TheMuseumsLab 2023 – residency at the Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg


Glada forskare i föremålsmagasinet

At the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, curators Helen Arfvidsson
and Thea Skaanes prepared an elaborated program through which we got the chance to glimpse likewise into the day to day work of the museum‘s staff and the overall topics of each field of activity. During our two-week stay, we had the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with curators and program coordinators in Gothenburg about their and our working areas. This gave us a good impression of how the possibilities and challenges of current museum work and related questions are negotiated in Sweden. This newly gained perspective is a fruitful addition to the eventful exchange we had with our African and European colleagues from the MuseumsLab 2023 during the previous two weeks of our program in Berlin.

Our colleagues from the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg invited us to give a workshop at the end of our stay in which we were given the opportunity to share our point of view on their permanent exhibition Crossroads. Besides many visits to the permanent exhibition, insightful exchange took place with various people involved in the conceptualization, production and educational program of Crossroads. On top, several research trips to other museums around the city informed our understanding of Gothenburg’s communities and their expectations and wishes for their museums. On this basis we developed a draft paper with reflections on the status quo of Crossroads and shared thoughts and ideas on how to keep a permanent exhibition up to date in a constantly changing world. In our final workshop we presented our paper and came into a lively and productive discussion about the exhibition, its possibilities and challenges, with colleagues from the museum’s collection department, curatorial and production team, program coordination and education.

Helens bild 2.jpg

Another highlight of our residency was a visit to the museum‘s storage where Nagwa Bakr was able to identify and explain some objects in the museum‘s collection from modern Egypt that are still used until today. A joyful encounter for everyone that only stresses how ethnographic museums and their collections are not simply reminiscences on past events and histories but embedded in our present times.

We are very thankful for being hosted at the museum by a welcoming and engaging team of colleagues whose work deeply inspired us and where our professional backgrounds were appreciated in such a way that the residency led to a mutual exchange. We sincerely wish to continue this newly build relationships and network.

Written by Nagwa Bakr (Egypt) and Asta von Mandelsloh (Germany)

Posted by Helen Arfvidsson