Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Data Archive

Monica Galassi - The “Objets Ambassadeurs”: Reflections around the shared Cultural Patrimony

Italian version: Monica Galassi - Oggetti Ambasciatori: Riflessioni intorno alla “patrimonializzazione condivisa”

Among the conferences organized by the University of Verona, the one of 30th and 31st of March was really interesting and absolutely essential for the ATSIDA outreach in Italy. Shared cultural patrimony, extra-European heritage, claim of identity, repatriation and digital repatriation are only a few of the subjects raised from the discussion. Thanks to the organizers, Anna Paini and Matteo Aria, this conference was a good opportunity to discuss these complex issues with an interdisciplinary researchers.

Verona Conference presentations

The main idea of the conference is the notion of Objets Ambassadeurs, developed from the directors of the New Caledonia Jean-Marie Tjibaou cultural centre, in the Nineties of the Twentieth Century. According to this particular optic, the Kanak objects scattered all around the world are a resource more than a loss: in this way they become “ambassadors” of the Kanak culture and they assume the authority to make known their culture beyond the New Caledonia borders. The “Ambassadors Objects” can become positive entities, symbols of a crash-meeting between European and Kanak and are able to produce new and dynamics recompositions. The central idea linked to this point of view, is to discover the tensions between the will to improve this material and the right of decision of the people they invented and built them.

Verona Conference

Speakers at the conference included Italian Museum who proposed problems and personal experiences. At first they spoke about some examples of ethnography in post-colonial contexts with some experiences of shared cultural patrimony; they analysed the role of the Passeur Culturels among the different actors and they preceded the final discussion with a panoramic of the presence of extra-European objects in the Italian ethnographic collections. This last point is very useful for ATSIDA, as it relates to gaining knowledge of other projects that want to discover extra-European patrimony in the Italian context, exactly like us. Among the others, Matteo Aria is involved in a project with the University of Verona, regarding the Kanak and the New Caledonia. Also relevant to the work of ATSIDA was the discussion about the different cases of Repatriation, Digital Repatriation and Repatriation of Human Remains that involved Italy and Australia not only in a scientific dimension, but also ethical and political sphere.

To find more information about this and other interesting conferences, refer to the University of Verona Web-site: http://www.univr.it/jsp/default.jsp?lang=en