APA-Dakar (Senegal) In the face of growing global cultural challenges, the Forum held in Dakar on April 25-27, bringing together African and European museum leaders, offered a unique opportunity to create synergies and explore new horizons for cooperation between the two continents.
This historic meeting outlines the contours of a collaborative and ambitious future, highlighting the importance of sustainable multilateral partnerships to address the challenges of heritage, education and cultural dissemination.
From April 25 to 27, the city of Dakar hosted a unique meeting: a Forum bringing together nearly 60 museum leaders from 38 countries in Africa and Europe.
The objective of this meeting was to lay the groundwork for strengthening collaboration between cultural
institutions on both continents and to explore the possibilities of sustainable multilateral partnerships.
For the first time ever, key actors from the museum world, such as directors, curators and cultural management experts, came together to share their experiences and best practices. Workshops, conferences and debates were organized to identify the challenges and opportunities for a sustainable partnership between African and European museums.
Above all, this forum marks the starting point of a global network facilitating exchanges and collaborations between museums from both continents.
“Faced with current challenges, such as the preservation of heritage, the restitution of works of art or the digitisation of collections, a multilateral and long-term partnership appears essential,” said Professor Hamady Bocoum, Director General of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar.
As for Gryseels Guido, former Director General of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium, he insists: “this meeting is a real turning point in our approach to cultural collaboration. Together, we are able to not only preserve our shared heritage, but also create opportunities for learning and exchange for future generations.”
Together, the participants commit to working to define a “concrete” plan of action, including cooperative projects, training programs, and skills exchanges. These initiatives should help strengthen the capacity of African museums to preserve, educate and disseminate culture, it is expected.
Africa, a land of history and culture, is already home to major museums such as the Museum of Black Civilizations in Senegal, inaugurated with great fanfare by President Macky Sall, which highlights African history and cultures as well as those of the diaspora.
The ‘Musée Théodore Monod d’Art Africain,’ meanwhile, brings together collections of traditional and contemporary art from the continent, revealing works by contemporary African artists who explore themes of identity, politics and society through various forms of artistic expression, such as painting, sculpture, photography and video.
Another significant example is the future Abomey Museum in Benin, which will house works from the Abomey Treasure, a testament to the country’s rich culture and history. 26 works from this treasure were returned to Benin by France last year. This ambitious project illustrates the importance of partnerships between museums for the
development of cultural infrastructure in Africa, promoting an exchange of ideas and know-how that transcends borders.
For the participants, this unique forum in Dakar paves the way for a new era of cooperation between museums in Africa and Europe, against the backdrop of the creation of a global network.