October 21 – 24th, 2020 | Online

Decolonizing Museum Cultures and Collections: Mapping Theory and Practice in East-Central Europe

International conference for heritage scholars and practitioners

The conference is an online event aimed at mapping the range of decolonial approaches to museum collections and practices in East-Central Europe.

In recent years, the debate over ‘decolonization’ has reinvigorated the museum and heritage sector globally, with a range of intensities and agendas. International organizations are being called on to reshape cultural institutions, to reorganize knowledge production and recognize its diverse forms, to share power and authority, to account for multiple perspectives, and to confront historical injustice in museum cultures, practices, structures, narratives, and collections.

Post- and decolonial approaches already have a strong foothold in post-socialist Eastern European scholarship and public discourse with regard to the legacies of Russian/Soviet, German/Nazi, Habsburg, Polish, and Ottoman imperialisms. But in practice, the impact of decolonial critique has been limited to temporary interventions rather than more sustainable heritage methods and strategies.

Similarly, the rediscovery of 19th and 20th-century entanglements among East-Central Europe, Asia, and the Global South by historians have been only weakly echoed in the museum sector. Overseas collections in East-Central European museums call for special attention with regard to both their histories and futures.

The conference will be held on Zoom with a daily program scheduled from ca. 1 pm to 9 pm CEST (Warsaw) so that it should be accessible to participants from different time zones. All you need to participate is to register yourself in advance and join us using your own device.

Freelancer having video conference with team

Welcome to conference on decolonizing museums in East-Central Europe 

The conference program includes

four roundtables:

as well as research paper sessions:

There will be also two special events:

not to mention evening networking rooms.

We decided to ask the speakers for shorter, more condensed presentations (of up to 10 minutes) to create a situation in which there will still be a room for discussion, which will allow our audience to engage in conversation.

about the speakers

Paper presenters, roundtable speakers and panel chairs 

The conference will be an opportunity to meet more than 50 speakers dealing with colonial pasts in museums and heritage sites in East-Central Europe. Some of them will present their own papers, some others will take part in roundtables. Among them there are scholars, curators, cultural activists and visual artists.

We are overjoyed to have with us initiators of intellectual debates: Nicholas Boston, Carine Durand, Léuli Eshrāghi, Quinsy Gario, Rado Ištok, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Erica Lehrer, James Mark, Wayne Modest, Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak, Karol Radziszewski, Naomi Recollet, Cynthia Schimming, Joanna Warsza, Jürgen Zimmerer.

Find out more about them and engage in a common conversation about the decolonial.

Young Woman Doing Web Meeting Using Mirrorless Camera

Who we are

The conference is organized within the Horizon2020 project ECHOES by the University of Warsaw, the Museum of Warsaw and the Museum Lab, with an honorary patronage of the Polish National Institute for Museums and Public Collections. Conference partner: The Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw. 
We are here for you

Contact us

Stay in touch with us, using any channel you want.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know!

Conference program

Below you’ll find the schedule for Decolonizing Museum Cultures and Collections: Mapping Theory and Practice in East-Central Europe. We’ll keep this page regularly updated with changes, so be sure to keep checking in!

Download Conference Materials

Check our downloads section for the official conference materials, such as the conference program, the book of abstracts and the call for papers. You may also find there an official press release about the conference. Please note that additional materials provided individually by the conference participants are published next to their abstracts and bios.

Register Now For the Conference 

The conference will be held online on Zoom. If you want to take part in the event, you need to register yourself in advance, using the form. After registration we will come back to you with links to the conference platform and technical instructions on how to meaningfully use it for taking part in panels, the Q&As and networking. 
Conference participants already registered. Join them!

Have Questions?

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