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  ICOM-ICME/2012/Namibia (ICME Annual Conference 2012) 12-14 September, 2012 & Post-Conference Tour 15-18 September


ICME/2012/Namibia was co-hosted by the ICOM National Committee for Namibia and the Museums Association of Namibia. The National Museum of Namibia, National Heritage Council of Namibia and UNESCO have all been invited to be co-hosts of the Conference. 

<h3>Final Program as pdf</h3>

Conference Program
Post conference tour program

[print Conference + tour program]




ICME (the International Committee for Museums of Ethnography) is an international committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) devoted to ethnography (ethnology, anthropology, folk) museums focusing on local, national and international cultures.  ICME is concerned with the challenges facing ethnographic museums and collections in a changing world.

ICME will hold its 2012 annual conference on 12-14 September, at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre, Windhoek, Namibia, in collaboration with the ICOM Namibia and Museums Association of Namibia. Final details of the ICME conference are forthcoming; the general format of the annual meeting will consist of paper and discussion sessions and excursions to museums and cultural sites in the area.  ICME/2012/Namibia will offer a great opportunity to showcase Namibia to an international audience of museum workers

2012 Conference Theme

"Commodifying Culture? Cultural Villages and Living Museums"

Museums are increasingly conscious that many artifacts should not simply be displayed as art. Objects need to be contextualised within the framework of the intangible cultural heritage that provides them with meaning. Ethnographic exhibitions and museums strive to present a context that adds depth to the `reading´ of an object and to reflect the dynamic nature of culture.  In Namibia and other countries there has been much debate about the best way to `preserve´ and `display´ culture since it is such a fundamental aspect of a community`s identity. How should museums reflect cultural diversity in a way that preserves tradition, but also recognizes the dynamism of living cultures?

On the one hand, museums have sought to develop new exhibitions that have moved beyond the static presentation of objects in glass cabinets using audio-visuals to show the vibrancy of cultural heritage. These new forms of representation also showcase `living tradition´ and aspects of continuity and change within traditional rituals, dance, music and oration. 

However, another approach presents an alternative format for the preservation and preservation of intangible cultural heritage (in particular). One of the major developments which has transformed the traveller´s experience of communities they encounter have been initiatives to create spaces where communities `speak for themselves´ and provide musical performances and craft demonstrations to visitors.  The initiatives have often labelled themselves as `Cultural Villages´ or `Living Museums´. The formula has many variations; critics complain that people at these centres are turned into exhibits, while advocates argue the opposite , that such centres empower communities and provide them with the opportunity to present and preserve their own intangible cultural heritage. The issue also raises questions about the relationship between Museums of Ethnology and the communities that they represent.

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Conference Program

International Committee of Museums of Ethnography - Annual Conference ICME/2012/Namibia, Windhoek, 12th-14th September, 2012


WEDNESDAY, September 12

8:00 – 9:00 Registration
Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome
Opening Session       


Mr. Aaron Nambadi, Chairperson, Museums Association of Namibia
Mr. Werner Thaniseb, Chairperson, National Heritage Council
Dr. Annette B. Fromm, President, ICME; Florida International University

9:30 – 11:00 Session I

The Challenges of Collecting Culture:  Living Museums and Traditional Villages
Viv Golding, Chair

Kathrin Dürrschmidt (Living Culture Foundation, Namibia), Can Living Museums in Namibia be an effective way of preserving cultural knowledge?

Jesmael Mataga (National University of Lesotho) and Farai Chabata (Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences), Interpreting cultures and (re)presenting ethnic diversity: `Traditional Villages’ in Zimbabwe

Dr. Anette Rein (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), The performance of culture and tradition: Are living museums part of a global theatre?

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee break

11:15 12:45 Session II
Commodifying Culture? Tourism and the Representation of Cultural Heritage
Martha Akawa, Chair

Michael Uusiku Akuupa (University of the Western Cape, South Africa), Museums and Living Museums in Post-apartheid Namibia: A critical review

Dr. Lidija Nikočević (Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Pazin, Croatia), The ideal Istrian village: An imagined rural past

Per Rekdal (Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway), Commodifying Culture? Tourism and `traditional’ objects

1:00 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 - Session III
Festivals and the Performance of Culture
Dr. Lydia Icke-Schwalbe, Chair

Dr. Baerbel Kerkhoff-Hader (Professor, University of Bamberg), Open Air Museums in Germany and the Performance of Culture

Kunwook Lee (Curator, National Folk Museum of Korea), Experiments to Exhibit Things that are Intangible: A Study of Special Exhibitions; Arirang and Multiculture

Departure for Owela Display Centre of the National Museum of Namibia

Departure from Owela Display Centre to NICE Restaurant for Welcoming Reception


THURSDAY, September 13

8:30 – 10:00 Session VI
Museums and the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Dr. Anette Rein, Chair

Olefile Letsebe & Botho Modukanele (Botswana National Museum, Botswana), The Living Museum and Cultural Villages: Revival of Traditional Cultures in Botswana

Kiwon Yi (National Folk Museum of Korea, Republic of Korea), Commodifying Culture through Intangible Heritage in the National Folk Museum of Korea

Galia Gavish (retired curator, Israel), The Sheba Connection

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee break

10:30 – 12:15 Session V
Speaking for Ourselves: Communities and Museum Exhibitions
Per Rekdal, Chair

Raffaella Fontanot (Museo Histórico y Etnográfico de Caborca, Mexico), The Jimtk Tohono Exhibition: An Experience in Participant Museology

Kaingu Kalume Tinga (National Museums of Kenya), The Malindi Cultural Museum: Challenges for the 21st Century

