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The Collaborative Museum – Forging New Paths in Transcultural Museum Work

The Museum für Asiatische Kunst of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin places an explicit emphasis on transcultural collaboration when curating its programme. In a large-scale project running until the end of 2025 called The Collaborative Museum, it will work together with the Ethnologisches Museum to produce multiperspectival approaches to exploring the collections, and will test out new formats for collaborating with an international community of museums and academics, as well as with contemporary artists. In doing so, the museum strives to decolonise and diversify our work.

The Museum für Asiatische Kunst is guided in its methods and practices of collecting, presenting and conserving artefacts, as well as its education and outreach endeavours, by the prevailing artistic and academic traditions, theories, and standards of value in the communities of origin – with visual cultures and the arts always at the forefront. Contemporary artistic approaches offer an essential and often critical contribution to how we might expand and critically engage with the collections as we move forward. When collaborating with artists, the Museum für Asiatische Kunst focusses on approaches and perspectives from the relevant regions of origin, while also opening up its collections more broadly to individuals whose working or creative practices deal either with the objects held in the museum collections or the themes to which these objects relate.

Online Offers of the Transcultural Collaboration

Podcast

Logo Podcast: „Gegen die Gewohnheit“
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethnologisches Museum / Museum für Asiatische Kunst

“Gegen die Gewohnheit” (Going Against the Grain) – New Forms of Collaboration

Cooperation and Collaboration

Many collaborations enhance our understanding of the intricacies and nuances of global interconnections and enable us to foster a contemporary and forward-looking approach to our collections. This does not begin and end with restitution; it includes extensive processes of negotiation that take into account a range of different interests, diverse practices of knowledge acquisition, and global disparities.

The consensus that is reached with regard to each respective collaborative endeavour is shaped and supported in a spirit of commitment and mutual respect by everyone at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst. Together, the museum staff strives to make the collections and their history as transparent and accessible as possible and to share them with the general public.

International Fellowship Programme

One of the central components of the project The Collaborative Museum is a fellowship programme aimed at international artists, researchers, community representatives, and workers in a range of cultural fields. The programme offers grants for academic or artistic research projects and provides fellows with the opportunity to critically interrogate the collections and their contexts of meaning through their work, to experiment with new research approaches, to develop interventions in the field of contemporary art, or to work together with curators to generate new impulses in transcultural museum work. Transparency and opening up new forms of access are key focuses of this work, as is ensuring the participation of a diversity of disciplines, individuals, cultural perspectives, and voices. The fellowship programme is particularly interested in supporting early-career academics and emerging artists in their professional development.

Note

The Museum für Asiatische Kunst recognises the value of its holdings for the global community, especially the communities of origin. The so-called “objects” or “exhibits” cannot be reduced to mere things or artefacts but must be acknowledged as “cultural belongings”. They mediate relationships between people, places, and cultural and artistic practices related to the past, future, and present.