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

Study Groups

Museum Futures Southern Museology’s aimed to nurture an imaginative collective process driven by 6 different museums in Africa, India and Brazil. Scroll down or use the menu for an overview of each museum, some of their core institutional concerns, their study groups, and a custom illustration by Kampala-based artist Charity Atukunda.

Museum exchanges 2023

After 9 months of virtual exchanges, the 6 museums that we worked with in 2023 made in person trips to visit each-other’s institutions, towns, and homes. Each museum selected one representative to travel across the world to experience a few days of life with their partner museum community. The first travel exchange took place between the Conflictorium, Museum of Conflict in Ahmedabad and the Mutare Museum in Mutare, Zimbabwe. From Mutare, museum curator Chiedza Zhahare made the trip and from the Conflictorium visual content designer Vaidehi Sadiwala travelled across the Indian ocean.

The Conflictorium’s visual designer Vaidehi Sadiwala shared some moments from her travels through Zimbabwe: “indigenous artists display their works at the tourist centric places, on the ground (mostly sculptures ), from far view it seems like a graveyard but it had some of the best sculptures I've ever seen”. Having the chance to visit museums, cultural spaces and galleries in Harare too, Vaidehi shared “exposure to the contemporary art scene of Zimbabwe was one of best experiences I had there.

About the Mutare museum, Vaidehi reflected that it was “a kind museum I've been visiting since my childhood. Fancy antique stuff and historical records. It really brought out the inner child in me and I could feel the curiosity and fascinated by their collection of wild species from leopard to butterflies. And an amazing transportation collection too. I don't know why but the colour I sense in the Conflictorium was the same in the Mutare museum, brown tone and a bit dark. Kind of gives an old and rustic sense to the museum”.

For Chiedza, “Conflictorium Museum is a unique museum with different exhibits from Mutare Museum. I found the museum theme closer to reality as it seeks to address conflict issues. I had an appreciation of their interactive displays. I was attracted to the Conflictorium space because of the exhibits, the one which read 'NO MORE SHALL I WEAVE A GARMENT OF PAIN' and the 'SORRY TREE' have found a place in my heart. In regards to conflict narratives and exhibits around that we hope for future collaborations with Conflictorium to develop a museum that focuses on liberation war heritage”.
The second travel exchange took place between Maji Maji Memorial Museum (Songea, Tanzania) and Arna Jharna Desert Museum (Rajasthan, India). Curator and director of the Maji Maji Balthazar Nyamusya and director of Arna Jharna Kuldeep Kothari travelled rather vast distances together - getting to know each-others museum worlds and study groups. Travel between rural destinations in Africa and India is a little more complex than flying between capital cities, and requires alot from the local teams to make everything happen!

Speaking from a potter's home in rural Rajasthan, India, Kuldeep Kothari narrated: “after Balthazar’s arrival yesterday evening we went to a potters family in a village called Banad near Jodhpur, to meet one Hindu potter family (Bhairon Lal) and one muslim potter family (Rajak). These families have been doing pottery work for generations making all kinds of utility pottery. Right from storage to cooking food in it”. As the visit to Rajasthan came to a close, Balthazar reflected: “When I was in India I witnessed a lot of documented folklore and most intangible heritage: more than 10,000 pieces in Kuldeep's archive… In fact he and his colleagues have done a lot! It is high time through the global south museology to support such initiatives. All in all - preservation of culture is not a solo activity”.

Once the duo reached Songea in Tanzania, Kuldeep shared with us some of his experiences: “we have been meeting with communities/ tribes and museum staff. Young people from the museum who are very enthusiastic. We also discussed how to preserve cultural material, oral traditions, and intangible cultural heritage of the regional tribes. Their surroundings are very interesting for documentation”.

Of concern to the Maji Maji museum is the relationship between the physical space of the museum and the active cultural, political and social life of the region of Songea. Far from hosting and preserving fading practices or unused objects, the Maji Maji museum (through its staff and engaged community) plays an active role in important moments like coronation ceremonies.  When Kuldeep Kothari visited the Majimaji museum, such a celebration was incidentally taking place. Balthazar and Kuldeep witnessed a coronation ceremony in which “ten chief’s of Ngoni tribes who were newly elected took part. During the ceremony, one Supreme Chief and the ten other Chiefs and hundreds of villagers gathered to mark the occasion in Songea districts in the Ruvuma region of Tanzania”
Finally, Ivan Laranjeira - director of Museu Mafalala in Maputo and Jose Eduardo Ferreira Santos - co-founder of Acervo da Laje, Salvador crossed the Atlantic to exchange experiences, ideas and plans for the future!

On spending time in Mozambique Jose Eduardo describes “(i)t was a very rich conversation that helped to share good practices between the institutions and, above all, to think about the collective memory of the suburbs and peripheries as marginalized and neglected spaces. However, they are impregnated with talent, memory and socio-cultural, political and economic dynamics that define who we are. On the other hand, the thinking and philosophy of Mafalala Museu and Acervo da Laje lies in the importance of creating and promoting alternative narratives through audiovisual (sound, photography and video) and the documentation and creation of archives as factors of emancipation and empowerment. The importance of this dialog between museums from the global south is reflected in an approach that questions the aesthetics and classic patterns of colonial curatorial processes. Redefining paradigms and shaping futures”.

With this last visit, the importance of such South-South collaborations was really underscored. Aside from also appearing on Mozambiquan National TV, Jose and Ivan made waves in the cultural scenes of Maputo and Salvador.

Here are a few of the articles covering their exchange below.

Jornal Domingo (article)
Mercado Creativo (interview)
Alô Alô Bahia (article)
Aratu On (article)
Mbenga (article)