Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care

In October 2019, the Weltmuseum Wien inaugurated the new EU-funded cooperation project “TAKING CARE. Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care”. TAKING CARE explores the connections between ethnographic collections and questions regarding the climate crisis and the Anthropocene, and in this context addresses issues related to the afterlives of colonialism. It positions ethnographic and world cultures museums as spaces to confront these challenges in participatory and creative ways.

Further informations and updates

About the project

About the project

In October 2019 , the Weltmuseum Wien inaugurated the new EU project “TAKING CARE. Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care”. In the course of the last few years,collaborating with representatives of indigenous groups and diaspora communities has becomeestablished practice at ethnographic and world cultures museums. Museums today realise thatthey are not only responsible for their collections but also for the people connected to them. Today, the museum’s core aims comprise more than collecting, preservation, research andeducation. We also focus on sharing cultural heritage, communicating knowledge, creating newapproaches and healing colonial trauma, which may at times include returning artefacts. Comprising all these aims, the expression “taking care” functions as the title of a new EU project, which started on October 1, 2019 at the Weltmuseum Wien. TAKING CARE is a cooperationproject led by the Weltmuseum Wien; scheduled to run for four years, it brings together fourteenpartner organisations and is co-financed by the Creative Europe programme of the EuropeanUnion, which has contributed two million euro.

October 2019 to September 2023

Project head
Dr. Claudia Augustat

Mag. Doris Prlić, MA (Coordination)
Nora Haas (Communication & Social Media)


Project website

Participatory and Artistic Research

Participatory and Artistic Research

The project’s topics will be discussed and examined at workshops, creative residencies and exhibitions, through artistic research, small lab meetings and in joint publications. We will develop a number of participatory practices, from hands-on sessions in small groups to large public events. We will creatively study the unused potential of our museums to look critically at the global past and at possibilities to shape a sustainable future. World cultures museums no longer regard themselves primarily as depositories but as places of encounters, discussion and experience, of social innovation and experiments. Here, different forms of knowledge and of being in a rich and varied world can be (re-)discovered, developed and publicly shared. Today, more than ever, we need such discursive spaces in Europe.

Main Themes of the Project

Possible Solutions and Strategies to Overcome the Global Crisis?

TAKING CARE was born of the alarming environmental shifts and crises we are witnessing today, which have raised public awareness and anxieties about the future of our planet. Causes andextent are global but the negative effects of this global crisis are unequally distributed, affecting most intensely those whose positions are already most fragile, including indigenous and formerly colonised peoples. The project TAKING CARE focuses on the connection between ethnographic collections and questions regarding the Anthropocene and the climate crisis, and places ethnographic and world cultures museums at the centre of a search for viable strategies to overcome these challenges. Many artefacts in ethnographic collections recall landscapes that no longer exist, or contain ecological knowledge that can be made available in the context of joint research with communities of origin, designers, activists and artists, and used to create a sustainable future. One highly topical subject is the unjust distribution of cultural heritage and the possible restitution of artefacts. How best to collaborate to come up with just solutions?

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