Looking back ahead: a short history of collaborative work with indigenous source communities at the Weltmuseum Wien

2017-12-01T03:12:56Z (GMT) by Claudia Augustat Wolfgang Kapfhammer
<div><p>Abstract In the last few years, collaborating with representatives of indigenous communities became an important topic for European ethnographic museums. The Weltmuseum Wien (former Museum of Ethnology Vienna, Austria) adheres to this form of sharing cultural heritage. Its Brazilian collection offers rich opportunities to back up Amazonian cultures in their struggle for cultural survival. However, to establish collaborative work in a European museum on a sustained basis is still a difficult endeavor. The article will discuss the projects which have been realized during the past five years with several groups from Amazonia, such as the Warí, Kanoé, Makushí, Shipibo and Sateré-Mawé. Projects were carried out in Austria, Brazil, and Guyana and ranged from short visit to longer periods of co-curating an exhibition. As for the Museum, results are documented in the collection, in two exhibitions and in the accompanying catalogues. It is less clear what the indigenous communities might take away from such collaborations. It will be argued that museum collaborations can help establish a new contact zone, ‘indoors’ and ‘outdoors’, in which members of heritage communities are able to break through the silence in the old contact zone and finally make their own voices heard.</p></div>