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SYMPOSIUM

Repatriation/Restitution/Reparation:

African Art in the UVM Fleming Museum

November 4-6, 2021

During the registration process you will be able to register for one or as many events as you wish to attend, based on capacity. All offerings are free and open to the general public.

Please Note: The University of Vermont requires masks in all indoor spaces, including the Fleming Museum of Art.

Register for the Symposium

 

DAY 1: REPATRIATION

Dan Hicks, Author of "The Brutish Museums" (2020)
Thursday, November 4

Repatriation centers on the return of objects that were stolen from communities in Africa as part of European colonialism. The presence of these plundered objects in Euro-American museums contributes to ongoing imperial relationships and perspectives. The discussion will center on what has become the signal event at stake in discussions of repatriation: The Benin Massacre of 1897 in which British troops invaded Benin city, killed an unknown number of civilians and other residents of the community, and destroyed the palace. As part of this colonial violence thousands of art works—sculptures, brass plates, carvings—were taken. Many of these objects may now be found in museum collections across Europe and the United States, including the Queen Mother sculpture at UVM’s Fleming Museum. The discussions on this day will focus on WHY repatriation is necessary and HOW museums should undertake this process.

KEYNOTE LECTURE: “The Brutish Museums

10:00 am, Virtual Lecture

  • Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, Oxford University & Curator of World Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum. Author of The Brutish Museums (2020)

A video recording of Dan Hick's
keynote lecture is available here

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Repatriation—Processes & Politics

3pm, Fleming Museum

RESOURCES:

DAY 2: RESTITUTION

Peju Layiwola, Professor of Art History, University of Lagos
Friday, November 5

Restitution is a way for communities that were harmed to remake themselves in the face of what was taken from them: for communities in Africa from whom people and objects were stolen, to try to account for and move on from those losses, and for Black communities in the diaspora to reckon with and remake their connections to Africa and to each other. The discussion will center on artistic practices of memory and activism that help restore the past, present, and future of Black life in the wake of colonialism, the slave trade, and imperialism (Sharpe 2016). We will examine how Black artists reconcile with the past and look towards the future through an engagement with activism, Artificial Intelligence, performance, and other technologies and practices of remediation.

KEYNOTE LECTURE: “Benin 1897: Artist Intervention & the Restitution Issue”

10am, Virtual Lecture

A video recording of Peju Layiwola's
keynote lecture is available here

ARTIST TALK: From There to Here:  Bridges of Connection Between Shanta Lee Gander’s Dark Goddess and the Fleming Museum Archives

1pm, Marble Court, Fleming Museum

 

ARTIST WORKSHOP: Using Artificial Intelligence to Imagine Alternate Pasts, Presents & Futures

3pm, UVM Fabrication Lab

RESOURCES:

DAY 3: TAKING ACTION

Prof. Loka Losambe
Saturday, November 6

The final event of the symposium will be a roundtable discussion, led by Prof. Loka Losambe that reflects on the lessons learned through the previous day’s events. Participants will be asked to help formulate future steps that the Fleming Museum, the University of Vermont, and the Burlington community can and should take to move towards repatriation of objects in the museums’ collection and to support efforts of restitution for African and Black heritage and community..

CLOSING CONVERSATION: “Taking Action”

10:30AM,  Learning Studio, Fleming Museum

  • Members of the Public Encouraged to attend and participate

Register for the Symposium

This symposium is generously supported by the UVM Humanities Center and the Fleming Museum of Art. Additional funds were provided by the Departments of Anthropology, Art & Art History, English, and Religion, as well as the Programs in African Studies and Global Studies.

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The Fleming Reimagined: Dismantling Historical Oppression and Confronting Institutional Racism

The staff at the Fleming Museum have been reckoning with how to become an anti-racist museum that’s more responsive, relevant, and inclusive. We want to know what you think about our ongoing conversations about our values and priorities.

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