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Accepted Paper:

The Paradoxes of Collaboration: Limits and Possibilities of Participatory Techniques in Revisiting the Colonial Legacy in Catalan Museums  
Laida Memba Ikuga (University of Barcelona) Sarai Martín López (University of Barcelona)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper explores research in provenance studies through the Trafricants Project.Critiques colonial practices in museums, focusing on the Guinean collection at the catalan Museum of Ethnology, and examines how collaborative techniques can challenge neocolonial discourses in museums and academia.

Paper Abstract:

This paper delves into the capabilities and constraints of collaborative techniques applied in provenance studies to critically examine the (neo-)colonial categories and procedures embedded within museum and academic institutions.

This paper reflects on the limitations and possibilities of collaborative research techniques applied in provenance research on ethnographic collections of colonial origin. To illustrate this, the Intercultural Dialogue Tables developed within the "(Tr)african(t)s. Museums and Collections of Catalonia in the Face of Coloniality" project are taken as an example. These tables aim to create spaces for discussion around a selection of images from the artifact and photographic collections of the Catalan museums under analysis. Specifically, the intervention focuses on the roundtables addressing the Guinean collection housed at the Museum of Ethnology and World Cultures, conducted in Barcelona, Bata, and Malabo with various key actors - artists, activists, professionals, and academics - in the diaspora and in Equatorial Guinea.

The conservation, classification, decontextualized exhibition, and uncritical presentation of pieces in European museums are today interpreted as a continuation of the colonialist paradigm and imperial violence. Beyond the biographical traceability of the pieces, the reflection extends to fundamental aspects such as the use of colonial images, the participation and/or instrumentalization of diasporas, or the role that counter-narratives should play in the traceability of these collections and the consequent reformulation of museological discourses. Thus, the presentation addresses the capacities and impossibilities of these participatory approaches to deconstruct the colonial categories that structure neo-colonial discourses and methodologies in museums and academia.

Panel OP071
Doing provenance research otherwise. From undoing colonial epistemologies to pluralising knowledge with museum collections
  Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -