Matters of Care: Museum Futures in Times of Planetary Precarity

PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE ONGOING CORONAVIRUS SITUATION, THE PROGRAMME AND VENUE FOR WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH HAVE BEEN AMENDED. AS A RESULT ALL BOOKINGS FOR SESSION 1 HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. PLEASE REBOOK TO HEAR THE KEYNOTE SPEAKERS WHO HAVE NOW BEEN MOVED TO THURSDAY (SESSION 2).  WE APOLOGISE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.

N.B. If you wish to hear these speakers but are unable to make Thursday, please note that we are planning to record all the talks and make them available on our website.

How can ethnographic and world cultures museums use their collections and galleries as spaces which create active discussion around the impact of humans on the planet, while also highlighting what long-term perspectives can tell us about sustainability for developing positive futures? Can we find practical steps which would make a difference now, and how can we learn from each other's efforts? How do we practice what we preach, find ways to do better, and what role should museums like ours play?

A dramatic rise in environmental pollution and climatic changes have raised public awareness of and anxieties regarding the future of the planet. While planetary in cause and scale, the negative effects of these environmental changes are unequally distributed, affecting most intensely some of those whose positions are already most fragile, including indigenous and formerly colonized peoples and contributing to rising global insecurity and inequality. The project TAKING CARE - Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care project, funded by Creative Europe, invites ethnographic and world cultures museums to join in the search for strategies to address these issues.

As part of the kick-off conference for the TAKING CARE project, the Pitt Rivers Museum will be hosting this conference, framed around the notion of care and proposing world cultures museums as places of encounter and practice, of social experimentation and innovation, knowledge and skills, where diverse ways of knowing can be (re)discovered, co-created and publicly shared. Museums, as sites of care, have a role to play in working towards a sustainable, convivial future.

TAKING CARE Project 

Taking care logo

The project TAKING CARE - Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care places ethnographic and world cultures museums at the centre of the search for strategies to address these issues. TAKING CARE is a large-scale European cooperation project led by the Weltmuseum Wien; scheduled to run for four years, it brings together fourteen partner organisations and is co-financed by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, which has contributed two million euros. The project is framed around the notion of care, and will explore the under-tapped potential of these museums, for thinking critically about planetary pasts and about sustainable, convivial futures. Our claim is that World Culture Museums should no longer be conceived primarily as repositories of heritage to be preserved. They are places of encounter and practice, of social experimentations and innovation, of knowledges and skills, where diverse ways of knowing and being in and with the world, and narratives of diversity can be (re)discovered, co-created and publicly shared. Within Europe, such caring/careful (full of care) spaces are needed more than ever.

The project is organised around a set of interlinked themes, along a scale that starts from the museum as a site for care, opening towards thinking about the caring for the planet and its future, then on questions related to the unequal sharing of heritage resources and restitution.  These themes will be explored in a shared programme of workshops, artist-based research, creative residencies and exhibitions, small-scale lab meetings, and collaborative publications, working through a range of participatory models, from small-group, hands-on sessions to wider public events.

Partners

Weltmuseum Wien, Coordination

National Museum of World Cultures, Leiden/Amsterdam, Berg-en-Dal

The Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren

Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, Marseille

Statens museer för världskultur, Stockholm/Göteborg

Linden-Museum, Stuttgart

Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Rom

Museum of Archaeology and Anthopology - University of Cambridge

Slovenski Etnografski Muzei, Ljubljana

Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món/ Institut de Cultura de Barcelona

Culture Lab, Tervuren

Nationalmuseet, Kopenhagen

MARKK - Museum am Rothenbaum. Kulturen und Künste der Welt, Hamburg

Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Matters of Care Conference, Pitt Rivers Museum

Wednesday 18 March

Pitt Rivers Museum

15.00 - 15.20       Welcome from Laura Van Broekhoven, Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum and Claudia Augustat, Curator at Weltmuseum & Taking Care Project Leader.   

15.20 - 15.40       Pauline von Hellermann, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.

We will use Wednesday afternoon to more practically discuss how we can use our collections and galleries as spaces which create active discussion around the impact of humans on the planet, while also highlighting what long-term perspectives can tell us about sustainability for developing positive futures. Can we find practical steps each museum might envision taking, that can make a difference now, and what might we learn from each other's current efforts?

