Pecha Kucha & Talk series: Case studies on Conservation, Collections and Heritage Management 

14 February 2024
75 mins
Avalon Auditorium, Homecoming Centre

6 min 40 sec each

Pecha Kucha: Innovative and Creative Approaches When Dealing with Poisonous and Hazardous Heritage Objects

Presenter: Mudzunga Munzhedzi (South Africa) – Collections Technician, Human Sciences Department, KwaZulu-Natal Museum 

Using a poisoned hunting arrow as a case study, this presentation will cover innovative and creative methods and measures that can be taken by curators and collection managers when dealing with poisonous and/or hazardous heritage objects and related materials housed within their storage rooms. The presentation will go beyond labels to examine the different types and levels of toxicity, routes of exposure, exposure limits, dangerous physical properties like flammability and what to do with hazardous materials once they’re identified. 


Pecha Kucha: Fostering Community Engagement in the Preservation of Prehistoric Heritage

Presenter: Betty Karanja (Kenya) – Senior Curator with the National Museums of Kenya, heading the Nairobi Gallery Museum and National Monument

This presentation will unravel the ways in which communities can play an active role in the preservation and conservation of heritage sites. The pivotal relationship between local communities and the protection of prehistoric heritage sites and artefacts will be explored and scrutinised.

A compelling case study of the Ileret Footprint Project in Northern Kenya will be presented, showcasing innovative practices and strategies aimed at fostering community participation in the conservation of the Ileret Footprint site. The success of engaging the community in this project is evident through increased awareness, the promotion of sustainable tourism, and the cultivation of a stronger sense of cultural identity.


Pecha Kucha: Protecting cultural heritage in South Africa: Exports, security and vulnerability

Presenter: Prof Jen Snowball (South Africa) – Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at Rhodes University & Researcher at South African Cultural Observatory

Cultural heritage is part of the capital of developing countries that is important for sustainable social and economic development. However, it also needs protection, as the rise in the illegal trade of cultural artefacts shows. While current heritage policy encourages greater access to heritage resources through dispersed regional museums, rising demand for African cultural heritage, and falling public museum budgets, are increasing the vulnerability of such artefacts to theft.

As part of the attempt to preserve cultural capital, the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) is tasked with the protection of the “national estate”. Using two unique databases from SAHRA, this presentation will explore the attributes of artefacts reported stolen in comparison to the applications for permits for the legal sale of heritage into international markets. This presentation will also include suggestions for ways in which South African cultural heritage, including museum collections, may be better protected.   


Pecha Kucha: Whose Museum? Collaboration and Contestation over Heritage Management at the Cultural and Museum Center Karonga in Malawi.

Dr Mwayi Lusaka (Malawi) – Lecturer of History and Heritage Studies at Mzuzu University

This presentation explores how the disciplines of palaeontology and archaeology enabled the establishment of the Cultural and Museum Center Karonga, in northern Malawi. Important in the discussion is how the international palaeontologists and archaeologists together with researchers in the Department of Museums and Monuments of Malawi mooted strategies to collaborate with the local community to source funds for the establishment of the Cultural and Museum Center Karonga. Later, what was intended to be a mutual partnership and collaboration turned out to be a troubled and contentious relationship surrounding the question of control, regulation, and management of the heritage at the Cultural and Museum Center Karonga.


Talk: Challenges and opportunities associated with digitization efforts in Kenya and South Africa: The case of Lamu World Heritage Site and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site

Presenters: Anele Lupuwana (South Africa) –  Emerging scholar and intern at the Amazwi South African Museum of Literature & Khaulah Abdulkadir  – Emerging scholar and intern at the National Museums of Kenya, Lamu World Heritage Site Conservation Office

The objective of this proposed concept is to explore the myriad of challenges and opportunities associated with digitization efforts within an African context focusing on two prominent heritage sites. The proposed concept seeks to also explore the pivotal role that museums can play in navigating and addressing these challenges, contributing to the preservation and accessibility of cultural treasures. The first site under discussion is the Lamu World Heritage Site in Kenya and its nearby islands. The site is renowned for its historical and cultural significance, particularly in the context of the Indian Ocean trade. Additionally, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site in South Africa has also been chosen to explore digitisation of heritage sites in South Africa. The site is renowned for being a home to the largest human ancestral remains. The discussions will encompass exploring the dilemmas faced by professionals while navigating through the process to ensure public access of digitised materials. This also includes the extensive challenges and possible solutions to aligning technological advancement with cultural preservation all while giving careful consideration to community involvement, health concerns and environmental impacts of digitization. Through the research that will be carried out of this concept, we hope to make recommendations that have the potential to resolve challenges faced by heritage professionals within Africa in order to implement digitization effectively.

Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow Convening Cape Town February 2024
Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow Convening Cape Town February 2024

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