From 17-19 June 2021, the IHA-CREPOS research programme „La bureaucratisation des sociétés africaines” held an international conference entitled “Art, Culture, Creation: Des Pratiques (Anti)Bureaucratiques?” in the venues Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Institut Confucius and
Maison des cultures urbaines de Ouakam, in Dakar, Senegal, and via Zoom. The organisers invited scholars, artists and policy makers to discuss the impact of growing bureaucratisation and judicialisation on artistic creativity. The conference had two panels: “A qui appartient la culture (who owns culture)?” and “Espace et organsiations (spaces and organisations)” as well as a large roundtable.
Two scholars from the department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, were invited to contribute their expertise to the conference, both in the first panel on cultural ownership: Hauke Dorsch, the director of the African music archives, provided insights from his work at the archive. Ute Röschenthaler’s contributed a presentation entitled “La transformation des expressions culturelles immatérielles par le droit de la propriété intellectuelle (The transformation of immaterial cultural goods by intellectual property law)”.
This well-attended conference provided valuable insights on the present situation of musicians and performing artists in Senegal and generated lively discussions about the benefits and the impediments of bureaucratic measures and intellectual property law. Most Senegalese participants vividly advocated for strengthening artists’ author rights and the enforcement of the law by state authorities in order to enable them to make a living from their work.