Conference Alert: Museums, Society & Development

From Africom:

EXPERT MEETING & CONFERENCE ON MUSEUMS, SOCIETY AND DEVELOPMENT 15th to 17th May 2008 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands, in cooperation with the German NGO CulturCooperation is organising an Expert Meeting on Museums, Society & Development.

The purpose of the Conference is to explore the role of museums which is increasingly under public scrutiny, both in Europe and in countries in the South. The meeting will concentrate on ethnographic museums in Europe and their counterparts in the South, whose ethnographic collections are often housed in National Museums. These institutions often have a much broader scope than just ethnography. What these types of museums do share is a founding history that relates to the colonial past, and the challenge to find ways to get beyond the institutional format and find new relevance for society. In Europe this means: responding to changing populations and expectations, taking a position in debates around illicit trade, repatriation of collections and the ethics of (re-)presentation. In the South the debate revolves around the role museums play in national development: museums are challenged to contribute to the solution of problems ranging from conflict resolution to poverty reduction. In both Europe and the South an important issue is community involvement and reaching target groups. Even if we have our policies in order, does anybody care? Do museums attract audiences; do they play a role in public debate?

The participants of this meeting are young (under 35) museum professionals from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America . People who work in museums with ethnological collections and who are able to make theoretical reflections on their work. There has been an on-going on-line Discussion Group (DGroup) in preparation for the Expert Meeting.

Our goal is to publish a book with the papers of the participants.

For more information please contact:

Paul Voogt
Director, Public Programmes
Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
+31 568 8276
Email address:


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