15.40 - 17.15       Breakout groups (for TAKING CARE Partners & Speakers only):

                            Group 1:   Designing and implementing public programming on climate change and biodiversity. Led by Chris Jarvis, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, UK

                            Group 2:   How do colonialism and environmental precarity overlap in your collection? How does this overlap take material form? Led by Alessandra Benedicty, Wayne Modest (via Skype) and Rita Ouédraogo, National Museum of World Cultures, Netherlands

                            Group 3:   What are the practical steps we can take to reduce waste as museums and how do we include our visitors in this process? Led by Vered Balan, University of Oxford Sustainability Team and Ashley Coutu, Pitt Rivers Museum, UK

17.30 - 19.00       Reception in Pitt Rivers Museum

BOOK YOUR PLACE FOR DRINKS RECEPTION

19.30               Dinner for TAKING CARE Partners and Speakers

Thursday 19 March

Queen's College Shulman Auditorium

The session on Thursday will focus on biocultural heritage, and cover a range of topics around environmental justice, community conservation and the preservation and representation of environmental knowledge from different global perspectives. Our range of speakers working in communities in various parts of the globe will showcase the diverse ways of documenting and capturing these stories (filmmaking, memory books, quilting, oral histories, museum collections), and look into ways to ensure these processes of learning and gathering are ethical and sustainable. How do we practice what we preach, how do we find ways to do better, and what role should museums like ours play?    

9.30 - 10.10        Wayne Modest (via Skype), Professor and Director of the Research Center for Material Culture, National Museum of World Cultures, Netherlands

*KEYNOTE*        Spaces of/for Care

10.10 - 10.30       Questions and Discussion            

10.30 - 10.50       Iokiñe Rodríguez Fernandez, Senior Lecturer in International Development, University of East Anglia, UK 

                            Becoming (in)visible in environmental justice struggles: using participatory mapping, filming and writing to support the indigenous research agenda.

10.50 - 11.20       Tea & Coffee Break, Shulman Auditorium Foyer

11.20 - 11.50       Itandehui Jansen, Filmmaker and Programme Director, Film & TV, School of design, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

11.50 - 12.30       Lotten Gustafssohn Reinius, Professor of Ethnology, Stockholm University and Nordic Museum, Stockholm, Sweden and Camilla Andersen, Documentary Photographer and Filmmaker, Oslo, Norway,

                            Eyes on and from the changing Arctic  

12.30 - 13.00       Questions and Discussion for 4 speakers

BOOK YOUR PLACE FOR KEYNOTE TALKS

13.00 - 14.30       Lunch for Taking Care Partners and Speakers, Queen's College Dining Hall

14.30 - 15.10       Naman Ahuja, Professor of Indian Art and Architecture, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

*KEYNOTE*         From India IN the World to India AND the World 

15.10 - 15.30       Questions and Discussion

15.30 - 16.00       Tea and Coffee Break, Shulman Auditorium Foyer  

16.00 - 17.30        Free time for Partners and Speakers

17.30 - 18.15       Subhadra Das, Curator, UCL Science Collections, London, UK

*KEYNOTE*         Taking Care of Business: What is a Museum For?

18.15 - 18.35       Questions and Discussion

18.45 - 19.15      Drinks Reception in Shulman Auditorium Foyer

BOOK YOUR PLACE FOR KEYNOTE TALK & DRINKS RECEPTION

19.15                   Dinner for TAKING CARE Partners and Speakers, Queen's College Dining Hall 

Friday 20 March

Queen's College Shulman Auditorium

Activism is often seen as destructive or iconoclastic; on the contrary, this panel explores how activism can be about caring for communities, environments, their pasts and futures.

9.30 - 11.00       Roundtable Discussion on 'Stolen Culture, Stolen Climate: new connections in the colonial museum' led by Dan Hicks, Curator and Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum, UK

                          This panel explores the connections and commonalities between activism, cultural restitution and the conference theme of 'Museum Futures in Times of Planetary Precarity' with contributions from Onyekachi Wambu, Executive Director AFFORD - African Foundation for Development, Roseanne Chantiluke, Independent Researcher, Dr Natasha Reynolds, Université de Bordeaux, and Dr Chris Garrard, Co-Director, Culture Unstained.

11.00 - 11.30        Tea and Coffee Break, Shulman Auditorium Foyer

BOOK YOUR PLACE FOR ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

Pitt Rivers Museum

11.30 - 13.00        Taking Care Business Meeting

13.00 - 13.30        Sandwich Lunch

13.30 - 15.00        Taking Care Business Meeting