MuseumFutures Africa is a people-centered cultural project focussed on museums. It began with a focus on Africa, and expanded its reach to museums across the Global South, with the intention to test, explore and study potentials for new formats of Southern museology.

Study Groups
Arna Jharna Thar Desert Museum
The Conflictorium
Mutare Museum
MajiMaji Museum
Acervo de Laje
Museu Mafalala
Exchanges 2023
Musée National de Guinée
National Museums of Kenya
Steve Biko Centre
Uganda Museum
Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art
Musée Théodore Monod
Exchanges 2021-2
Towards a depiction of ... the experimental / colonial museum
MFA publication 2022
Curriculum 2023
Curriculum 2021
Notes toward a proposal

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MuseumFutures is supported by the     Goethe-Institut


The history of MuseumFutures Africa

MuseumFutures Africa (MFA) as a pan-African, people-centred cultural project working with museums across the continent to test, explore and study potentials for new formats of African museology. Spearheaded by the Goethe-Institut and a team of African practitioners from the art and museum fields, the project was conceived in the culmination of a series of ‘Museum Conversations’ in 2019, as a means of mobilizing museum driven processes of innovation, transformation and adaptation across the African continent.

In its first iteration (2020-2022), the project aimed to find ways in which African museums ‘needs,’ can be turned into productive forms of reconstituting the value and relevance of African museums, both to their immediate and broader constituencies. It engaged six museums on the continent, from West, East and Southern Africa, in a year-long program. In its second iteration (2022-2023), Museum Futures has engaged with museums on the African continent, Brazil and India.
We retain a steering committee of staff from Goethe Institutes across the African continent, as well as cultural professionals in Africa. Hence, we maintain a strong African orientation and see this project as an opportunity to extend this practical conversation about museums and change to colleagues across the Global South.

Read more about MuseumFuture in Museum-iD magazine, Issue 25, Sophia Sanan. MuseumFutures Africa: Creating New Possibilities in African Museology. August 2021

Also see Resources

Study Groups

The MFA project is centred on the formation of localised study groups as the key agents of institutional change. The study groups consist of individuals from within a particular museum (who occupy diverse roles in the museum from director to security staff), who are joined by external stakeholders (community members, artists, teachers etc). The study group serves as a locus of collective experimentation - and is a space for challenge, care, support, peer learning and exploration. 

The study group meets on a regular basis over time and supports the museums in articulating and undertaking conceptual and practical experimentation in their institution. As a result of their collective work, the study group comes to define their own blueprint for institutional change that they can map out into the future planning of their museum.
Participating museums 2023 Museu Mafalala (Mozambique), Arna Jharna Thar Desert Museum (India), Conflictorium Museum of Conflict (India), Mutare Museum (Zimbabwe), Maji Maji Museum (Tanzania), Acervo da Laje (Brazil)

Participating museums 2021 Musée national de Guinée (Guinée), National Museums of Kenya (Kenya), Steve Biko Centre (South Africa), Uganda Museum (Uganda), Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (Nigeria),
Musée Théodore Monod IFAN Ch.A.Diop (Senegal)

Also see Study groups

Can we talk about a Southern Museology?

In 2023, we launched a cross-continental version of MuseumFutures, in which we extended the rhizomal format that we tried and tested through 2020-2022 and engaged six museums from around the world. We are motivated by the conviction that there are strong impulses in the museum worlds of Africa, Brazil and India to rethink museology to be more responsive to local constituents, to acknowledge and move beyond difficult imperial legacies and navigate the complex political present.

There are also entanglements between Africa and Brazil, Africa and India constituted by generations of cultural exchange and encounters resulting from migration, slave trades, globalisations, which remain side-lined by dominant global narratives.
Museums based in the Global South have much to learn from each-others’ strategies, realities and entangled histories but do not often find themselves  in positions of engagement. Instead, global funding often works in ways that strengthen cultural relationships between North/ South. This project offers an exception to that norm.

Also see


The project has produced different versions (in English, French and Portuguese) of a curriculum intended to guide any museum or museum project interested in fostering institutional change. The curriculum provides instruction for (internal) facilitation of group sessions, suggested readings and resources and a series of sequential exercises that work towards a group experiment.

The project has developed resources with collaborative partners that could guide workshops on the theme of: 1) alternative modalities, 2) digitisation in museums 3) networks and partnerships and 4) new approaches to documentation within museum practice 5) decolonial practice in museums 6) repatriation, restitution, return and reparation in museums.

It also has produced reports from the museums, collective reflections on the project and analytic outputs from the many structured online conversations held over 4 years exploring museological practices in the Global South.

Also see Resources.

MuseumFutures project team

Project Team 2021-2023

Sophia Olivia Sanan (project manager), Heeten Bhagat (LAB facilitator and workshop consultant), Mamadou Diallo (French/English interpretation and translation), Marco Valdir Pinto Ramos (Portuguese/English simultaneous interpretation), Nelson Rosa Rodrigues (Portuguese/English simultaneous interpretation), Amadou Keitou Kebe (Portuguese/English translation), Charity Atukunda (commissioned artist), Prachi Joshi  (commissioned artist), Graeme Arendse (graphic designer, curriculum 2023), Francis Burger (web-designer, visual facilitator and consultant)

Steering Committee 2021-2023

Flower Manase (Curator of History at the National Museum and House of Culture, Dar es Salaam), Rainer Hauswirth (director of the Goethe-Institut Cote d’Ivoire since 2020), Asma Diakite (Head of  the cultural program department of the Goethe-Institute for Sub-Saharan Africa), Molemo Moiloa (Works in various capacities at the intersection of creative practice and community organizing, Johannesburg), Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja (performer, educator and writer), Nadine Siegert (Director of the Goethe-Institut Nigeria since 2021)

Facilitators and Project Team 2021

Patrick Mudekereza (workshop facilitator), Chao Tayiana Maina (workshop facilitator), Vumile Mavumengwana (graphic designer, curriculum 2021), Rebecca Corey (curriculum advisor), Tatiana Page (curriculum advisor), Abiti Abedo Nelson (curriculum advisor)

Proto project development & proposal writing team 2020

Flower Manase
, Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Nontobeko Ntombela, Molemo Moiloa, Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, Khwezi Gule