Subject: CONF: Translocations – the Displacement of Cultural Assets (Berlin, 5 – 7 Dec 19)

Technische Universität Berlin, Fakultätsforum im Architekturgebäude, Straße des 17. Juni 150/152, 10623 Berlin, December 5 – 07, 2019

translocations – Historical Enquiries into the Displacement of Cultural Assets | International Conference

Who owns cultural assets? Who has narrative control? What could fair and just solutions look like in dealing with them, independently of restitution?
Discussions about historical appropriation practices for cultural assets in the context of their associated relocation are highly topical and widely reflected across different academic disciplines. Not only are seizures and sales of objects and collections considered problematic which were forced by violence or under dictatorial government structures, but widespread public criticism has also been directed towards the exhibition of artefacts with unclear provenance, amongst other issues.
Increasingly, such questions concern those who work in the art market, muse- ums, politics and the media, scholars from diverse disciplines such as ethnology, archaeology, and law, as well as artists and writers. Yet the translocations as such rarely come into focus – with the people involved, the related traumas, discourses, gestures, techniques and representations, all of which will be the primary focus of the conference.


Thursday 5 December

14:00 Registration & Welcome
14:30 Introduction – Bénédicte Savoy (Berlin / Paris)

I. Translocations: Methods, Challenges and Research Structures
Chair: Christine Howald (Berlin)

15:15 Locating Object Biographies Through Translocated Files – Emma Hagström Molin (Berlin / Uppsala)

15:45 Questions of Ownership and Translocation: European Concepts versus South American Native Regimes – Andrea Scholz (Berlin) and Thiago da Costa Oliveira (Rio de Janeiro / Berlin)

16:15 – 16:45 Coffee Break

16:45 Researching Objects = Researching Emotions? Lessons Learnt in the HERA Project TransCultAA – Christian Fuhrmeister (Munich) and Donata Levi (Udine)

17:15 Displaced African Objects: A Challenging Paradox for Knowledge Production – Romuald Tchibozo (Abomey-Calavi)

17:45 – 18:15 Discussion

18:30 – 20:00 Reception

Friday 6 December

9:30 Registration & Welcome

II. Translocations and the Production of Knowledge
Chair: Mareike Vennen (Berlin)

10:00 Translocations, German Ethnology and Colonialism – Hélène Ivanoff (Frankfurt/Main)

10:30 Colonial Translocations: From British India to Berlin: The Collection of L.A. Waddell – Regina Höfer (Florence / Berlin)

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 The Russian State Museums Reserve and the Museum Network: A Socialist Way to Manage Museum and Private Collections – Maria Silina (Montréal)

12:00 – 12:30 Discussion

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch Break

III. Translocation / Transformation of Object Meaning and Status
Chair: Robert Skwirblies (Berlin)

14:00 Translocations of Jewish Ceremonial Objects (Judaica) after 1945 – Anna-Carolin Augustin (Washington D.C.)

14:30 Looted Bells: Church Bells in the Great Mosque of Fez – Isabelle Dolezalek (Greifswald)

15:00 Rachid ben Mohammed’s Flag from Stanley Falls (1893): Emblem, Loot, Trophy and Decorative Object? – Martin Hullebroeck (Paris / Bruxelles)

15:30 – 16:00 Discussion

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break

IV. The Space Left Behind – Strategies for Dealing with Loss and Absence
Chair: Merten Lagatz (Berlin)

16:30 Islands without History? Consequences of the Relocation of Danish Colonial Archives to the US and Denmark for the Memory of Slavery and Slave Emancipation – Jan Hüsgen (Berlin)

17:00 First Steps towards Restitution: Creating and Curating the Lesotho National Museum – Qanita Lilla (Capetown)

17:30 “Translocations” on Display: Central Asian Cave Murals in Museums – Ji Young Park (Berlin)
17:30 – 18:00 Discussion

Saturday 7 December

10:00 Registration & Welcome

V. Legal Perspectives, Developments and Frameworks
Chair: Meike Hopp (Berlin)

10:30 “The German reputation would be seriously damaged.“ Berlin Museums, German Diplomacy and the Ottoman Antiquity Law – Sebastian Willert (Berlin)

11:00 Stolen Ships, Maritime Law, and Eurasian Object Movements around 1600 – Elsje van Kessel (St Andrews)

11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break

12:00 When Politics Bypass their Own Heritage Laws: From Latin America to Paris and vice versa (1920s–1930s) – Élodie Vaudry (Mexico City / Paris) and Léa Saint-Raymond (Paris)

12:30 Translocations of Objects from Africa to Germany (1884-1919): Today’s Perspective on their Enablement and Justification – Sheila Heidt (Cologne)

13:00 – 14:00 Final Discussion

An event conceived by the team of the Leibniz-Prize-funded (DFG) project-cluster translocations at the chair of modern art history at Technische Universität Berlin (Bénédicte Savoy).

Open to the public. Admission is free but seats are limited. The conference language is English.

For more information on the project-cluster translocations please visit |

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CONF: Translocations – the Displacement of Cultural Assets (Berlin, 5 – 7 Dec 19). In:, Nov 14, 2019. <>.


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