Museums of chieftaincies in Cameroon: state, practices and forms of preservation and transmission of knowledge

Following her previous and ongoing research, her project formulated within the framework of the project "re-connecting 'objects'. epistemic plurality and transformative practices in and beyond museums" interrogates in depth the museographic context in the chiefdoms of Cameroon, by exploring the different modes of preservation, transmission and valorisation of knowledge, objects, and existing or conceivable practices in this space. Based on existing realities and models, it focuses on the social dynamics likely to be of greater interest to local populations of all ages who are better placed to preserve, enhance and promote it. In a parallel approach, this project questions the noticeable cultural amnesia in certain chiefdoms and the resilience of knowledge in others, by studying the symbolic language of artistic works and performances. This work would like to think of a plural museographic concept that revitalizes art, culture, and history in a perspective of living transmission of knowledge. Through a transformative and collaborative approach that involves the so-called traditional and contemporary arts as complementary and intertwined, the research undertakes collaborations not only with certain local museums, but also with artists, artisans, patriarchs and other resource persons in the communities. These collaborations will help to clarify the current challenges, as articulated by the actors of these practices, and to understand their participation in contextual ecologies (museums or other local devices of preservation, scripting and transmission of knowledge) capable of responding to the demands of the present time, and of having a real impact on the local and global scale.

Lucie Mbogni Nankeng | Project researcher | Université de Dschang

Lucie Mbogni Nankeng is a researcher in history (University of Dschang /Cameroon) and author of a doctoral thesis on "Diplomatic practices between the Bamileke chieftaincies and the Bamoum kingdom of Cameroon: XIII-XX th century", with a particular focus on the arts and their use within and between the chieftaincies. In the continuity of this work, her current research questions the endogenous diplomatic mechanisms in Cameroon, their use of art and their contribution to the construction of peace between the communities. She is also a member of the international research team on the provenance of the art objects from the Max Von Stetten collection (1893-1896) from Cameroon housed in the Museum of the Five Continents (Fünf Kontinente Museum) in Munich (Germany)

and is committed, through a cultural association name lessa’a, to reconnecting African societies with their expropriated historical and cultural heritage. She accompanies the work of artists involved in a transitional perspective between the past and the contemporary, and of intergenerational transmission, articulating several social and cultural dimensions. She is the author of the article entitled "Stratégies de gestion des conflits et de maintien de la paix en milieu rural du Grassfield camerounais: une lecture socioanthropologique et historique de la diplomatie locale"; published in the book Cameroun: le Monde Rural en Mutation, XIXe -XXe siècle (2021); collection terrains africains; published by Premières Lignes and co-author of the book: Arts et rituels des peuples grassfields, fang-beti et Ngambé-Tikar: pour une analyse socio anthropologique et historique des encyclopédies chancelantes, in Progress.