- Thursday, July 21th, 2022 -

9:30 am – 1:00 pm  Art, Music, (Critique of) Racism and Academia


Fiona McGovern / Johannes S. Ismaiel-Wendt (Hildesheim University) (Chair and Organisation)

"…dass Dir Hören und Sehen vergehen"

(...That You Will Loose your Hearing and Sight - Roundtable in German Language - No Translation)

The sub-disciplines of musicology, art history and art studies are intimately interwoven with European colonialism and with racism (history) - if this is not even the basis for the emergence of the subjects that deal with the supposedly beautiful.

Universities, museums and other cultural (funding) institutions are perceived as identity-forming cultural institutions with the great challenges of bringing the negotiation of often traumatizing pasts into dialogue with urgently needed decolonization processes. Many of these institutions in Germany have been taking up the critique of colonialism and Eurocentrism directed at them in recent years, attempting to diversify or pluralize their canon and their personnel and launching corresponding programs: they offer themselves as mediators in restitution debates and for provenance research, publish anthologies on "decolonization" and on the topic of "unlearning," and try to distinguish themselves with teaching programs that are new to them.

Sarah-Indriyati Hardjowirogo (Lüneburg), Christopher Nixon (Dresden), Shanti Suki Osman (Berlin/Oldenburg) and Kathleen Reinhardt (Dresden) reflect on The White Racial Frame (J.R. Feagin; P. Ewell) of the music- and art-related subjects in which they move, current situations and structures in academic education, and current developments at art institutions, museums and in curatorial practice. Moderation: Johannes Ismaiel-Wendt and Fiona McGovern (Hildesheim).

The questions brought into the discussion by the panel participants are: How can a postcolonial perspective lead to lasting changes in the Western knowledge regime and science dispositif? How can art museums be effective locally and globally by taking up, confronting, and rethinking their complex historical webs of relationships? What curatorial methods can be developed to break the continuities of racist and misogynist socialization, to acknowledge and address them in the museum institution in order to create a new space of encounters? How does the tension between one-off interventions and lasting change play out? When does the critique of racism become a professionalized practice? When is silence complicity, when is silence self-protection? What can we contribute as representatives of scientific disciplines and institutions to ensure that collections deal more consciously with artifacts (e.g. musical instruments, sound recordings) from colonial contexts, even and especially when their provenance is unclear? What can we do to ensure that the inclusion of 'non-Western' research positions in university curricula, seminar plans and literature lists becomes a matter of course?


Johannes Salim Ismaiel-Wendt is Professor for Music Sociology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Hildesheim, Germany. He is author of tracks'n'treks. Populäre Musik und Postkoloniale Analyse(2011), post_PRESETS. Kultur, Wissen und populäre MusikmachDinge (2016) and editor of Translating HipHop (2012), Musikformulare und Presets (2018) and Postcolonial Repercussions. On Sound Ontologies and Decolonised Listening (2022). Ismaiel-Wendt is a founding member of the collective ARK (Arkestrated Rhythmachine Komplexities), a collective for post-representative sound lectures and installations on globally entangled histories of music, sampling cultures and drum machines.



Fiona McGovern is an art historian, author, and curator. Since 2018, she has been teaching and working as an assistant professor for curatorial practice and art education at the University of Hildesheim and will take up a visiting professorship for curatorial studies at the HfG Karlsruhe in the summer semester of 2022. Her research interests include (artistic) exhibition practice and theory, ethics of curating, trans- and interdisciplinary approaches in the arts, and art historiography. Among other projects, she is co-curator of the exhibition Jill Johnston. Disintegration of a Critic (Bergen Kunsthall, 2019) and co-editor of the publication of the same name. In 2016, her monograph Die Kunst zu zeigen on rhetorics of artistic exhibition displays was published. Together with Johannes Salim Ismaiel-Wendt, she initiated the interdisciplinary symposium "Ethics of Curating" (2020) at the University of Hildesheim.



