Our Host: Research Center for Material Culture

A weekend update! And this time it’s about the location. We are honored to share with you that the Research Center for Material Culture, located in Leiden (The Netherlands) is hosting our conference, so here is more about them!



The Research Center for Material Culture (RCMC) is a flagship research institute within the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden) and the Afrika Museum (Berg en Dal) that serves as a focal point for research on ethnographic collections in the Netherlands. It is headed by Prof. Dr. Wayne Modest, who will also speak at the Art & Activism conference.

The RCMC’s research projects and programs address the historical and contemporary meanings of their internationally renowned collections, the national and global histories of which they are a part, and the contemporary societal questions around issues of heritage, cultural identity and belonging that these objects raise. The RCMC organizes an annual program of events for scholars and the general public around five broad research themes: Alternative HistoriesCollections, Ethics and ResponsibilityDigitalityMateriality in an Interconnected World; and Rethinking (Re)presentation. 

Two examples of the program based on these research profile areas, and closely related to the conference, are the workshop series Global Earth Matters: Mining, Materiality and the Museum and the Un/Engendered lecture and workshop series. With the latter, the focus lies on the meaning of gender in their collection, taking into account that the majority of ethnographic objects were collected, classified and conserved by men throughout the world. With Global Earth Matters: Mining, Materiality and the Museum, the RCMC focusses on the materiality of objects, opening onto broader questions of labor and making, skills and craftsmanship, on issues surrounding the (exploitative) economies from which these objects emerge. As their website states “we want to push the conversation about museums objects beyond questions of aesthetic quality or (cultural) use, to critically explore the relationship between the materials from which these objects are made and the social world within which they are created or function.”


See also…

RCMC’s website: www.materialculture.nl

And more information on their research profile areas: http://www.materialculture.nl/en/research-themes


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