An Ephemeral Cooperation; Ghana – Germany exchange
By Nantume Violet
Edited by Emma Wilson
"The text is a recount of the Ghana - Germany exchange project, a research trip made by students of the Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg (HFBK) and the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the College of Art and Built Environment of the Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology, Kumasi (KNUST). Beginning with a visit by HFBK students to Ghana in March 2019, followed by a return trip to Germany by students of KNUST in September of the same year, it was an attempt at starting a long term student exchange program between the two institutions that was nipped in the bud. The decision was taken by HFBK to cancel the exchange before it even truly began, seemingly not due to any inherent failure with the project model or issues with the intentions and objectives of the conveners and stakeholders.
This text comes after I have taken the time for some considerable reflection on how an already fruitful collaboration, enormously beneficial for students by offering them the chance to engage across continents, could be suddenly abandoned…"
Written over the course of a year, Nantume’s essay describes the collapse of a planned exchange program between HFBK Hamburg and KNUST, giving a detailed account of the protagonists and their narratives, and situating their actions within a broader timeline and context. With this examination, Nantume identifies the many faces of what goes wrong when European institutions attempt to deal with colonial histories without reflecting on their own position of privilege or the connected problems of tokenisation.
It sets the ground for further discussion on transcontinental exchanges within the arts and the still existing blocks to building meaningful relationships through these endeavours, as well as highlighting the individual emotional impact such experiences have.
Nantume Violet is a former student of HFBK and central organizer of the 2019 Ghana - Germany exchange project, an exchange between the Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg (University for Fine Arts, HFBK) and the College of Art and Built Environment of the Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology, Kumasi (KNUST).
She is an artist and works as a curator at UNDER GROUND Contemporary Art in Kampala, Uganda.
Further information at undergroundcontemporaryart.wordpress.com
Feedback on this article is gladly received. Please send your thoughts to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Nantume Violet at email@example.com