Sarah-Indriyati Hardjowirogo Sarah-Indriyati Hardjowirogo studied Phonetics, Systematic Musicology and Romanic Studies in Hamburg and Trieste. She received her PhD from the Leuphana University of Lüneburg with a cultural studies thesis on the theoretical consequences of contemporary musical practice for the concept of musical instrument. As a research assistant, she has worked at various chairs in the field of cultural, music, and media studies since 2010. In 2017, as part of the 3DMIN research project, she was involved as curator in the exhibition "Good Vibrations" at the Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin. She researches, teaches, and publishes on music and technology culture, audio media, and musical instruments, addressing questions of cultural construction of instrumental identities, configurations, and practices.



Christopher A. Nixon Christopher A. Nixon has been a research associate at the Chair of Political Theory and History of Ideas at the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) since 2022. In 2020 to 2021, he worked as curator for colonial past and postcolonial present at the Stiftung Historische Museen Hamburg (SHMH), where he co-curated an exhibition on the colonial entanglement of Hamburg's industry. The exhibition was accompanied by the intersectional bookazine "grenzenlos" with essays, poetry and photographic works by BPoC. 2013 to 2019 he taught and researched at the Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Mainz at the Department of Practical Philosophy. His research interests were and are: Postcolonial, Critical and Political Theory, Aesthetics, Social Philosophy, Museology. He has held teaching positions at the Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences, the University of Artistic and Industrial Design Linz, the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Berlin, and the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. His research examines how colonial discourses manifest themselves in visual forms of representation, dispositifs of science, and regimes of the gaze. Critical Reports recently published his essay Frederick Serving Fruit. The Future and Social Responsibility of the Postcolonial Museum. He is currently preparing his dissertation on Postcolonial Aesthetics, submitted in Philosophy Department in Mainz, for publication.



Kathleen Reinhardt is an art worker and cultural historian, and holds a PhD in African American art history. Currently, she is the curator for contemporary art at the Albertinum, the museum for modern and contemporary art of the Dresden State Art Collections. Her curatorial approach merges her scholarly background in Black Studies and decolonial visual cultures with post-socialist sensitivities. At the Albertinum, she pursues her interest in the museum as enabler for artistic research and production, the discursive quality of collections bound to a certain time and/or historical and ideological narrative, and the engagement of feminist thought in the rethinking of art institutions. Her recent exhibitions for the museum included “Marlene Dumas. Skulls” (2017), “Slavs and Tatars. Made in Dschermany” (2018), “For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles. Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz” (2018/2022), “Demonstrationrooms: Judy Radul, Céline Condorelli and Kapwani Kiwanga” (2019, co-curated with Isabelle Busch), “Hassan Khan. I saw the world collapse and it was only a word” (performance + artist book 2019/20) and the critically acclaimed group exhibition “1 Million Roses for Angela Davis” (2020/21), all of which were accompanied by artist-centered publications. At the moment she is heading the multi-part three-year exhibition and research initiative “Revolutionary Romances. Transcultural Art Histories in the GDR” with a large-scale final exhibition planned for 2023.



Shanti Suki Osman works on the topics of discrimination-critical music education, intersectional music pedagogy, diversity in music studies, and feminisms. She has been a research assistant at Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg since 2020 and is doing her PhD on the topic of Women* of Colour in German music academies. She is a member of the working group DIVERSITY AUDIT, Diversity and Digitization in Teaching-Learning Spaces at the Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg and in the winter semester 2021/2022 Shanti Suki Osman hosted the guest lecture series "Diversity in Music Studies in Oldenburg". From 2019 to 2021 she was a research assistant for Musicology for the Chair "Popular Music" at the Humboldt University, Berlin and from 2019 to 2020 she was co-director of the School and Critical Race project founded by Carmen Mörsch "The Remise," which was part of the 11th Berlin Biennale. In addition, Shanti Suki Osman works as an artist with song, sound and radio on the themes of identities, power and marginalization, anti-racism and feminisms.