Minister of State Claudia Roth visited the Cluster of Excellence
The Minister of State for Culture and Media Claudia Roth visited Iwalewahaus together with MdB Katrin Budde, MdB Thomas Hacker and MdL Tim Pargent to learn about the work of the Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple".
On Monday, 25.07.2022, the Minister of State for Culture and Media, MdB Claudia Roth, paid a visit to the Cluster of Excellence Africa Multiple of the University of Bayreuth at Iwalewahaus. Together with Thomas Hacker, Member of the Bundestag, who initiated the visit, Katrin Budde, Chairwoman of the Committee for Culture and Media, Tim Pargent, Member of the Bundestag, and Andreas Görgen, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Minister of State informed herself about the work of the Cluster of Excellence. Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seesemann, Dean of the Cluster of Excellence, and Prof. Dr. Ute Fendler, Co-Speaker and Vice-Dean for Internationalisation and Science Communication, gave the politicians insights into the Cluster's multilateral research work with four centres in Africa and explained how the Cluster's vision of reshaping African Studies is being implemented and which new paths of knowledge production are being taken within the Cluster to achieve this.
The art scholar Prof. Dr. Adepeju Layiwola from the University of Lagos (Nigeria), currently a guest in the Cluster of Excellence's Fellow Programme in Bayreuth, Diana Kisakye, a doctoral student in political science, and Thierry Boudjekeu, a doctoral student in Romance literature, briefly presented their academic projects before the politicians, above all Claudia Roth, engaged in an exchange with the academics about the transfer of knowledge between the Global South and the Global North. The topic of decolonisation was also briefly discussed: "What are the next steps that need to be taken in terms of restitution? What can we do to create more awareness of the effects of colonisation?" the Minister of State asked the group
In this context, Claudia Roth was also interested in the position of those present on the issue of restitution of art objects and cultural assets that were forcefully taken from Africa to Europe during the colonial period. Summing up, the Minister of State said that the Cluster of Excellence made it possible to remain in ongoing dialogue. In this context, the venue for this meeting of university and politics was well chosen: Iwalewahaus has been in close exchange with African artists for over 40 years. After the discussion, the deputy directors Dr. Katharina Fink and Sigrid Horsch-Albert guided the politicians through the current exhibition We will now go to Kpaaza. Transitions and journeys through Uche Okeke's work. At the end of the tour, the visitors were also presented with the installation To Be King by the South African artist Christine Dixie, which was exhibited at Iwalewahaus at the suggestion of the Cluster Centre at Rhodes University (South Africa) and was recently donated to Iwalewahaus and the University of Bayreuth.
During her visit, Minister of State Claudia Roth also signed the University of Bayreuth's golden book. She wrote: "It is an honour and privilege for me to get my first glimpse of such an important, so unique, so worthy of support area of university research and teaching! Thanks from the bottom of my heart to you as bridge-builders between Germany and Africa, but also between Africa and Germany.