Heidi McKinnon (Curators Without Borders), Evolving Responsibilities: Social Relevance and Expanding Museum Constituencies

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 Session VI
Constructing Culture? Museums, Cultural Villages and Identity
Leif Pareli, Chair

Sylvia Wackernagel (Museum of Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany), Culture as a commodity and beyond: Cultural exchange in `living’ museum settings with examples from the First Nations communities of Wendake/QC and Alert Bay/BC, Canada

Silvia Forni (Royal Ontario Museum, Canada), A museum fit for a king: Art, heritage and politics in the Cameroonian Grasslands

Fabienne Galangau-Quérat and Yves Girault (National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France), The museum’s experience in Cameroon as a media for tangible and intangible heritage

Departure for Tour of Heroes Acre

ICME Board Meeting 

Free evening for other participant


FRIDAY, September 14

8:30 – 10:15 Session VII
Collections make Connections
Dr. Lidija Nikočević, Chair

Laurie Kalb Cosmo (Art History Faculty, Temple University, Rome, Italy), The History of Exhibiting Africa in Italy

Søren la Cour Jensen (House of Knud Rasmussen, Denmark), The Museum of Knud Rasmussen and the Inuit of the Artic

Dr. Lydia Icke-Schwalbe (State Museum for Ethnography, Dresden, Germany), The changing concept of the museum: From colonial collections to the preservation of cultural heritage

Mario Buletic (Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Pazin, Croatia), Mediating culture in the frame of everyday life practices

10:15 – 10:30 Coffee break

10:30 – 12:15 Session VIII
Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museum Education
Baerbel, Kerkhoff-Hader, Chair

Viv Golding (School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK), Museum Theatre and live interpretation in UK Museums

Abito Adebo Nelson (Department of Museums and Monuments, Kampala, Uganda), Post-conflict memorial preservation for reconciliation and the promotion of peace: The case of the Pabbo Internal People’s Displaced Camp Memorial

Martin Tindi (National Museums of Kenya), Museum, Peacemaking and conflict Resolution

Summary: ICME President

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch

Departure for Township Tour

Departure for Closing Braai (Barbeque) at Xama Cultural Restaurant

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Post conference tour program

15th-18th September, 2012

SATURDAY, September 15

7:00 Bus departs Safari Court Hotel

10:00 Arrive in Omaruru
Omaruru is an important centre for the Herero people
and has also acted as a trading centre for the areas cattle and game farming industries. In the last decade Omaruru has become something of a haven for those of an artistic nature (short walk or tour of Omaruru).

12:00 Lunch in Omaruru

14:00 Bus departs Omaruru

19:00 Arrive at Twyfelfontein Country Lodge.

SUNDAY, September 16

8:00 Bus departs Twyfelfontein Country Lodge
Guided Tour of Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes.  Namibia’s only World Heritage Site (so far!) has one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs (rock engravings) in Africa. Most of these well-preserved engravings represent rhinoceros, six painted elephants, ostrich and giraffes, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints and rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre. Objects excavated from two sections date from the Late Stone Age.

11:00 Visit to the Damara Living Museum
The Damara Living Museum was developed and built by Hansbernhard Naobes and opened in February 2010.  It seeks to represent the traditional culture of one of the Khoekhoegowab speaking communities of Namibia.

12:00 Bus departs for Khorixas

13:30 Lunch break in Khorixas

14.30 Bus departs for Etosha Safari Lodge

18.00 Arrive at Etosha Safari Lodge

MONDAY, September 17

08:00 Morning game drive through Etosha
Etosha National Game Park in Northern Namibia was declared a National Park in 1907.  It offers excellent game viewing in one of Africa’s most accessible venues.  Zebra and springbok are scattered across the endless horizon, while the many waterholes attract endangered black rhinoceros, lion, elephant and large numbers of antelope. During the drier months from June to November the water points exert a magnetic pull on the big game herds. 

13:00 Lunch at Namutoni (Walk around for those who don’t want lunch)

14:00 Bus departs Namutoni

15:30 Bus arrives at Oshikoto Lake
Otjikoto Lake is a national monument and a site with a lot of history, some mystery and ecological fascination below its surface.

16.30 Bus departs for Tsumeb
Tsumeb is the capital city of the Oshikoto region in northern Namibia. The Tsumeb Museum contains extensive displays about the history of the Tsumeb mine, Namibian stamps and the artillery of the German Schutztruppe that was retrieved from Lake Oshikoto. It also has an ethnographic room which has some unique photographs and artefacts from the different ethnic groups in Namibia.

17.00 Arrival at Kupferquelle Resort.

19:00 Cultural Performance and Braai at the Helvi Mpingana Kondombolo Cultural Village
The Helvi Mpingana Kondombolo Cultural Village is laid out in an outline of Namibia with traditional homesteads of the different ethnic communities of the country presented. It also contains a gallery with a permanent display of crafts and an extensive shop containing a variety of Namibian craft products.

TUESDAY, September 18

8.30 Bus departs Tsumeb for Cheetah Conservation Fund

12:00 Arrival at Cheetah Conservation Fund

13.30 Departure from Cheetah Conservation Fund

16:30 Bus arrives in Okahandja, Visit Craft Market
The site of an annual ceremony that takes place in August each year when Herero gather to visit the graves of their ancestral leaders.  The town is also an important centre for woodcarvers from the north, who sell their carvings at the craft markets on a co-operative basis, next to the main road at both entrances to Okahandja.

17:30 Bus departs for Windhoek

18:30 Bus arrives in Windhoek

Please remember – This program is subject to change, especially with regards to sites visited.

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