From 11 to 14 June, the International Seminar on Museum Governance of Senegal and Quebec 2019 took place in Dakar. The goal of the meeting was to explore the possibilities of exchange and partnership in the museum sector of Quebec and Senegal and to present already existing best practices.
The initiative for the seminar came from the Women’s Museum Quebec, under the leadership of Lydie Olga Ntap, and the Senegalese Women’s Museum Henriette Bathily with Marie-Pierre Mbaye-Myrick and Awa Cheikh Deiouf.
Responsible for organizing the seminar in Dakar was Mr. Ibrahima Cissé, the Director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Dakar.
As IAWM, we are proud of the start of this seminar, because our network of women’s museums was the foundation for it. In 2000, the Women’s Museums of Senegal and Merano/Italy formed a partnership. This partnership was the origin of the idea to invite women’s museums from around the world to gather in a conference, which could be realized in 2008. Back then the network of women’s museums started.
When the first IAWM Prize was awarded in Mexico in 2016, it was decided to give it to the founder of the Women’s Museum Henriette Bathily, Annette Mbaye D’Erneville. Not only did she found the first women’s museum in Africa, she also inspired others to found such a museum, like Lydie Olga Ntap, who is originally from Senegal and emigrated to Canada. Lydie accepted the award on behalf of Annette Mbaye d’Erneville in 2016 and gave it to her personally in Senegal.
That was the moment when the discussions of further collaborations started. IAWM was the basis for this collaboration between the women’s museums of Quebec and Senegal.
After 10 years Astrid Schönweger, coordinator of IAWM and collaborator of the Women’s Museum Merano, had the opportunity to see Annette Mbaye d’Erneville in person and to present her with a gift from the Women’s Museum in Merano.
The first day of the conference took place in the “Musée Theodore Monod d’art africain”, a very interesting art museum whose staff and also artists were very interested and actively involved in the discussion of the conference. Even the day after, when the seminar continued in the Women’s Museum Henriette Bathily, they participated.
Awa Cheikh Diouf, director of the Women’s Museum Henriette Bathily, officially represented her museum at this seminar. She explained the background of the museum, how they had to leave their original location on the Gorée island, because the building was dilapidated. On the Place de Souvenir in Dakar the museum has found a temporary location. But they are still waiting that the museum, they were promised to get, is build on the property they were given by the state. A big challenge for a museum in Senegal is to cover the fixed costs.
This has also been confirmed by Fatima Fall, president of ICOM Senegal, who has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Women’s Museum of Senegal for years and also appeared as a speaker at the First International Conference of Women’s Museums in Merano in 2008. She welcomed, on the one hand, the partnership between Senegal and Quebec and, on the other hand, was happy that the partnership between Senegal and Meran was revived. She also invited the IAWM network to join ICOM.
Jocelyne Nathalie Valentine Ntap Ndoye, General Secretary of the Friends Social Security Association who, would like to start projects in the Senegalese Women’s Museum together with her clients.
Paul Eyouck, a lawyer working in Quebec, explained the great differences between a private and a public museum. These two realities are almost incomparable.
A young museologist from Cameroon, Léon Stéphane Papouo Pouayiro, has presented a plan for a women’s museum, which looks architecturally like a woman.
Lydie Olga Ntap, founder of the Women’s Museum in Quebec, has presented her own museum. She talked about the methods of the women’s museum in Quebec and her new feminist museology which she is promoting on the one hand in the museum, on the other hand, as a museologist at the university.
As coordinator of IAWM, Astrid Schönweger was able to introduce the Best Practices of the various women’s museums worldwide as well as the network IAWM.
Astrid was especially pleased to welcome Louise Senechal, who is currently doing her internship at the women’s museum Marrakech and had come especially for the seminar to Senegal. She will be completing her internship at the Women’s Museum Marrakech in October and will then continue to work voluntary for IAWM.
A representative of UNESCO has proposed to enroll IAWM in the UNESCO and offered his support in this regard.
Several other representatives of the Senegalese Directorate of Cultural Heritage, universities, various cultural organizations and museums attended the seminar.
A highlight of the seminar was the excursion to the surrounding area of Dakar on the third day of the meeting.
This seminar marks the beginning of a cooperation between Senegal and Quebec. The next meeting of this project will be in Montreal in November.