Artistic Research in Museums and Communities in the process of Repatriation from Europe
On the project website you can read and see more: https://repatriates.org/What innovations to the repatriation of cultural property can be performed by making new originals? REPATRIATES is a collective research project studying what happens when major museums in Europe are asked to return objects from their collections to communities that feel a deep connection with those objects. There are often complex political, historical, legal, and emotional dimensions to the repatriation of such cultural objects. We explore what is happening right now in several current international case studies of these kinds of return (repatriation) requests. The case studies are: Austria to Mexico; United Kingdom to Australia; France to Nigeria; and Germany to Namibia. We use different kinds of research methods to try to understand these complex interactions. We interview community members from all sides of the story whose opinions and experiences should be heard, and we work alongside museum professionals in collections to understand museum points of view. We are interested in what happens to people, places and things when such objects are returned (repatriated) to the communities that want to have them returned. We are also commissioning and creating new artworks that can stand in and relate to objects that are being returned (repatriated). We are interested in different ideas of what ‘property’ might be, especially for societies and communities that emphasise reciprocal relationships and exchanges rather than individual material accumulations such as collections. In the REPATRIATES project, multiple voices are gathered together for artistic research and fieldwork in order to produce a series of new artworks, films, books, workshops and exhibitions that will help to define the significance and future potential of repatriation of cultural heritage from museums to communities. The purpose of this project is to better understand people’s relationships to objects, their subjectivity, and the meaning of their return.