The Reinwardt Academy is holding its first Winter School programme, a collaboration with Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, from 8 to 12 January, with Artist in Residence Nick Shepherd leading Master of Museology students in an exploration of the role of zoos in the ongoing Anthropocene epoch.
In a period when the earth and its ecosystems are being subjected to defining human influence, it is of relevant interest to examine the role and position of zoos. How are they responding to the challenges surrounding biodiversity and climate change? What form should a zoo take in the Anthropocene?
The Master of Museology students attending this Winter School will conduct research to gain a deeper understanding of zoos in general, and Artis in particular, through subjects such as the presentation of biology, physics, colonialism and the arts.
Through this process, they will gain answers to questions such as: What are the reciprocal relations between not only various species, but also between animals, plants, the park, and visiting children and adults? What kind of encounters take place between people and animals? What does the term ‘decolonisation’ mean in the context of zoos? How do we experience the zoo if we use all our senses? And what is the role of the zoo in the city?
The Winter School will be led by the South African archaeologist Nick Shepherd, the Artist in Residence at Reinwardt Academy. Shepherd is associate professor of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark and well-known for his published work that places archaeology in critical contrast with African society, popular history, collective memory, memory and heritage. He will be joined at the Winter School by the South African dancer Nicola Visser.
For more information about Shepherd’s residency at the Reinwardt Academy, please go to the Artists in Residence pages of the Amsterdam University of the Arts website and to Shepherd’s own project website Archaeologies of Memory.