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Ubuntu: Museums and Communities Connect Partnership

The Michigan State University Museum and the Stellenbosch University Museum are collaborating on a series of convenings of both “seasoned” and “emerging” cultural heritage workers in the U.S. (East Lansing and Washington, D.C.) and in South Africa (Cape Town, Mthatha, and Johannesburg). This project builds upon an array of successful but disparate previous U.S./South Africa collaborations to expand and develop new resources and strategies for sustained partnerships with a specific focus on connections between museums and younger members of communities.

The intergenerational dialogues of these convenings will result in:

  • the identification of new strategies to cultivate museum-based projects that engage younger community members in documenting and using art and cultural heritage toward facilitation of non-racialism, global awareness, and personal, community, and institutional skill-building;
  • the cultivation of youth leadership for planning and implementing strategies; and
  • the identification of sources of support for launching and sustaining these strategies.

Additional goals of the project are to facilitate new partnerships, strengthen existing MSU academic programs, and advance new research and knowledge about collaborative program planning, multigenerational project-based learning, museum praxis, and the diasporic elements of African and African-American cultural heritage. The leadership team meets regularly to foster a strong collaborative partnership network to share resources, create new innovative projects, and encourage international collaboration in cultural policy and practice.


  • MSU Alliance for African Partnership 
  • Mellon Foundation
  • Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
  • MSU African Studies Center


C. Kurt Dewhurst

Director for Arts and Cultural Partnerships, Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship
Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Michigan State University Museum
Professor, Department of English
University Outreach and Engagement Campus Senior Fellow

Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship