Conference "Politics of Collecting and Knowledge Production," University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin (November 21–22, 2019)


This workshop is organized by the research and exhibition project "Researching Collecting" carried out by the Centre for Collection Development in Göttingen and the University of Applied Sciences Berlin, and is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Based on Göttingen’s ethnographic and natural history collections, it aims to challenge methodologies and techniques of research and documentation of the global heritage.

In modern societies, the production of knowledge is closely associated with discipline in every sense of the word. It defines the standards of "Western" methodologies and classifications, of academic disciplines and institutions as universal, whereas at the same time appropriating or excluding local or "indigenous" knowledge and its respective global agents. Critical Museum Studies and Critical Heritage Studies reflect on the hierarchies of knowledge that exist in ethnographic and natural history collections and exhibitions in terms of their colonial legacy. Decolonizing knowledge and collections requires tracing how objects were acquired and translocated as well as the collaboration of diverse communities. It reveals the influence of local academic or "indigenous" knowledge and its subsequent suppression, and highlights its current relevance for assuming political and ecological responsibility.