17 June International conference on the decolonisation of museums - ICOM Working Group on Decolonisation

Attention: the activity has already taken place

Activities data

  • Date
  • Time -
  • Location Smallepad 5, 3811 MG Amersfoort + online

Put in my diary

The concept of decolonising museums means different things in different parts of the world. ICOM, the International Council of Museums, established a Working Group on Decolonisation. The Working Group will meet in June in the Netherlands, and during this conference they will share experiences from their daily practice, offering a broad variety of perspectives.

Speakers from Barbados, Benin, Canada, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Taiwan and Zambia, as well as from European countries, will shed light on what decolonisation means for their work. Many museums were established through colonialism. Discussions will include how to decolonise archival and artifact collections, how to work with diaspora communities and Indigenous peoples to reconcile colonial histories, how to renew conventional colonial museums and unpack colonial legacies, how to build a museum in the post-colonial era, the challenges countries and communities of origin meet in claiming back their cultural belongings, and what working in this field implies for the wellbeing of museum staff.

All speakers and moderators are members of the ICOM Working Group on Decolonisation. The conference is organised by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, in collaboration with ICOM, ICOM Netherlands, DutchCulture and Unesco NL.


Admission to this event is free. You can register via the button below and choose your preference for participation (online or Amersfoort).

This event has reached its maximum capacity on location. You can still register for online participation.


Time Item
9.30 Doors open
9.55 Online walk-in

Welcome, Susan Lammers (General director Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands)

Introduction, Hanna Pennock (Senior advisor, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands)


Body art and its origin in Igbo Land, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, Ozueigbo Chinedu Ishola (Assistant director National Museum of Colonial History, Aba, Nigeria) 

International approaches to decolonisation?! The exhibition "Hey Hamburg, do you know Duala Manga Bell?", Suy Lan Hopmann (Programme curator, Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Germany)

Balancing act: Nurturing staff wellbeing amidst challenging histories in museum collections, Abeer Eladany (Curatorial Assistant (Collection Access), University of Aberdeen, Scotland)

11.20 Break

Development of the museums in post-colonial Pakistan, Asma Ibrahim (Director Archives & Art Gallery, State Bank Museum, Karachi, Pakistan)

museum as landscape, not portrait..., prachi (Freelance museum design consultant, New Delhi, India)

12.30 Lunch

Colonial memories and migrant narratives at the Museum of Ethnology and World Cultures, Barcelona, Camila Opazo (Doctoral candidate in Society and Culture, University of Barcelona, Spain)

Incorporating cultural diversity into the efforts in raising awareness of sustainability issues: An approach to decolonising the museum, Phaedra Fang (Assistant researcher, National Taiwan Museum, Taipeh, Taiwan)

Unpacking colonial legacies through co-curatorship: Perspectives from Barbados, Natalie McGuire (Curator Social History and Community Engagement, Barbados Museum & Historical Society, Barbados)

14.45 Break

Decolonising the photographic archives of Benin, Carly Degbelo (Director, Diocesan Centre for Religious Heritage, Porto-Novo, Benin)

Canadian perspectives following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Catherine Cole (Principal Consultant at Catherine C. Cole & Associates, Canada)

The complexities of restitution and repatriation efforts for Africans, Terry Simioti Nyambe (Museum development officer, National Museums Board, Lusaka, Zambia)

16.30 Drinks

The symposium will be moderated by Isabel Beirigo, Rachelle Kalee and Hanna Pennock.

Speakers and moderators