The project ‘re-connecting “
objects”: epistemic plurality and transformative practices in and beyond museums’, aims at building transformative practices in dealing with cultural heritage through action-oriented research. Involving three African and two European universities and two museums (the Théodore Monod Museum of African Art in Dakar, and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford), it strives for new models of engaging with cultural belongings and ancestral remains by learning from existing practices on the African continent and by building symmetrical structures for collaboration and exchange.
From 2022 to 2025, the project critically interrogates the histories of collections assembled during the colonial time, engages in the re-connection of interrupted chains of knowledge and examines alternative forms of custody,
object-handling and display in African and European museums. It thus seeks to produce multi-perspective and transformative approaches to collections, contributing to dismantle the Eurocentric order of knowledge and to displace the authority of expertise.
For this purpose, the project brings together an international team of researchers based in Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa, Germany, Britain and France, who work in close dialogue with artists, museum professionals, students and various stakeholders on both continents. At the five partner institutions, post-doctoral researchers conduct individual research, while contributing to the overarching common endeavor: the creation of a site-specific research exhibition held in Dakar during the 2024 Dak’art Biennale. Throughout the duration of the project, a number of collective meetings (seminars, workshops, public events) will be organized, laying the foundations for the exhibition.
Epistemic plurality is at the core of this project: all its components are thus conceived to foster multiple approaches, and generate productive intersections. This approach aims to open up the sedimented meanings of "
objects" and facilitate learning from practices beyond the museum. To this purpose, the anti-catalogue, a digital working tool, is developed with the team of La Villa Hermosa, a Brussels based graphic design studio which will enable sustainable long-distance collaboration.