The African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) is thrilled to announce the 2025 ACIP Workshop, titled “We Need New Names: On Cultures of Care and Difficult Knowledge in African University Museums.” This significant event will be organized by Thozama April and Sinazo Mtshemla of The National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre at Fort Hare University (NAHECS), alongside Sophia Olivia Sanan and Anell Stacey Daries from the Centre for the Afterlives of Violence and the Reparative Quest (AVReQ) at Stellenbosch University.

After an initial collaborative planning workshop at the University of Fort Hare, the main event will be held at the Stellenbosch University Museum in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in March 2025.

In the dynamic academic environments of Fort Hare and Stellenbosch, we are observing an invigorated engagement by students and scholars with museum collections and archives. These efforts aim to interpret the past, confront historical traumas, and envisage a more inclusive future. Emerging trends and methodologies, strongly influenced by discourses on decoloniality and restitution, are redefining the relationships between archives, collections, and the publics they serve. There is a compelling need to transform museum spaces into zones of public and intellectual inquiry, fostering critical pedagogy.

Our workshop will explore the emergent grammars and methods developed to address ‘difficult knowledge’ within various university contexts across South Africa and the African continent. While academic work in this area often focuses on curatorial thinking and exhibitions, our interest extends to research methodologies and teaching practices.

This collaborative effort, bridging two university spaces that represent distinct and sometimes polarized political spectra within South Africa, offers a rich platform to address the enduring impacts of a troubled past on the present. By co-hosting this workshop, we aim to bring together diverse perspectives on power, historical domination, and knowledge production practices within university museums and archives. Our goal is to facilitate cross-pollination of ideas among practitioners from South Africa and the broader African context.

The ACIP invites scholars, curators, and educators to participate in this critical workshop, contributing to the ongoing dialogue on the role of university museums in shaping our understanding of history and fostering cultures of care.

For more information and updates on the 2025 ACIP Workshop, please visit African Critical Inquiry Program and Ivan Karp & Corinne Kratz Fund