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New approaches to museology – Databases (re)loaded

30 July 2021

“We demand unrestricted access to the museum inventories of African objects in Germany!” wrote more than 200 academics, artists and cultural workers in an open letter to the German Conference of Ministers of Culture in October 2019. Almost two years later, an overview database of Benin bronzes held in German museums was recently published on the website of the Contact Point for Collections from Colonial Contexts – the restitution of looted cultural objects from the Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria) is to begin next year.

In the meantime, several collective and transdisciplinary initiatives of scholars, activists and artists have begun to open up the inventories “from the outside”. In this episode of Latitude on Air we meet two such projects, the International Inventories Programme (IIP) and Mapping Philippine Material Culture. Both projects are creating databases in which they compile, edit and make publicly available data on the material cultural heritage of Kenya and the Philippines, respectively, which is located outside their respective countries. Jim Chuchu and Juma Ondeng’(both IIP), Cristina Martinez-Juanand Lizza May David(both Mapping Philippine Material Culture) will join the conversation.

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