A State of the Field Convening: The Future of African Art
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art | Kansas City, MO
March 22 - 24, 2018
In March of 2018, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosted a gathering of 36 individuals to discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing the field of African art. Co-organized by Kristina Van Dyke and Rachel Kabukala with direction from the museum's executive leadership, the impetus for the convening was to help the Nelson-Atkins determine how the institution might play a defining role in the future of the field. Interviews and data gathered on African art collections and knowledge production provided insight into the field's opportunities and challenges.
The international group of scholars, directors, curators, students, market representatives, and community members engaged with these opportunities and challenges during the three-day convening. In addition to colleagues in the field, participants included Nelson-Atkins staff, Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows, and members of the Kansas City African community. Participants discussed, expanded upon, and prioritized the findings of the preliminary study and proposed next steps for the field through a post-convening report that was distributed widely. The convening concluded with a public panel moderated by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole that outlined key takeaways from the discussions.