Although not always visible, the colonial past is omnipresent. This can also be said about the reverberations of the colonialism that emanated from Germany into the world. Berlin wants to face its responsibility as former colonial metropolis and capital of the German Reich. This is the reason why we have started the Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City in January 2020 as cultural project to critically deal with the history of colonialism and its consequences.
The model project traces back to an initiative of four member organisations of the civic alliance Decolonize Berlin e.V. and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. The Stadtmuseum Berlin Foundation could be attracted as a cooperation partner. The project is thus significantly upheld by stakeholders who for years have been committed to achieving a critical appraisal of colonialism by the city of Berlin.
Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City perceives colonialism as a system of injustice, which always met with the resistance of the colonised people. The project picks up on the ever louder demands for a consistent change of perspective in the post-colonial memory culture. Instead of colonial and colonial-racist stakeholders, from now on the victims and opponents of colonial racism and exploitation are to receive attention and appreciation.
As a participatory solidarity project of historical-political education, we have set ourselves the goal of working with experts and activists worldwide to explore the past and present of the (anti-)colonial in Berlin, in the rest of Germany and in Germany’s former colonies explore and make visible online. Colonial history is always also a global history of entanglements: histories of life, places, objects and institutions connect Europe with Africa, Asia, Oceania, Australia and America.
Using the example of Berlin, Dekoloniale of Memory Culture in the City tests how a metropolis, its space, its institutions and its society can be examined on a broad level for (post-)colonial effects, how the invisible can be experienced and the visible can be irritated. The participatory cultural project is aimed at a broad and diverse urban society. It not only questions individual actors or fields – such as museums – about their (post-)colonial realities. During the project period, Dekoloniale mobilizes the entire city with its own activities and supporting cooperation.
Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City is a joint project of Berlin Postkolonial eV , Each One Teach One – EOTO eV , Initiative Black People in Germany – ISD-Bund eV and the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin . The state network Berlin Development Policy Advice – BER eV supports the project as a partner. In addition, we cooperate closely with the German Museum of Technology and the Berlin district museums in Treptow-Köpenick, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Berlin-Mitte. The project is funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
The Dekoloniale Festival 2022 takes place from 1st – 4th September around Mariannenplatz. You can see the full programme in English here.