4 Museums - 4 Opportunities

Research Fellowship Programme for African Curators at German Museums

Four German museums with African collections launch a scholarship programme "4 Museums - 4 Opportunities" for African curators, researchers, education and learning specialists, artists, and practitioners: The State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony with its museums in Leipzig, Dresden, and Herrnhut, as part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Museum am Rothenbaum - Kulturen und Künste der
Welt (MARKK) in Hamburg, the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne and the Linden-Museum Stuttgart. The initiative is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation with 408.000 Euros.

The aim of the funding is to support the museums in their comprehensive process of transformation to decolonise their museum practice and to establish a new ethic of cooperation with the African continent. The research fellowship invites African candidates to pursue their own exhibition, outreach, or research project, to contribute to the overall development of the museum, and to thereby expand upon their individual professional experience.

The four selected museums have been contributing to the German debate on colonial heritage and restitution for a number of years and are undergoing a reflexive, comprehensive transformation process. As part of this process, they are striving for a responsible approach to the collections and their history, for new forms of presentation and collection practices, as well as for transdisciplinary and collaborative formats in academic research, exhibitions, and outreach. The fellows are invited to actively contribute to this process in order to create an ethically responsible and timely museum practice that enables interpretive sovereignties to be renegotiated and multi-layered museum histories to be told beyond the Eurocentric perspective. This can only be achieved through participatory, collaborative and cooperative formats in partnership with the societies and communities who once created and used the objects that museums now hold.

The two-year fellowships also include a budget for the implementation of an exhibition, a programme, an educational or research project at the respective museum, a budget for cultivating relationships or conducting research on the African continent in support of this project, and a travel budget for exchange and collaboration with the fellows based at the other museums.

The call for applications will be published from October 2022 onwards and the fellowships are scheduled to start in early 2023.

[18 October 2022]

Press release (pdf)