In 2021, the Genshagen Foundation organised an international conference on the topic of “Europe’s Evolving Approach to Collection Items from Colonial Contexts” as part of its “Academy under Trees” event series. During the exchange with participants from various European and African countries, the greatest challenges and possible solutions were discussed. Afterwards, a multilingual online publication was produced to further explore the topic. The contributions provide insights into how this issue is dealt with in Benin, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium, from different perspectives.
Marie-Cécile Zinsou, President of the Zinsou Foundation in Cotonou, describes the development of the debate in Benin from 2006, when cultural artefacts on loan from the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac were presented for the first time in Cotonou, to the restitution of those collection items to Benin in 2021.
Lise Mész, Heritage Curator at the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac in Paris, focuses notably on how France has been dealing with the prevailing legal obstacles regarding restitution.
Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, notes that there is suddenly also movement in the debate about restitutions from British museums, parallel to a shift in the attitude of the public, which is increasingly asking under what conditions the exhibited objects were originally acquired.
Larissa Förster, Head of German Lost Art Foundation’s Department for Cultural Goods and Collections from Colonial Contexts in Berlin, discusses concrete developments in the museum sector and in cultural and funding policy in Germany.
Finally, Mireille-Tsheusi Robert, President of the Bamko-Cran association in Brussels explains how activists have mobilised to break the silence in Belgium and raise interest in this issue.
The contributions appear in the publication in their original language (French, German, English) with English translation.
Partnerzy: Dialogues en humanité, Lyon
Instytucje finansujące: Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb); ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius
Kontakt: Noémie Kaufman