yosola Olorunshola, 18.07.2019
Talks and sessions to move the conversation forward and inspire action
The conversation around decolonisation, repatriation and restitution in Europe has intensified in the last 12 months. The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage report commissioned by the French president Emmanuel Macron has added a new dimension to the debate on the return of cultural artefacts. Belgium’s Africa Museum reopened after a major re-examination of its colonial narrative, while the Netherlands’ Museum of World Cultures committed to returning all looted colonial artefacts.
 
In the UK, leading figures from the museum sector have spoken out on multiple aspects of the debate. The director of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Tristram Hunt, argues that “for a museum like the V&A, to decolonise is to decontextualise”. The Museums Association’s (MA) director Sharon Heal points to the need to “add detail and context that has been deliberately ignored” and has urged museums to engage proactively with repatriation claims. The British-Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif’s resignation as a trustee of the British Museum this week has sent strong signals, citing the museum’s silence on its colonial legacy as a central concern. 
 
As the debate around decolonisation gathers pace, this year’s MA Conference and Exhibition is a space to move the conversation forward and take practical steps to put decolonisation in focus.
 
Follow the links below to explore our talks and sessions on decolonisation.

What next for the postcolonial museum?

Speakers:

  • Bambi Ceuppens, Anthropologist, Africa Museum, Belgium
  • Jonathan Fine, Curator, Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museenzu Berlin
  • Robert Storrie, Keeper of Anthropology, Horniman Museum and Gardens
 

Facilitators:

  • Nkechi Noel, Freelance Independent Producer
  • Sandra Shakespeare, Freelance Independent Producer

Speakers:

  • Janet Browne, Senior Producer Audience Development, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Errol Francis, Artistic Director and CEO, Culture&
  • Arike Oke, Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives
 

Chair:

  • Claire Wintle, Senior Lecturer, Museum Studies, University of Brighton

Speakers:

  • Rebecca Bridgman, Chair, SSN for Islamic Art and Material Culture
  • Christo Kefalas, World Cultures Curator, National Trust
  • Rachael Minott, Curator of Anthropology (Social Practice), Horniman Museum and Gardens
 

Chair:

  • Nick Merriman, Director, Horniman Museum & Gardens

Speakers:

  • Laura Van Broekhoven, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
  • Tristram Hunt, Director, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Samwel Nangiria, Maasai Leader, Kenya
 

Chair:

  • Tehmina Goskar, Director and Curator, Curatorial Research Centre and Member of Museums Association Ethics Committee
 
Speakers:

  • Meera Sabaratnam, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Chair, Decolonising SOAS Working Group, SOAS
  • Stijn Schoonderwoerd, Managing Director, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Bruno Verbergt, Operational Director, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium
 
The theme of this year’s MA Conference and Exhibition is Sustainable and Ethical Museums in a Globalised World. Book your tickets today to join the conversation.

Early bird rates are available until 31 July.