Foundations Laid For an Ambitious Multilateral Partnership Programme Among Museums in Africa and Europe

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Foundations Laid For an Ambitious Multilateral Partnership Programme Among Museums in Africa and Europe

The Museum of Black Civilisations hosted an international forum bringing together 60 African and European museum directors from 38 countries to strengthen partnerships among museums in Africa and Europe.

The objective of this first edition was to set up a network that will implement an ambitious multilateral partnership programme among museums in Africa and Europe.

During the Dakar meeting, museum directors jointly defined the priorities of such a programme. They laid the foundation for creating a framework for exchange and mutual support, forging lasting connections among museums, and strengthening their role in society. They engaged with potential supporters who can contribute to its sustainability.

“Uniting 60 museum directors from Africa and Europe is an historic event. A network was born in Dakar; a forum allowing museums and partners to forge a shared future. A big step forward, with a long and exciting road ahead of us to foster mutual understanding” said Hamady Bocoum, Director of the Museum of Black Civilisations of Dakar and Chairman of the Steering Committee, and Guido Gryseels, Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee.

Three major themes were discussed to build the museums of tomorrow: Collections, Exhibitions and Empowerment. The 60 museum directors adopted the DECLARATION OF DAKAR :

We, directors of museums from 38 countries in Africa and Europe, gathered at the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar from April 25 to 27, 2023, affirm our ambition to build together a common future in a perspective of dialogue between cultures of which Léopold Sedar Senghor was one of the greatest advocates.

Convinced that museums have a major role to play in promoting peace and mutual understanding, together we commit ourselves to build and strengthen partnerships in order to meet contemporary challenges and transmit to future generations a spirit of mutual trust and respect.

The primary function of museums is to bridge yesterday, today and tomorrow, here and elsewhere, and to promote mutual understanding. Our museums should therefore not be places of nostalgia but be dynamic inspirations for forward looking contemporary heritage. We have long locked the heritage of Africa in an ethnographic vision, yet it is a living wealth, with potential due to the strength of the images whose interpretation build today’s and future society.

We are committed to mobilize our efforts to document, preserve and reinterpret with the communities, collections in Africa and Europe and make them available to the public through digitization, research, education and exhibitions. We will rethink together our practices by relying more on endogenous knowledge and expertise and better adapt to climate issues and work on environmentally friendly spaces. We consider that the development of joint traveling exhibitions, with multiple partners, circulating in Africa and Europe is an instrument for transforming the narratives that build our vision of the world and for promoting our renewed committed partnerships.

These ambitions inspired us to build a sustainable network in consistence with global cultural governance in the field of museums as embodied by UNESCO.
We commit ourselves here collectively and individually, each in our country, to promote this vision.

60 museum directors from 28 African countries participated including Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but also from 10 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and United Kingdom).

Image : Elimane Fall

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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