Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow Day 1 – A Warm Welcome

Arts and Creative Industries

The Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow convening took place from 13th to 15th February 2024 at the Homecoming Centre in District Six, Cape Town. 

From the earliest hours of 13 February, day one of the convening, speakers and delegates from across the globe prepared to enter District Six – an area rich in heritage that holds a significant history and memory for South Africans and the inhabitants who were forcibly removed during apartheid.

This historical atmosphere lingered over this convening, which engaged in discussions, workshops and pecha kuchas that reflected on diverse communities, delved into the practices and institutions responsible for housing and managing our histories, and explored industry transformation towards practice-led perspectives that combine human-centred, solutions-based and technologically-minded thinking.

The delegates and speakers were welcomed to the convening by award-winning poet Lebo Mashile, who took on the role of convening MC. Representatives from the project initiators, sponsors and partners introduced the convening and laid the foundations for the upcoming sessions.

Zeenat Patel-Kaskar (Executive Director of the District Six Museum) acknowledged how the stars aligned for the convening to take place at this monumental venue during a month in which the District Six Museum remembers the forced removals of its multicultural communities from their homes during the apartheid regime.

Dr Paul Bayliss (Absa’s Senior Specialist, Art and Museum Curator) stated, “We at Absa are proud to be a sponsor of this event and to be affiliated with a programme of this nature, which speaks to heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations”.

Sophie Taïeb (Director of Corporate Development at MEMORIST) also shed light on what the MEMORIST team does, through collaborations with various museums and institutions of history in Europe and across Africa, to contribute to the preservation of “architectural, cultural, historical, and artistic” heritage in our world.

Ambassador of France to South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi, David Martinon wrapped up the welcome address by stating that the convening is “an embodiment of our commitment to support heritage in Africa.” He continued, “The focus on women in cultural sectors is equally commendable, reflecting a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, which is absolutely crucial. I am also particularly heartened by the inclusion of a mentorship programme alongside the convening, designed to inspire and nurture the next generation of cultural professionals.”

Watch the welcome address below for the full speeches.

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