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2019 Exhibition | Getting Closer - Ways of understanding climate change in East Africa

Placing a plastic tube with glycerol in it and some mesh on top in the thick swamp vegetation in order to find out why the region around Mount Kilimanjaro all of a sudden is dotted by tomato fields although it rains less. Playing football in a village in Kenya to understand why people there are fighting for land.

 “Getting Closer” is an attempt to break down climate change to its local, observable implications. It shows methods applied by researchers from various fields to grasp how a changing climate has affected people’s lives in rural communities in Kenya and Tanzania. It takes you closer to their stories.

“Getting Closer” is based on the insights produced by “Resilience in East African Landscapes (REAL)”, a  a Marie Curie Actions Innovative Research and Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme.


 Events within the exhibition dates

Thursday, 21.02. | 19 Uhr
Library | Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne
Panel discussion:

Between Climate Change and Modernization Boom – The Uncertain Future of East Africa’s Savannas

East Africa is experiencing a period of swift changes. This development is characterized by a rapidly growing population, the modernization of agricultural production, innovations in energy technologies as well as the increase in nature conservation areas. At the same time, East African societies continue to be shaped by violent conflicts, state failures and social grievances. The consequences of climate change and further waves of globalization might exacerbate these problems in this highly dynamic region.

The discussants are Prof. David Anderson (Warwick, History), Richard Dimba Kiaka, Dr. des. (Hamburg, Social and Cultural Anthropology), Prof. Cyrus Samimi (Bayreuth, Climatology), NN. (Discussion in English)
Moderation Prof. Michael Bollig (Cologne, Social and Cultural Anthropology)


Thursday, 21.03. | 19 Uhr
Library | Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne

Getting the Archaeological Past to Work for the Future in Eastern Africa

Paul Lane, Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History & Archaeology of Africa, University of Cambridge und Professor of Global Archaeology, Uppsala University

Researching Africa’s pasts through archaeology and oral history has long been celebrated as a means to recover a sense of dignity, belonging and accomplishment, in effect righting the wrongs caused by colonial denigration and denial of the African continent’s deep past. While this remains important, new roles for the past in the present are being forged, with a focus on how knowledge about the past can help plan for more sustainable and resilient societies in the future. Drawing on the results of the Resilience in East African Landscapes (REAL) project, this talk will highlight some of the recent contributions of such approaches and the challenges that remain. Emphasis will be placed on the value of adopting deep time perspectives and how such an approach can reveal the processes and agents involved in the creation of East Africa’s biocultural heritage and its evaluation by different communities and stakeholders.