“Future Memories” – An international conference on art, public space and the culture of memory

Alle School of Fine Arts and Design / Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
16 Sep 2014 - 18 Sep 2014

“Future Memories” – An international conference on art, public space and the culture of memory

African Union Commission, Peace and Security Building. Photo: GIZ International Services

ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations & Alle School of Fine Arts and Design present “Future Memories”  – an international conference on art, public space and the culture of memory. At the conference “Future Memories,” specialists will debate art engaging with cultures of memory in African urban spaces.

The three-day event will engage the expertise of artists, academics, curators, historians and architects working in different African countries with a focus on art, its potential to contribute to the development of signifiers of collective cultural memory, and its various forms in contemporary urban realities.

The conference aims at enabling a dialogue from different perspectives among experts, an interested public and local art institutions in Addis Ababa, the city where the African Union is based. Some of the questions addressed by “Future Memories” will be: Revisiting Forms of Memory Culture: Memory under Construction (with Abebaw Ayalew, art historian, Addis Ababa, Khwezi Gule, curator and writer, Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, Soweto, and Patrick Mudekereza, writer and cultural producer, PICHA, Lubumbashi) Trojan Horse: The Becoming-Technical of the Human (a keynote by Premesh Lalu, historian, Cape Town), or Art Measuring Public Space (with N´Goné Fall, art historian, curator, and consultant, Dakar, Marilyn Douala Bell, socio-economist, president of Doual’Art, Douala, Jimmy Ogonga, curator, founder Nairobi Arts Trust / Centre for Contemporary Art East Africa, Alya Sebti, curator and writer, artistic director of Marrakech Biennale V, Marrakech) and many more.

The main trajectory of the conference is to discuss the potential of artistic and critical discourse as a way to respond to the rapidly changing urban landscapes, i.e. the architectural, social, and urban changes in Addis Ababa. The potential of visual culture to create a meaning in contemporary society – be it art, architecture, film, or other media – is reflected in multifarious initiatives and artistic interventions and positions. To mirror the multiple ways in which creative and critical thinking is informing the production of knowledge in these fields of operation, Future Memories presents excursions into the city, keynote and performance lectures, panels with artists and curators, and a film program.

The conference includes excursions, keynote and performance lectures, and panels with artists and curators.

Participants: Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew, Meskerem Assegued, Marilyn Douala Bell, Fasil Giorghis, Khwezi Gule, N’Goné Fall, Stacy Hardy, Mihret Kebede, Cynthia Kros, Premesh Lalu, Ato Malinda, Bekele Mekonnen, Patrick Mudekereza, Jimmy Ogonga, Georges Pfruender, Alya Septi, and others.


Conference programme


“Future Memories” is designed to lay the groundwork for the jury procedure to choose a new artwork for the African Union Peace and Security Building, which will open in 2015. The Peace and Security Building and the commissioned work of art are a donation from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to the African Union. They are realized with local expertise and craftsmanship in the compound of the African Union campus in Addis Ababa. The processes of selecting and producing the artwork will be planned and organized by ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations. A jury of art and culture experts working in different countries in Africa will convene directly after the conference and announce the winning artist to the public shortly thereafter. Voting members of the jury are Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew, N’Goné Fall, Stacy Hardy, Patrick Mudekereza, and Alya Sebti. Non-voting representatives of the African Union, the German Federal Foreign Office and ifa will join as advisors. The non-voting chair of the jury is artist Olafur Eliasson.

Future Memories is initiated by ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations and developed and organized in cooperation with the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, Addis Ababa University. Future Memories is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.




Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, Addis Ababa University
ifa (Institute for International Cultural Relations), Stuttgart/ Berlin

Team ifa
Elke aus dem Moore
Inka Gressel
Marie-Hélène Gutberlet
Sophie Rau
Christina Werner

Team Alle School
Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew
Mihret Kebede
Bekele Mekonnen
Fasil Giorghis


Alle School of Fine Arts and Design
Addis Ababa University
Amest Killo, Hailemariam Mamo Street
Addis Ababa

in English
Free admission


The ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen – Institute for International Cultural Relations) promotes art and cultural exchange in exhibitions, dialogue and conference programs. As a competence centre for foreign cultural diplomacy, it facilitates links among civil societies, cultural practice, art, media and research. It initiates, moderates, and documents discussions on international cultural relations.





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