African museums

ICOM UK organise first African museums session at MA Conference

Main Image: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town whose curator Ernestine White-Mifetu will be part of talks at the MA Conference. Wiki Commons PhillippN

Next week the Museums Association Conference will take place in Belfast and among the programmed talks will be the first African museums session supported by ICOM UK

ICOM UK says that Africa is changing, and so are its museums, re-imagining themselves for a new future and this new session will look at Southern Africa museums and their inherited colonial past.

The Winds of Change: The State of Museums in Southern Africa session will also attempt to unpack the transformation strategies that have been implemented post-apartheid South Africa and post-independence Namibia to make it accessible for and African public.

Professor Catherine McDermott of Kingston University will chair a discussion with Ernestine White-Mifetu Curator of Contemporary Art at the Iziko South African National Gallery, (Iziko Museums of South Africa) and Ndeenda Shivute, Curatorial Coordinator at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) in Windhoek.

ICOM UK said that issues of ‘access’ are central to the discussion: Access in relation to the visible Neo- colonial architecture, the physical locality of the museum and its potential for community engagement and finally the influx and relationships of private museums to state-funded institutions.

Ms White-Mifetu said she is committed to the development of exhibitions and public programmes that engage more diverse local audiences. She is also investing in creating solutions to the challenges that prevent the holistic development of programmes of public engagement in communities beyond city centres.

The aim of NAGN, and one of its biggest challenges, is to increase the visibility for Namibian arts nationally and internationally. “Our mission is to create a space connected to communities to increase local visitor numbers,” said Shivute.

The Winds of Change session will take place at Belfast Waterfront during the MA Conference on Thursday 8 November at 12.10pm.

The 2018 Museums Association conference 2018 theme is Dissent: inspiring Hope, Embracing Change, and takes place from 8-10 November. Bookings can be made online here