Talks / Workshops

‘Show me your Shelves! Libraries as spaces of encounter’

The African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston, United States
Deadline: 14 October 2019

‘Show me your Shelves! Libraries as spaces of encounter’

As part of the project “Show me your Shelves! Libraries as spaces of encounter” and within the framework of Deutschlandjahr USA, Contemporary And (C&) facilitates a two-day workshop for anyone interested in the topic.  

The workshop will take place at The African American Library at the Gregory School, 1300 Victor St, Houston, TX 77019, USA, Monday, 28 October and Tuesday, 29 October 2019, from 1 – 5 pm. Places are limited. Kindly register at



The project Show me your shelves! focuses on presenting African Diaspora cultures and lifestyles. These are juxtaposed with African-American perspectives to reflect the coherences of Black history and present-day life between Germany and the US.

The aim of the workshop is to initiate discussions and exchange between libraries and individuals based in Houston and in Germany. Discussions will focus on how libraries can expand on becoming open spaces of encounter, how barriers can be reduced, and how knowledge can be imparted in innovative ways. Strategies are to be developed based on Afro-German and African-American topics, so that at the same time important aspects of diversity in Germany can be communicated.

Many books of the Houston Public Library which reference African-American – German relations deal with the topic in the historic contexts of World War II and its aftermath. A first aspect to discuss in the workshop will therefore be the issue of the historization of the topic and how the holdings of the libraries (can) contribute to a specific reading of issues such as African-American – Afro-German relations. While these historic references are without a doubt an important starting point it will also be considered what the present status of these relations is, why there might be less published about contemporary questions and relations or rather why it might be less considered in the context of library holdings. This would also be discussed in regards to the holdings of German libraries.

In connection to that the idea is to do “Book residencies”: during the workshop books from German libraries will be presented that are not part of the holdings of the Houston Public Library. These books will remain in Houston. A further aim of the workshop is therefore to start “filling the gaps” and to hence use this opportunity to start sustainable conversations between the African-American and Afro-German diasporas.


About C&

Contemporary And (C&) is an art magazine and a dynamic space for issues and information on contemporary art from Africa and its Global Diaspora. C& publishes weekly features, columns, reviews, and interviews in English and French on C& América Latina (C& AL) focuses on the connections between Latina America, the Caribbean and Africa ( Texts here are published in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Being read in around 120 countries, C& collaborates with an international network of major protagonists of the global art scene as well as with young, emerging voices. This happens online and on the ground. Twice a year the C& print issue come out.

The project Show me your shelves – Libraries as places of encounter is part of the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/19. This initiative is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) with the goal of highlighting the decades-long foundation of common values and interests between the two countries.


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