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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “AN ANTICOLONIAL MUSEUM”

21 & 22 October 2022, at the Museum of African Art, 14 Andre Nikolića Street, Belgrade

 

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “AN ANTICOLONIAL MUSEUM”About the Conference

Museums as ideological and political institutions have a strong impact on the formation of ideas about the world and its relations. Aside from actively creating specific discourses, that often stem from inherited imperial and colonial institutional frameworks, museums also enable the erasure and invisibility of certain data, protagonists, and narratives. Although the decolonisation of museum work is primarily understood by the public as the return of museum objects resulting from imperial and colonial conquests to countries of origin, a far more complex issue is the decolonisation of institutional knowledge production.

The Museum of African Art – The Veda and Dr. Zdravko Pečar Collection (MAU) in Belgrade, is an example of decentred museum practice in relation to museums in the West. Opened in 1977, within the scope of non-alignment as a characteristic of Yugoslav international politics, the museum’s foundations were rooted in anticolonial discourse, reflecting the spirit of the times. However, no museum, therefore not even the MAU, is anticolonial in itself. Each museum rests on the paradigm on which museums as the institutions we know today were created – deeply embedded in 19th century imperialism.

Therefore, the conference strives to establish links with the values of anticolonialism, anti-racism and solidarity from the time of the MAU’s founding: not merely for purposes of historicization, but with the aim of posing the challenge of anticolonial thinking before a significantly different institution that has yet to take root in practice.

Conference presentations will deal with research, art and theoretical work, which link museums and heritage at large to the realities of extractive capitalism, institutional racism, as well as the prevailing imperial paradigm, and will also aim to underscore new models of knowledge production.

 

Panels

- HERITAGE & VIOLENCE: Unravelling the Museum as an Image of the World

- DECENTRED MODERNISMS: Counterhistories as Alternative

- RESISTANCE FROM THE FRINGES: Recognising a new Paradigm

- AN ANTICOLONIAL MUSEUM: Acting in Real Time

 

Speakers

Conference participants combine theory and practice in their work, including the critique of museum representation of Africa and African arts, decolonization of institutional knowledge production, creation of new methodologies of research, learning and unlearning, collaboration and representation: Amina Zoubir (Algeria), Mwana Pwo (Angola), Elizabeth Asafo-Adjei (Ghana), Vitjitua Ndjiharine (Namibia), Blessing Bee Azubike (Nigeria), Jelena Savić, Jelena Vesić, Ana Vujović (Serbia), Katarina Zdjelar, Koštana Banović (based in the Netherlands), Dubravka Sekulić (based in Great Britain). The scientific and organisational board includes: Bojana Piškur (Slovenia), Katarina Živanović, Ana Sladojević, Emilia Epštajn and Ana Knežević (Serbia).

Participants' bios are available here.

 


 

PROGRAMME

 

Friday, 21 October 2022

9:00-9:30 Gathering

 

9:30-10:15 Opening Ceremony

Speakers: Nataša Mihailović Vacić, Secretary for Culture of The City of Belgrade; Stanko Blagojević, Assistant to the Minister of Culture and Information - International Relations; dr Marija Aleksić, MAU director; dr Ana Sladojević, author of the "An Anticolonial Museum" exhibition

 

10:15-11:45

Panel 1

HERITAGE & VIOLENCE: Unravelling the Museum as an Image of the World

Speakers: Vitjitua Ndjiharine, Amina Zoubir & Katarina Zdjelar

Chair: Ana Knežević

 

11:45-12:30 Break

 

12:30-14:00

Panel 2

DECENTRED MODERNISMS: Counterhistories as Alternative

Speakers: Dubravka Sekulić, Elizabeth Asafo-Adjei & Koštana Banović

Chair: Ana Sladojević

 

14:00-15:00 Break

 

15:00-18:00

Screening: “My Lifetime (Malaika)”, Single channel video, 2012,

by Katarina Zdjelar

Venue: MAU Dome

 


 

Saturday, 22 October 2022

10:00-11.30

Panel 3

RESISTANCE FROM THE FRINGES: Recognising a New Paradigm

Speakers: Blessing Bee Azubike, Mwana Pwo & Jelena Savić

Chair: Emilia Epštajn

 

11:30-12:30 Break

 

12.30-14:00

Conference concluding remarks and discussion

AN ANTICOLONIAL MUSEUM: Acting in Real Time

In conversation: Ana Sladojević & Jelena Vesić

 

15:00-18:00

Screening: “My Lifetime (Malaika)”, Single channel video, 2012,

by Katarina Zdjelar

Venue: MAU Dome

 


 

Click here to download the conference brochure (.pdf).

Due to the international character of the conference, all presentations and talks will be in English.

The conference will be livestreamed via official MAU YouTube channel.

If you would like to attend the conference, please register by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include your name, surname, and dates of presence.

The conference is financed by the City of Belgrade – Secretariat for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.

 

Facebook, Instagram #anticolonialmuseum

 

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