Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow call for submissions open


The international convening, Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow, hosted by the Embassy of France and the Institut français d’Afrique du Sud (IFAS) / French Institute of South Africa will take place from 13 – 15 February 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The convening will bring together about 300 experts, scholars, educators, artists, performers, community and spiritual leaders, civil society organisations, collectors, urban and rural developers, designers, members of the public and more to imagine and celebrate innovative approaches to heritage, archives, and museums. The convening aims to develop a framework for a new relational ethic between Southern Africa and France, and more broadly between the rest of Africa and Europe and set priorities for future cooperation projects between our regions.

We are looking for best practice case studies, fresh ideas, new research, and creative thinking that highlight innovative approaches and engage with the following themes and questions:

  1. Focus on the Public: How can museums and heritage institutions be more reflective, inclusive, responsive, visible, and accountable to the people they serve? How can they stay relevant to changing populations and abreast of new trends and directions? How is inclusivity reflected in collections, staffing, partnerships, exhibitions, public programs, and marketing? What is the role of evaluation and impact assessments in our sector- what should we be measuring? What are innovative examples showing the integration of heritage and archives in the Arts/ Creative industries/ Urban and rural development/ Education/ Healthcare/ Publishing/ Metaverse/ Tourism and more? What are examples and possibilities of cross-sectoral engagement? Multidisciplinarity? What are effective methods of co-creation and community engagement?
  2. Collections and Research: How can we better care for, document, research and manage
    our collections? How can collections (tangible and intangible) contribute to the uncovering, development, and application of indigenous knowledge? What are new modes of collection care that respond to climate change, price of fossil fuels, extreme weather? What is care within an African context? What are the limitations of current systems of classification and documentation, and what role is played by collections inventories? What are the challenges posed by imperatives of digitization? What do we do with our archives? What new research is out there? What are under-valued yet important research areas? How can we make these collections better known and
    recognized in Africa and Europe?
  3. Restitution: How to bridge the gap between African and European discourse and expectations when it comes to restitution? What are African responses to European policies and vice versa? What is the case for reparations? What are good examples of successful restitutions- where are the challenges? What is the status of and next steps for outstanding restitution requests?
  4. Operational Sustainability: How can heritage institutions in Africa and Europe ensure adequate, sustained resources to fulfil their missions? Who are key stakeholders when it comes to the protection and celebration of heritage? What are the present and potential roles of the private and public sectors/ International donor agencies (state and non-state)/ The Art market/ the Tourism sector/ Universities/ Developers and so on? What are effective and innovative funding and operating models? What are optimal breakdowns of resources between operations, building management and programming? How can new technologies be used to improve operations and sustainability?

Proposals are being solicited for:

  • Workshops
  • Panels and Roundtables
  • Talks
  • Performances and Screenings
  • Walkabouts and site/studio visits
  • Pecha Kucha 20 x 20 presentations (20 slides, 20 images, 20 seconds each)
  • Storytelling
  • Other

We are open to learning from anywhere and everywhere, however proposals should have resonance within a Southern African or French context. Priority will be given to interesting, compelling, and participative formats.

Submission process

A curatorial committee will review all submissions and design a convening programme according to these submissions, taking the objectives of the convening into account. Successful submissions will have travel covered and will receive an honorarium for their contributions. Only submissions for in-person sessions will be considered.

Submissions can be made using this form. The deadline to make a submission is 22 November 2023. A limited number of submissions will be accepted.

Stay in touch

Visit to stay up to date with all the latest news and developments
surrounding the convening. For enquiries or assistance with submitting proposals, please contact

Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow is part of Reinventing Heritage, Archives and Museums, a project initiated by the Embassy of France and French Institute of South Africa, implemented with the support of strategic partner Communicating the Arts (CTA), and produced in conjunction with Breinstorm Brand Architects. Confirmed partners include the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Cape Town Art Fair and Iziko Museums of South Africa.

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