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Cologne Crossroads Conversations

The 'Cologne Crossroads Conversations'

In today's post-migrant societies, different forms of knowing, cultures of remembrance, and claims to participation are colliding. At the same time, the occasionally polarising debates at museums and universities are negotiating crucial questions about the foundations of social coexistence. The 'Cologne Crossroads Conversations' aim to create spaces for discussions and encounters in which elementary forms of listening and for mediating nuanced viewpoints are tested, and plurality and contradiction are welcome. The Conversations offer a transparent forum for engaging in exchanges and debates that are typically negotiated in closed seminar rooms and behind the scenes of the museum. The focus is on possibilities for new forms of cooperation: between museum and university, but also among social actors from Global South and Global North.

1. Cologne Crossroads Conversation

2018-2023. 5 Years of Making and Debating Restitution
Prof. Dr. Bénédicte Savoy (Berlin) & Prof. Dr. Ciraj Rassool (Cape Town)

December 6, 2023 6 p.m
Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum

Recording available online!

on youtube

Cologne Crossroads Conversation No1.

2018-2023. 5 Years of Making and Debating Restitution

For more than 100 years, people and communities in the Global South have been fighting for the restitution of seized and looted cultural artefacts and human remains that are being preserved and researched in Europe. The November 2017 speech by French President Emmanuel Macron in Burkina Faso and the November 2018 restitution report by Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy have set a global agenda. Efforts to address colonial injustice, rethink ethnological museum collections, pluralise knowledge and memory, and combat racism have gained momentum, but such efforts have also been met with resistance. Bénédicte Savoy (Berlin) and Ciraj Rassool (Cape Town) are among the most important players in international restitution debates. They look back on controversies and practices as they emerged within the last five years, discussing what has become of the 'new relational ethics` promised to societies of the Global North and South since the publication of the restitution report

Prof Dr Bénédicte Savoy is an award-winning art historian at the TU Berlin. In addition to the Restitution Report, she has recently published Africa's Struggle for its Art. History of a Postcolonial Defeat (2021) and (with Albert Guaffo et al.) Atlas of Absence. Cameroon's Cultural Heritage in Germany (2023).

Prof. Dr Ciraj Rassool is Director of the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape and an academic consultant to many national and international museum and heritage institutions. His publications include The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories and Infrastructures (2015) and Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (2017).