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Debate on ehtnologische collections : Africa as a Partner

The dynamics of international cultural policy rolls out a long time ago about each of the scheduling to the Humboldt Forum. In the United States initiated, now especially in France and Germany debate about the "De-colonization of museums" don't question, only the Berlin exhibition concept, but shaken with the requirement to return objects to their countries of origin, the base of the Humboldt forum – the Wealth of ethnological collections.

Now, the museums, the Foreign office and the Goethe-Institut have designed something, which currently bears the slightly bureaucratic name of "Agency for international Museum cooperation" and this week presented to the Public. The budget Committee of the Bundestag has set for 2019, with eight million euros, and for the following three years five million euros. 23 million euros, which is not have given the plight of the German museums, hardly sensible of the exhibition medium, especially for international projects, not a bad Start.

The proposed Agency should be something like the eggs legend Jack of all trades of the foreign culture operation. The focus of community projects should be on the African continent; not only because of the colonialism-fixed debate, on this continent, but also because German projects would be in the realize most likely with partners in Africa, but other regions of the world such as the Middle East long ago by wealthy players are covered, the engage place, such as in Abu Dhabi – the whole of the Louvre in Paris for an opulent branch. And well pay.

"We want to promote exchanges and cooperation with museums in Africa," says Maas

So can, it does not want to make the local foreign cultural policy. The culture Department head of the foreign office, Andreas Görgen, has gained sufficient experience about the ultimately failed project of a Berlin exhibition of Tehran Museum of treasures, to know that there is a need for a sustainable policy of a permanent, powerful body. "We want to put museums in the position to make together with international partners, and particularly with African museums to international exhibitions on the legs," he said of those days. You might feel at the Berlin exhibition "Africa!," which was seen in the 90s in the Martin-Gropius-Bau to Takeover from London's Royal Academy. A typical European event and not with Africa.

foreign Minister Heiko Maas had to be a little clearer stated: "We have known to us in the coalition agreement to promote international cooperation, and in particular to the countries of Africa." With the Agency they wanted to support "German museums, together with their African partners in projects in the exhibition area, as well as in the training of curators and restorers: We want to promote exchange and cooperation with museums in Africa and the commitment of our Museum-creating bundle help and systematic support."

There is also the question of what objects are in the future claimed of which countries

Restitution is no speech. However, can cooperation only then to realize, when it is addressed from the beginning to open. It's no longer a question of whether cultural goods should be returned to the countries of origin or corporations, but rather about what objects are in the future claimed of which countries. The often-called Benin bronzes are an example of that returns carefully want to consider. The founding Director of the Humboldt forum, Horst Bredekamp, pointed recently to the fact that some of these bronzes targeted for Export were produced, and in Europe, came into circulation.

It's not just Europe that China holds as part of its global strategy, especially in Africa and economic interests with cultural three gifts, such as the establishment of museums flanked – without necessarily a collection would be available , is not discussed in the Ministry of foreign Affairs, at least publicly. The German any cultural influence may be remote, nevertheless, need to contact the operator of the future Agency, and that other global players of such Self-effacement little. What, with all the Differences in Detail, also to France and the Louvre in the Persian Gulf is true.

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Humboldt Forum, the Think Dekolonisiert!

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann

"It is, without a doubt, a demand to which the German museums want to respond," says Andreas Görgen. Demand is always there, if the presumptive provider shall bear the costs. A coordinated strategy, such as the question of the Restitution of colonial (thief-)would be Good to associate with a mutually balanced cooperation and the presentation and mediation in particular, in the Humboldt Forum, is not yet visible. The but should be Outlined clearly before the Bundestag are distributed to millions.

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