Museums as conflict zones or contact zones – a seminar on the role of art museums in de-colonial times

Curator and professor Maria Lind has stated that art museums are much more stable institutions than the other art institutions because they have collections. Collections legitimatise art museums as preservers of culture in society.

However, collections also reveal disruption and disjuncture between the past and the present: Policies of collecting art in the past collide with issues of today concerning repatriation, representation and unsettled conflicts such as who has the right to the art objects and how to display them.

This seminar will look into how art museums can open up to dialogue and discussion and thereby become more active and involved in today’s essential issues such as migration, restitution and changing responsibilities towards the past.


  • Clémentine Deliss (curator, researcher and previous director of Museum der Weltkulturen in Frankfurt):
    Occupy Collections! on access, circulation, and interdisciplinary experimentation, or the urgency of remediating ethnographic collections (before it really is too late).
  • Jérémie M McGowan (artist, designer and director of Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Norway with a PhD in art history and theory from the University of Edinburgh):
    Jérémie M McGowan will present the Sami Art Museum (2017). A museum performance that manifested the demand for alternative histories in order to transform museum spaces, roles and methodologies.
  • Anna Vestergaard Jørgensen (curator and ph.d. student at SMK & KU):
    “Please do it for me? Affective labour in (de)colonial exhibitions” Are art museums free from responsibility when they cooperate with contemporary artists and invite them to use their artistic freedom?

Participation is free but registration is necessary. Sign up here:

The seminar is organized and financed by the national Danish Center for Museum Research, Research Programme in Museology, Aarhus University and Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology, Aarhus University

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PhD Course: Art, Anthropology and Cultural History, Masterclass with Clémentine Deliss

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Graduate School, Arts at Aarhus University


On 12 September Aarhus University (School of Communication and Culture and School of Anthropology) in collaboration with Danish Center of Museum Research host a masterclass with Clémentine Deliss curator, publisher, cultural historian, and former director of the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt.

The aim of the masterclass is to discuss and fine-tune the participants’ individual research questions, as well as to consider new interdisciplinary and methodological issues related to the study of anthropology, cultural history and contemporary art. Clémentine Deliss’s special interest is in questions concerning new research practices around so-called ethnographic collections that deal with issues on restitution, provenance and the decolonialization efforts of museums.

Clémentine Deliss is a curator, publisher and cultural historian. She studied art practice and semantic anthropology in Vienna, Paris, and London and holds a PhD from SOAS, University of London. Between 2010–2015, she directed the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, instituting a new research lab to remediate collections within a post-ethnological context. Exhibitions she curated at the Weltkulturen Museum include “Object Atlas – Fieldwork in the Museum” (2011), “Foreign Exchange (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger” (2014), and “El Hadji Sy – Painting, Politics, Performance” (2015). “From field to factory” she curated for “Hello World. Revising a Collection”, National Galerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (April-August 2018). From 2002–2009, she ran the transdisciplinary collective Future Academy with student research cells in London, Edinburgh, Dakar, Mumbai, Bangalore, Melbourne, and Tokyo. She has acted as an expert consultant for the European Union and is a member of the Scientific Council of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. In 2017-2018 she was Visiting Professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts Paris-Cergy and has an International Chair at the Laboratoire d’Excellence des Arts et Médiations Humaines, Université, Paris 8 and Centre Georges Pompidou. She is currently Interim Professor of Curatorial Theory and Dramaturgical Practice at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Faculty at Large for the MA in Curatorial Practice, SVA, School of Visual Arts, New York, and Mentor for the 2019 Berlin Artists Programme.

The masterclass is organized in connection with the following day (13 September) seminar Museums as conflict zones or contact zones – a seminar on art museums role in a de-colonial age at Aarhus University.

More information and application information:

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