No neutral place

Decolonial possibilities for action in Austrian museums and archives

23.10. - 24.10.2023

Image Credits


23.10. - 24.10.2023


Museumsakademie Joanneum

Meeting point

Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Museum of Science and Technology) (AT)


200 €, reduced fee 150 € (The reduced fee is available to students, trainees, unemployed people, and employees of this year’s cooperation partners.)

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Please register via e-mail.


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About the

The international debates on decolonising museum collections find their expression in Austria as well. In a country which has not generally been regarded as a “colonial power”, it is now up to museums to address the topics of “Austrian colonialism without colonies” (Walter Sauer) as well as the role of museums as structural reinforcers of racist power relations and participants in colonial networks. The workshop focuses less on the no doubt key issue of restitution and more on taking a close look at the specific day-to-day work of museum practice: How can objects related to colonial contexts of injustice be exhibited? And what language do we want to use to talk about them? Starting with several keynote presentations, in the workshop, we will consider museum objects from the Museum of Science and Technology that reproduce the colonial view and thus have discriminating effects. We will discuss best possible solutions to exhibiting or concealing such objects, archival material, pictorial content, and/or texts. Raising awareness for anti-racist language is a key aspect of this—both in the context of exhibitions and in terms of collections. As key instruments of a reflective approach to this topic, we will discuss the option of having anti-racist keywords to choose from in museum databases and the potential of networking (German-speaking) museums as well as cooperating with extra-institutional experts and activists.

In co-operation
with Technischen Museum Wien (AT)

Julia Ametsreiter Archivist, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Christine Bartlitz Historian and scientific editor, Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam (ZZF) (DE)
Viktoria Calvo-Tomek Digital Research and Collection Management, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Carla Camilleri Head of Archive and Library, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Michaela Frauwallner African Studies Researcher, Project Associate, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Lucia Halder Scientific Officer for the Photographic Collection, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne (DE)
Nina Hoechtl Artist and researcher, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios de Género (CIEG)-UNAM (AT/MX)
Céline Hug Research Associate, Swiss National Museum, National Museum Zurich (CH)
Bettina Jernej Archivist, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Minitta Kandlbauer Author and photographer, Goldegg Training Book, Media & Publishing Academy (AT)
Ursula Fatima Kowanda-Yassin Islamic researcher, project collaborator at the Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Gudrun Rath Cultural scientist at the University of Art and Design Linz, Scholar-in-Residence 2023 at the Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Lukas Scheibenpflug Archivist, Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT)
Pia Schölnberger Historian, Direktor of the Commission for Provenance Research and Restitution in the Austrian Federal Collections at the BMKÖS (AT)
Lea Steinkampf Cultural scientist, Stade Museums (DE)


Organisers of the workshop 
Martina Griesser-Stermscheg Vienna Museum of Science and Technology (AT) 
Eva Tropper Management team, Museumsakademie Joanneum, Graz (AT)