Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos, Nigeria has been selected alongside other five African museums to participate in the ongoing MuseumFutures Africa project with the aim of re-Imagining what an African Museum experience could look like.
MuseumFutures Africa is a Pan-African project established to support the conceptual development of museums throughout the African continent and is spearheaded by the Goethe-Institut and a team of practitioners from the art and museum fields.
The central tenet of the project is to support museums seeking to drive change within their institutions, via facilitated peer-to-peer learning between and within African Museums. Through intra-African dialogue, co-creation, and self-driven study-labs, museums are addressing endemic challenges.
The idea of the project was conceived in the culmination of a series of ‘Museum Conversations’ in 2019, as a means of mobilising museum-driven processes of innovation, transformation, and adaptation.
As such, after an Africa-wide call for applications, a steering committee selected six museums that are characterized by their particular drive to innovate and the commitment to cooperation. The selection also geographically reflects the diverse museum landscape on the continent.
The steering committee consists of Flower Manase (Tanzania), Molemo Moiloa (South Africa), and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja (Namibia) as well as Asma Diakité (Goethe-Institut South Africa), Rainer Hauswirth (Goethe-Institut Côte d’Ivoire), and Nadine Siegert (Goethe-Institut South Africa).
The six successful museums selected were Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University – Lekki, Nigeria, Musée Théodore Monod IFAN Université Cheikh Anta Diop – Dakar, Senegal, and Musée National – Conakry, Guinea.
Others are the National Museums of Kenya – Nairobi, Kenya, Steve Biko Centre – King Williams Town, South Africa, and Uganda Museum – Kampala, Uganda.
“The MuseumFutures Africa project has come at the right time in the history of African museums: museums in Africa are diverging from colonial museology to ‘Africology’ in studying and presenting African histories and culture. This museum curriculum is expected to facilitate the ongoing transformation of African museums and the cultural sector by widening the platform of the museums through engagement with surrounding communities and inter-disciplinary engagement. Hence, the curriculum is structured to value the museum and community contributions to bring about desired change with new ideas, exhibitions, programmes and education packages that inspire a new generation of African experts and museums” a statement from the steering committee stated.
The essential learning processes and innovations initiated by the project are continuously documented and passed on in a publication.
After a first engagement with the curriculum, dealing with self-defined questions such as: What do we want to exhibit and how? How do we want to work together? Or Who is our museum for? The museums are now working in pairings to exchange ideas and form a pan-African network through monthly workshops until September 2021.
The museum pairs are: Musée Théodore Monod IFAN Université Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal) and Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (Nigeria); Musée National (Guinea) and National Museums of Kenya; Steve Biko Centre (South Africa) and Uganda Museum.