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Transcultural Collaboration

The Museum für Asiatische Kunst of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin places an explicit emphasis on transcultural cooperation when curating its programme. In addition to collaborating with an international community of museums and academics, the Museum für Asiatische Kunst also considers collaboration with contemporary artists to be an integral component this work. It is through our collaborative endeavours that we are able to expand our interpretation of the museum’s historical collections to encompass new perspectives. Museum objects offer a material catalyst for reactivating relationships and dialogues between the museum and the objects’ respective communities of origin. Our goal is to ensure these relationships are as dynamic, equitable and meaningful as possible in the interest of all involved.

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 artistic and academic traditions, theories, and standards of value relevant to each object’s culture 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 cultures 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.

Collaboration enhances our understanding of the intricacies and nuances of global interconnections and enables us to foster a contemporary and forward-looking approach to the objects in our collections. This does not begin and end with restitution; it includes extensive processes of negotiation that encompass 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.