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Accepted Paper:

Zwischenraum - A Space Between - Retrospect, Pandemic, Prospect (2019-2022) Curating Repositioning & Rethinking Space in an "Ethnographic" Museum  
Gabriel Schimmeroth (MARKK)

Paper short abstract:

The paper addresses planning and daily work at the “Zwischenraum - Space Between”: an experimental space at MARKK Hamburg. From inside the institution, it reflects on curatorial challenges and strategies dealing with the "repositioning" of an "ethnographic" museum with colonial heritage in 2021.

Paper long abstract:

In February 2019, the MARKK established the experimental space “Zwischenraum - A Space Between” as a hub and venue for discursive formats and experimental exhibitions to create a space as well as the tools to work on a sustainable repositioning process of the museum. This process has included a new emphasis on German colonial heritage and coloniality/decoloniality, inclusiveness, and new approaches to provenance research and forms of participation. In my paper I aim to illuminate how recent impulses generated through academic critique, postcolonial activism and the new function of museums in global and local (cultural) politics are channeled into the ongoing processes of repositioning in the curatorial practice at the “Zwischenraum - A Space Between”. The paper will provide information on the planning process of the space in 2018, the conceptual work of the first year under the title “Food for Thought”, recent challenges in regard of the pandemic in 2020 as well as future plans of 2021 and 2022. Moreover, it will also contextualize the institutional backstory of the 1990s and 2000s. In doing so, the paper offers a historically grounded and ethnographically informed perspective on the current state and future potential of the MARKK in general and the “Zwischenraum” in concrete. Given the fact that ethnographic museums have turned into highly contested arenas, this approach is of great relevance for understanding the past, mastering the present and reshaping the future of these institutions.

Panel Speak21b
Taking responsibility for colonial heritage in Europe? Perspectives from organisational ethnographies II
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -