The RJM and the post-migrant society
The post-migrant society is a reality. Cities in particular are characterized by social diversity. Many institutions have begun to reflect the new urban society in their programming. However, the cultural diversity of the cities is not yet sufficiently reflected in the areas of program, staff or audience in the cultural institutions. The share of 30% people with a migration history in NRW is not matched by a diverse staff structure - especially in decision-making positions - nor by an equally heterogeneous and transcultural audience. So what can a museum practice look like that is critical of discrimination and that reflects the society of the many both structurally and in terms of content?
The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum has long set out to help shape a diversity-sensitive transformation - with a much-noticed change of perspective in the permanent exhibition or new special exhibition content. Since August 2019, there is now also for the first time a position for diversity in the house, which was established for the duration of four years (2019-2023) as part of the program "360° - Fund for Cultures of the New Urban Society" www.360-fonds.de initiated by the Federal Cultural Foundation.
With this program, the Federal Cultural Foundation supports museums of art and cultural history, institutions from the fields of art, music, performing arts, literature, architecture, new media and related forms, as well as cross-disciplinary institutions. In the respective field, the entire society is to be taken into consideration. The aim is to actively promote cultural diversity as a topic for the future that is as rich in opportunity as it is controversial, both within the institution itself and in urban society. In addition, the aim is to reduce structural exclusion in the cultural sector. In this way, the Federal Cultural Foundation supports a wide range of approaches, strategies and methods that demonstrate in an exemplary manner how institutions - in terms of topics and personnel - can effectively develop their potential to help shape the new urban society.
With the help of this funding, the museum will further embed a diversity-oriented transformation process in the coming years. A concrete example of this process was the inauguration of the open space DIE BAUSTELLE rjm-baustelle.de as a meeting place for a diverse and pluralistic urban society, which is given the opportunity here to engage in conversation about pressing social and museum issues. DIE BAUSTELLE, conceived as a "contact zone," is now part of the special exhibition "RESIST! The Art of Resistance" rjm-resist.de, which focuses on colonial and postcolonial resistance strategies, and will be further developed.
As long as the voices from the communities from which the objects in a museum's collection come are not heard, as long as monocultural, Western perspectives dominate, the system of coloniality will continue in museums. We need a museum of diversity of stories, voices, and perspectives. Museums should dedicate themselves to becoming empathetic forums and open their doors wide. (Nanette Snoep)