Deadline: 31 May 2020
Duration of Conference: 28-29 January 2021
Venue: Palais de Rumine, Lausanne, Switzerland
This international conference will take place on January 28-29, 2021 in the framework of the scientific program of the exhibition Exotic? Switzerland Looking Outward in the Age of Enlightenment, which will run from 24 September 2020 to 28 February 2021 at the Palais de Rumine.
This call to participation sees itself as a starting point for the case in Switzerland, inviting international scholars in natural sciences and humanities, as well as museum professionals (in zoology, geology, botany, archaeology, history, history of art and ethnology) to suggest contributions. These should be as much to do with contemporary as historical aspects – both theory and practices – of the general matter of provenance research, restitution and setting up exchange links as well as partnerships with the countries, communities or individuals from the regions from which the collections originate. The aim is to approach the matter in a multi-disciplinary and critical way. This is a non-exhaustive list of the kind of issues we would like the participants to address:
- Discussing contemporary practices in provenance research: their structure, funding and sharing. Who currently benefits from provenance research? Does talking about transparency really serve the interests of source communities and the collections, or is it part of an initiative to advertise and promote heritage institutions?
- Questioning the visibility of the projects that examine the heritage dimension of colonial violence. What “reparations” are being offered to source communities, in particular in terms of new, equitable exchanges with the institutions? What inclusive and decolonizing transformations are taking place within institutions?
- Providing specific examples involving objects held in museums and their connection to the places from which they originated, reflecting critically on this subject and analysing both the benefits and the insoluble limitations or contradictions raised by these processes. On the other hand, could provenance issues provide fertile (albeit somewhat limited) ground for contemporary and activist creativity among artists asserting their affiliation to a source community?
- Examining current and future acquisition policies. For example, how does the Nagoya Protocol, on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation (APA), affect acquisition practices? In what ways do source communities really benefit from such policies?
Proposals for a presentation of up to 20 minutes should not exceed 250-300 words and should include a short biography highlighting selected publications (10 lines maximum). Please submit your proposals by e-mail to
Claire Brizon: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Floriane Morin: Floriane.Morin@ville-ge.chet
Olivier Schinz: Olivier.Schinz@ne.ch,
no later than 31 May 2020. The organisation will cover the travel, accommodation and dining expenses of all selected speakers.
This conference is organized in partnership with the University of Bern, the Swiss National Science Federation, the Ethnography Museum of Geneva, the Ethnography Museum of Neuchâtel and the Palais de Rumine.