In the exhibition "DEAL WITH IT - African Heritage in Basel," five Basel institutions - including Mission 21 - are taking a closer look at their African research in a joint project. They are also bundling and simplifying access to their holdings for international researchers with the innovative "PARC" project. In Basel, especially...
Basel is home to a particularly large number of institutions that have a connection to the African continent and are widely recognized for their work. What are the reasons for this? How did the network of people involved develop? And how are the institutions involved today? An exhibition will present the history of five Basel institutions and, in particular, their links with colonialism. Furthermore, the current activities of the institutions are shown and how they contribute to decolonization today.
The Museum der Kulturen, the University of Basel, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the Basler Afrika Bibliographien and Mission 21 are involved. The exhibition "Deal with it", will be opened on August 24 with a vernissage in the University Library and will then run until November 16.
"Deal with it" presents selected aspects of the history of the institutions, such as the Basel Mission, which today is the supporting organization of Mission 21. This content was developed by students at the University of Basel. Mission 21 and the other institutions were then given the opportunity to add to the historical presentations and to explain their commitment today.
Aspects of decolonization
In the case of Mission 21, the critical reappraisal of its own history goes back a long way. As early as the 1970s, Mission 21 began to discuss its activities, to name and critically examine colonial entanglements and racist behavior. For years, the reappraisal of history on a professional level has been part of Mission 21's activities. Currently, internationally oriented webinars are being held on the topic. In addition, the international development cooperation of Mission 21 is constantly being developed, also with the goals of decolonization and anti-racism.
The third joint commitment of the five participating institutions fits this theme. Under the term "Portal for African Research Collections", PARC for short, the holdings of the five institutions have been brought together on a joint portal and made accessible online. The launch will take place at the opening of the exhibition, in which PARC is also integrated. With simplified and expanded access to the holdings of the five institutions, the new joint portal itself takes an important step toward decolonization.