Kunstgeschichte der Moderne
© Lukas Fuchsgruber

Oxford-Berlin Initiative on Museums as Spaces of Social Cohesion and Conflict

The objective of the „Oxford-Berlin Initiative on Museums as Spaces of Social Cohesion and Conflict“ is to further strengthen the ties between the University of Oxford and the TU Berlin in the field of critical museum studies. During the project the team of anthropologist and archaeologist Professor Dr. Dan Hicks at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the consortium “Museums as Spaces of Social Cohesion” in Berlin will collaborate on questions of colonial museum collections, the power of archives and social movements. Through the combination of the thematic fields of natural history, cultural history and art history the researchers aim to foster dialogues across institutions and beyond the usual distinction of object types and epistemologies as part of a collaborative critical research practice.

The cooperation group is funded by the Oxford-Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA).



Tagesspiegel-Article: The Power of Collections

Text by Pegah Byroum-Wand, Lukas Fuchsgruber and Malina Lauterbach on critical museum research and the group exhibition "Power in/of collections" at the Berlin Science Week 2023, Art & Science Forum, Holzmarkt25.


Decentering Collections: Power Critique in Collaborations and Digital Tools for Power Sharing

Apr 04-05, 2023 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Pitt Rivers Museum – University of Oxford

Session 1:
Asymmetrical Engagement? Power-Critical Reflections on “Community” Engagement, Co-production and Collaboration
with contributions by Marenka Thompson-Odlum (Pitt Rivers Museum), Miranda Lowe (Natural History Museum, London / Founding Member of Museum Detox), Cina Aissa (Community Engagement Officer, London / Museum Detox), Pegah Byroum-Wand (Museums and Society).

Session 2:
The Social Aspects of Digital Collections: Systems, Algorithms and Power

with contributions by Ibiye Camp (artist), Nancy Salem (Oxford Internet Institute), Erin Canning (University of Oxford and V&A Museum London), Lukas Fuchsgruber (Museums and Society).


The Power in/of Collections

Nov 1-10, 2023 | 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. | Art & Science Forum, Holzmarkt25

Collections and archives are places, that (re)produce worldviews and influence society. They can emanate from hegemonic viewpoints and perspectives, or conversely, focus on marginalized artistic expressions or stories of resistance. Building upon the long history of conflicts concerning the politics of collecting, the exhibition at Forum Holzmarkt in Berlin scrutinizes the dynamic between museums, academic science, and additional forms of knowledge production such as artistic or activist endeavors.

With contributions by Lennon Mhishi, Lukas Fuchsgruber, Malina Lauterbach, Matilde Cartolari, Merten Lagatz, Niamh Schmidtke, Pegah Byroum-Wand, Ranjamrittika Bhowmik, Sol izquierdo de la Viña.

Curatorial Assistants: Julia Reidy, Meryem Coskun.

The Exhibition was part of the Art & Science Forum of Berlin Science Week 2023.

Lecture Intervention

Mining Colonial Museums: Data, Archives, Storerooms

Nov 05, 2022 | 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. | Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

What a piece of quartz or a dinosaur's bone can tell about colonial practices of silencing the past.

During the imperial era, museums played a pivotal role in the often-violent extraction of cultural heritage, natural specimens, and raw materials. In recent decades, artists, scholars, and activists have critically assessed this history, calling on museums to engage with their colonial legacies and take a stance against racism.
Surrounded by thousands of rocks exhibited in the Mineral Hall of the Berlin Museum für Naturkunde, we ask ourselves: what histories can these objects tell us?

With contributions by Mareike Vennen, Lukas Fuchsgruber, Lennon Mhishi, and Yann LeGall.

This event was part of the Berlin Science Week Campus 2022.


 Merdidian - #10 – Mining Colonial Musesums – A special episode with Mareike Vennen and Lennon Mhishi

Meridian is the science podcast of the Berlin Center for Global Engagement of the Berlin University Alliance.



Pegah Byroum-WandTechnische Universität Berlinbyroum-wand@tu-berlin.deAssociated fellow
Dr. Lukas FuchsgruberTechnische Universität Berlinfuchsgruber@tu-berlin.deAssociated fellow
Prof. Dr Dan HicksPitt Rivers Museum - Oxforddan.hicks@arch.ox.ac.ukPrinciple Investigator
Malina LauterbachTechnische Universität Berlinmalina.lauterbach@tu-berlin.deCoordinator
Dr. Lennon MhishiPitt Rivers Museum - Oxford Fellow
Dr. Mary-Ann MiddelkoopUniversity of Oxford Fellow
Prof. Dr. Bénédicte SavoyTechnische Universität Berline.goulko@tu-berlin.dePrinciple Investigator