AFFORD is today launching two landmark publications in the Return of the Icons project, our programme to achieve restitution of stolen African artefacts and human remains from UK museums and other cultural institutions.
The full project mapping report sets out the findings of research undertaken by AFFORD from January to May 2020 to map communities of practice in the UK in relation to the restitution.
184 diaspora community members responded to an online survey, as well as via three online focus group discussions. 22 semi-structured interviews were completed with museum professionals, diaspora professionals and African government stakeholders active in this area.
The research findings show examples of good practice within UK institutions and
among diaspora communities. It also shows that diaspora respondents are overwhelmingly (approximately 80% of all respondents) in favour of the return of stolen African artefacts and human remains to their countries and communities of origin.
‘Many of these icons are masterpieces of the human imagination and creativity. Each icon represents sophisticated ideas about art, cultural production and African history – at a time when so little is understood by Africans and others about our history,’ said Onyekachi Wambu, AFFORD’s Executive Director, as the documents were published today.
‘Each iconic masterpiece also represents a story about how and why it was created, as well as the colonial story of how it was, in most cases, violently looted. As we have seen with the toppling of the statue of the slaver, Edward Colston, cultural items provide opportunities for wider conversations about the past and the future we wish to construct.
‘Ordinary Africans, students, and scholars need these icons to stimulate those conversations for change and renewal.’
The shorter policy brief, Key issues around the restitution of stolen African artefacts, explores the policy and legal issues around restitution.[Read more…] about AFFORD publishes guiding documents in Return of the Icons campaign