Preserving African Heritage In The Digital Age

MOWAA's Head of Programmes Mutanu Kyany’a and digital heritage African practitioners explore the intersection of technology and cultural heritage on the 22nd and 23rd of March.

by GRIOT - Published on 22/03/2024

The two-day online event brings together practitioners in Africa’s heritage sector to share insights from real-world digitization efforts, cultivate interest among young people in the fusion of technology and cultural heritage, and foster discussions on the future of heritage preservation in Africa.

The online Lunch and Learn series explores how technology is merging with cultural heritage, delving into topics such as the evolution of practitioner and audience interaction with heritage, the ethical considerations of technological integration, and the implications of these capabilities for African institutions, like the Museum of West African Art’s (MOWAA) Plaques Digitization Project.

The event will feature insights from:

Chidi Nwaubani, is a designer, artist and tech practitioner, founder of Looty
Dominique Petit-Frère, is an architect and founder of Limbo Accra, a spatial designer and strategist based between NYC & Accra
Solange Mbanefo, currently co-curator and exhibition designer at the Museum Rietberg in Zürich, Switzerland, as well as an architect, curator, researcher, designer, and activist
Joey Ekunwe, is an artist, and the lead creative for 360° videos at Imisi 3D, one of Africa’s top most XR (Extended Reality) creation labs.
Mutanu Kyany’a, a memory worker platforming community histories and identities through digital innovations

PROGRAMME

DAY 1
Friday, March 22nd
2:00PM WAT/4:00PM EAT
Join the Conversation

Understanding the Present – What’s Happening and Why It Matters
The Plaques Digitisation Project

How are digital tools transforming how practitioners and audiences engage with cultural heritage? In a context of limited resources and digital connectivity, what technological capabilities should African institutions prioritise – and why? Insights from MOWAA’s ongoing initiative, the Plaques Digitisation Project.

The Journey So Far: The Osun-Oshogbo Grove Digitization by Judith Okonkwo (IMIS 3D) and the Looty Project by Chidi Ubani

From virtual reality tours of sacred sites to online archives of displaced African art, there are many examples of independent initiatives that are reshaping how the continent’s cultural heritage is documented, studied, disseminated, and rearticulated. Whether as part of restitution efforts or simply good conservation practice, these case studies offer insight into the plethora of models deployed, the practical hurdles faced, and the people behind them.

DAY 2
Saturday, March 23rd
2:00PM WAT/4:00PM EAT
Join the conversation

Envisioning the Future – Where Do We Go from Here

Panel discussion moderated by Mutanu Kyany’a (African Digital Heritage), featuring insights from Dominique Petit-Frère (Limbo Africa) and Chidi Ubani (The Looty Project)

Ethics and Contemporary Debates in Digital Africa

Should some aspects of cultural identity be off-limits to digital recording and release? Who truly owns ‘virtual heritage’ and how can regulations better afford artists’ creative rights while protecting age-old traditional practices? Unpacking questions of respect, responsibility, copyright and creative freedom, this session delves into the complexities of this ever-evolving field.

Launch of the 3D Digitisation Toolkit with insights from trained specialists at museums and cultural institutions in Nigeria

Perspectives from recent trainees of MOWAA’s 3D digitisation programme and sharing practical tips on how to get started on one own project.

Preserving African Heritage in Digital Age is organised by the Edo Museum of West African Arts, a planned museum to be built in Benin City, Nigeria, designed by the architect David Adjaye.

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