The workshop aims to consider curatorial acts in constituting object collections or in archival processes in private or institutional settings. It explores the mechanisms of creating individual or public heritages and focus on the shifts of meaning in life histories of such ensembles of things.
The act of creating collections is not just a specialist museum practice but can also be understood as the mechanism in determining assembling things in private lives. Decisions of keeping or disposing of things, the form of care and presentation of such collections inscribe meaning and subsequent changes in the ensembles and arrangements are curatorial means that shift the perspective. The workshop invites contributions that reflect the caring and collecting of objects from a broad perspective. These could range from the creation of shrine-like arrangements of objects in private homes that constitute the self as an idealised subject to tendencies of creating private art foundations on the African continent. Such private enterprises could become powerful counterparts to the public institutions whose collections and missions date back to the colonial times, and offer new perspectives in collection-building and representation of cultural heritage. Ethnographic museums in Europe on the other hand work hard on inscribing new meaning to their assembled material belongings and experience difficulties in formulating contemporary collection strategies in the postcolonial context.