Invitation to Consultative Workshop | Usakos – Making of Common History
The Museums Association of Namibia (MAN) and the Bernisches Historischen Museum (BHM) have the pleasure of inviting all interested, to participate in a consultative workshop on Thursday the 19th of October 2023, which will be hosted by the “Usakos – Making of Common History” project.
This hybrid workshop we hope will catalyse more in-depth research and conversation, is the second of two workshops that will be hosted by the project. The initial one was held at the Usakos Town Council, from Tuesday the 04th of July until Thursday the 06th of July 2023. The second workshop will take place in Bern, Switzerland and will include hybrid sessions to facilitate maximum participation.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Namibian heritage collection of Victor and Marie Solioz came to the Bernisches Historischen Museum (BHM) in 1906. As chief engineer of the Otavi Railway, Victor Solioz was at the forefront of building the colonial infrastructure of the German colonial empire. The artefacts of the Solioz accession are attributed to diverse Namibian communities such as the ǂNūkhoen, Nama, OvaHerero, OvaHimba, Ovawambo/Aawambo and San communities.
The claim to re-develop collections from sensitive colonial contexts requires consistent collaboration with representatives of the descendant communities of the affected areas. During Namibian Heritage Week (18-24 September) 2023, the Usakos Museum Advisory Board and the Project Team embarked on an in-depth research endeavour which included showcasing images of the Solioz collection in the Usakos Museum and conducting interviews with both walk-in museum visitors and scheduled interviews with historians and knowledgeable people in and around Usakos. The interviews and further research will continue to be conducted until the end of the project and all interested in engaging the project are encouraged to contact the project team.
While this is only the first phase, building on previous projects facilitated by the MAN in Usakos, the present project, therefore, has the long-term vision that the Usakos Museum will be a self-organized, professionally managed museum by 2025 and that a jointly developed education program can be set up in both Bern and Namibia based on the BHM Namibia collection. The project is funded mainly by the Historiches Museum Bern in Switzerland and co-founded and administered by MAN, with the support of the Usakos Town Council.
The practical goals to be achieved in stages are as follows:
- The joint preservation of Namibian cultural heritage in Bern and Usakos
- The joint research of the entangled colonial history
- The joint communication of this history in Bern and Usakos
Please find attached the programme of the day including the Zoom link. Do feel free to share it with other people who might be interested in joining us. Online participation does not require registration.
In-Person Participation: Usakos
If you will be in Usakos, you are invited to attend the workshop in person. Please register with email@example.com by the 16th of October 2023 if you are interested in attending physically and indicate whether you want to participate for the whole day or only for certain sessions. If you have already signed up to attend in person, your registration is still valid. Coffee breaks and lunch will be provided by the Usakos Museum Committee in collaboration with the Museums Association of Namibia.
In-Person Participation: Bern
If you will be in Bern, you are invited to attend the workshop in person. Please register with firstname.lastname@example.org by the 11th of October 2023 if you are interested in attending physically and indicate whether you want to participate for the whole day or only for certain sessions. If you have already signed up to attend in person, your registration is still valid. Coffee breaks, lunch and a “Fürabebier” will be provided by the Bernisches Historisches Museum.
We are looking forward to seeing you on the 19th of October!
The Project Team
Usakos – Making of Common History
PS - Save the date: On Monday, the 23rd of October 2023 we are hosting a public evening with a tour through the Solioz collection, as well as presentations and talks. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Larissa Förster (German Lost Art Foundation) and Dr Martha Akawa (University of Namibia) joining us as well. If you are interested, have a look at our events calendar. The event will also be broadcast online.
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