Planetary Patchwork
Upcoming Session
Back with a new series of sessions from October 2022 onwards ♾
Archive
Ece Canlı (Porto)
Beneath the Thick Skin, Behind the Brick Wall
Robert Glas (Rotterdam)
On the film-installation '1986 Or A Sphinx's Interior'
Łukasz Stanek (Manchester)
Socialist Worldmaking
Dawit Benti (Addis Ababa)
Challenges of Urban Heritage Conservation during State-Led Gentrification of Addis Ababa's City Centre
Taputukura Raea (Wellington) & Digital Pasifik
Re-Claiming Pacific History - Making Pacific Cultural Heritage Visible and Accessible
Laura Ammann (Berlin)
The Appeal of the Colonial Baroque to the Brazilian Modernists
Paul Basu (Bonn/London) & Ozioma Onuzulike (Nsukka) & Ikenna Onwuegbuna (Nsukka)
[Re:]Entanglements: Colonial Collections in Decolonial Times
Between Zones of Conflict and the Realm of Dreams: Planetary Perspectives on Film and Filmmaking
Workshop I
Mykola Ridnyi (Kyiv)
Mariana Martínez-Bonilla (Mexico-City)
Yashaswini Raghunandan (Bangalore)
Chihab El Khachab (Oxford)
Christian Thiam (Dakar)
Roundtable: Fide Dayo (Rome) & Norma Gregory (Nottingham)
Alyssa K. Barry (Dakar)
Navigating the Digital Spaces
Ndapewoshali Ndahafa Ashipala (Windhoek) & Tuuda Haitula (Windhoek) & Museums Association of Namibia
Museum Development as a Tool for Strengthening Cultural Rights – A Case Study
Njabulo Chipangura (Manchester)
Community Museums in Zimbabwe as an Alternative Form of Representing Living Cultures
Annalisa Bolin (Kalmar) and David Nkusi (Kigali)
Decolonizing Heritage Management in Rwanda: Community Engagement and Homegrown Solutions
Chantal Umuhoza (Kigali)
Decolonizing Conservation Practices in Rwanda Museums
Alessandra Ferrini (London)
Unruly Connections
Hiba Shalabi (Tripoli) with translation by Malak Altaeb (Tripoli/Paris)
#SaveTheOldCityOfTripoli
Banji Chona (Rome)
Ngoma zya Budima: Exploring Grief and Death, Celebrating Life and Love, Batonga Drum Story
Victoria Phiri (Lusaka), Samba Yonga (Lusaka) & Mulenga Kapwepwe (Lusaka) & the Women’s History Museum Zambia
Decolonization of Cultural Objects in the Process of Restitution and Repatriation. The Case of Zambian Cultural Objects in Swedish Museums
Schedule
No upcoming sessions
March 15
Annalisa Bolin (Kalmar) and David Nkusi (Kigali)
Decolonizing Heritage Management in Rwanda: Community Engagement and Homegrown Solutions

What does it mean to decolonize heritage? In addition to rethinking narratives presented in heritage, such an effort also includes changing management practices. Nyanza District, Rwanda, a "cultural and historical hub," boasts of many heritage resources, from museums to culturally significant natural sites to built structures. But even as these are being developed into tourist destinations, local residents do not feel they benefit from heritage development or that they have a meaningful connection to heritage sites. This gap between communities and their heritage is, in part, a legacy of colonial modes of heritage management in Rwanda that proceed from the top down.

  • © Annalisa Bolin

Using research with community members and heritage professionals, we examine the possibilities for decolonizing heritage management in Nyanza. Based on interviews with local leaders, we suggest that transferring responsibility for heritage to communities, as community members, scholars, and heritage professionals have advocated in other contexts, would help to change this situation of alienation and failure to benefit. More broadly, we argue that this approach serves the Rwandan attempt to decolonize the nation by rooting out vestiges of colonial practices and creating "Rwandan solutions to Rwandan problems." This indicates not only that heritage management can be decolonized in Rwanda, but that communities have in fact already identified ways in which changes to management can be aligned with the greater national priority of decolonization, offering a promising roadmap for change.

  • © Annalisa Bolin
  • © Annalisa Bolin
Chantal Umuhoza (Kigali)
Decolonizing Conservation Practices in Rwanda Museums

In 2020, Rwanda museums started a 10-year project of Decolonising Museums, in collaboration with Royal Museum for Central Africa. The Ethnographic Museum is the first museum that opened to the public in September 1989 following a relocation from its previous premises in 1956, as the collection was ever-growing and increasingly varied since first acquisitions done from 1946. The collections were collected mostly by Belgian and Rwandan researchers; the narratives were done with colonial perspective that distorts Rwandan history.

  • Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda © Chantal Umuhoza

Why decolonizing conservation practices?

For centuries and centuries, most of the ethnographic collections were part of Rwandans’ life, they were used, cared for and repaired by Rwandans. With their new environment “Museum”, and new “narratives and European conservation practices” made most of Rwandans feel uncomfortable and not welcomed.

  • Royal drum “Nanguburundi”, 17th century ©Chantal Umuhoza
  • Pot nicknamed “Rwambonyingabo”, 17th century ©Chantal Umuhoza

Decolonizing conservation practices has the purpose of rethinking the narratives where everyone’s story can be told and make our museum more open, engaging and inclusive; a place where our community will be encouraged to share their experience, traditional skills in conservation and creativity. To Achieve this, Rwanda Museums is willing to involve everyone from outside and inside the museum to make sure that every voice is heard.