Relationships between European museums with non-European collections and migrants as heritage communities form part of the postcolonial turn that encompasses primarily ethnological museums. The panel focuses on the chances and challenges of such relations and their social and political implications.
European museums host plenty of involuntary migrants: objects that were collected during the last centuries in non-European countries, many of them were acquired in the context of colonialism. The critical wave of asking for the provenance and future of this legacy particularly hit the ethnological museums, to a lesser extent the archaeological and art museums. Collaborations with source resp. heritage communities are supposed to be part of a reflexive and postcolonial museum practice. In many cases this practice concentrates on assumed traditional communities still living in the countries of origin, besides the fact that many members of heritage communities nowadays form part of European societies, not only since the recent so called refugee crisis. In our panel, we would like to focus on the challenges and chances for museums and migrant communities to engage with each other. We welcome all cases and case studies where migrants act as stakeholders and active partners of museums, e.g. as employees, research fellows or advisory councils. Topics to discuss are the significance and the benefits for museums, migrants, and hosting community; the objects' power of linking places and people; the possibilities to transfer these links into exhibition displays; the role of personal contacts and networks and last but not least the possibilities for the museums to represent a ground for more than research, like for creative ideas or projects that directly benefit the locals back home, or as a platform for dialogue and discussion of various topics.