Permanent display of the wood herbarium in the Colonial Museum, Haarlem, 1871–1923.
25 April 2022

Decolonial Futures of the Museum!?

ONLINE ROUNDTABLE | 25 April 2022 | 18:15 - 19:45

Decolonize museums! A demand long fought for especially by BIPoC activists and much heard today. An imperative, however, that continues to point to a future, for hardly any museum in Europe today would already call itself a decolonial one.

The research labs are a series of events of the Research Group "Exhibiting Knowledge | Knowledge in Exhibitions. A knowledge history of exhibitions in the second half of the 20th century" at the University of Göttingen. Organized by Johanna Strunge and Farina Asche.

Photo: Schermafbeelding, courtesy of Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen

Debates that challenge the nature of museums are often characterised by such glimpses into the future, by the practice of imagining and visioning. In the discussion roundtable "Decolonial Futures of the Museum!?" we want to consider the debate about the future of museums with regard to the colonial past and post-colonial present of many museums: How helpful can future scenarios be towards the aim of decolonizing museums? Where are the challenges of shaping the future, especially from an often white-dominated perspective? When is talking about futures only used as a rhetoric? And can the decolonial museum of the future be a place of healing?


We have invited Wayne Modest and Amal Alhaag from the National Museum of World Cultures (NL) to join us in this discussion. They are both museum thinkers and practitioners and have organised an ongoing discussion "A Future where Racism has no Place" (2020/21).

Amal Alhaag, Amsterdam-based curator and researcher, senior research & public programmer at the Research Center for Material Culture

Wayne Modest, Director of Content of the National Museum of World Cultures, Professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


Johanna Strunge conducted her doctoral research at the RCMC in the 2019-20 academic year, working under the aegis of Wayne Modest. She is a PhD fellow in the "Exhibiting Knowledge| Knowledge in Exhibitions" doctoral research group. She studied history, philosophy and public history and worked as a research associate and curator in Berlin. Johanna's thesis advisor is Rebekka Habermas.

Farina Asche is a PhD fellow in the "Exhibiting Knowledge| Knowledge in Exhibitions" doctoral research group. She studied social and cultural anthropology, political science and European ethnology in Göttingen and Berlin. Most recently, she worked as a research manager at CARMAH (Centre for Anthropological Research on Museum and Heritage).

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