NigerHeritage: Novel Solutions for Ancient and Historical Heritage

Wednesday, August 16 - Thursday, August 17

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

NigerHeritage is an innovative project bringing together paleontologists, archaeologists, Africanist historians, American and Nigerien diplomats and government personnel, architects and city planners, nonprofit leaders, exhibit designers, and local Nigeriens. The aim is twofold—to design a novel, zero-energy national museum pavilion to house a unique collection of world-famous pre-Egyptian humans and dinosaur fossils and to design the first cultural center dedicated to preserving the language, art, music, and customs of the nomadic peoples of the Sahara Desert. This opening conference will provide background, air proposals, and encourage exchange. A team will then travel to Niger to present and discuss the proposals in the capital city of Niamey and in Agadez, the respective home sites for the project. 
 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16 

8:30-9:00 am
Coffee and Opening Remarks 
Paul Sereno, University of Chicago

Morning Session: What "Heritage" to Preserve or Enhance?
Moderator: Paul Sereno, University of Chicago
Should the Pavillion be limited to archaeology and paleontology? What exists now and what artifacts/fossils should be included? Should there be an active laboratory, collections, training programs? For the Cultural Center, what cultural aspects should be preserved, what local functions (studios, education, training) to include?

9:00-9:30 am
US-Niger Relations, Programs, Future
Bisa Williams, Former US Ambassador to Niger
Outline current state and issues, US agenda/interests in Niger

9:30-10:00 am
Archaeology and Paleontology in Niger 
Paul Sereno, University of Chicago
Outline the geology, paleontology and archaeology of Niger

10:00-10:30 am
Tuareg Culture, History and Related Peoples
Susan Rasmussen, University of Houston
Overview of cultural setting, cultural heritage past, present

10:30-11:00 am
Break

11:00-11:30 am
NGO Perspectives on Cultural Heritage Preservation
Beth Palmisciano, RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara
NGOs in Niger, general perspectives and strategy

11:30 am-12:00 pm
Water4 in Niger
Dennis Ripley, Chief Development Officer, Water4
Water resource development in Niger

12:00-12:30 pm
General Discussion and Review

12:30-1:30 pm
Lunch

Afternoon Session: What Audiences Are Key, Inside and Outside Niger?
Moderator: Lisa Roberts, Center for Humans and Nature
Who are these cultural projects for?  Who are likely business, cultural and non-profit partners within Niger and abroad?

1:30-2:00 pm
Who Are the Principal Audiences?
Lisa Roberts, Center for Humans and Nature
What we do depends on who it is for, framework for projects

2:00-2:30 pm
Musee National, IRSH, UN Projects in Niamey
Didier Dutheil, Terre-à-Terre
Collaborators/audiences for cultural heritage in Niamey

2:30-3:00 pm
Perspective from Agadez
Mohamed Alhassane, National Museum of Natural History, Paris
What does Agadez want/need? Current music and arts scene in Agadez region

3:00-3:30 pm
Break

3:30-4:00 pm
Interfacing with Community and a World Heritage Site
Susan Rasmussen, University of Houston
Collaborators/audiences in Agadez and beyond

4:00-4:30 pm
Project Names, Project Structures
Paul Sereno, University of Chicago
“NigerHeritage” for both museum & center? One nonprofit? Which ministry or municipal authority?

4:30-5:00 pm
General Discussion and Review

5:00-6:00 pm
Tour of the Fossil Lab

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17

8:30-9:00 am
Coffee

Morning Session: Which Designs to Pursue, which Functions to Include?
Moderator: Paul Adderley, University of Stirling
What should the Pavilion in Niamey and the Cultural Center in Agadez look like? What would be the cost of construction and maintenance? What are its components, and what should they be called?

9:00-9:30 am
Earth Building Options
Paul Adderley, University of Stirling
Local Earth materials, examples and options

9:30-10:00 am
Designs for a National Pavilion
Rebel Roberts, Stantec
Structural-function aspects of a pavilion, examples and options

10:00-10:30 am
Designs for a Cultural Center
Rebel Roberts, Stantec​
Structural-function aspects of a cultural center, examples and options

10:30-11:00 am
Break

11:00-11:30 am
Functions, Roles of a Cultural Center
Susan Rasmussen, University of Houston
Overview of cultural setting, authenticity

11:30 am-12:00 pm
Places and Spaces in Niamey and Agadez
Mohamed Alhassane, National Museum of Natural History, Paris
Overview of the National Museum and Agadez city

12:00-12:30 pm
General Discussion and Review

12:30-1:30 pm
Lunch 

Afternoon Session: Next Steps?
Moderator: Bisa Williams, Former US Ambassador to Niger
What are the next steps? What to prepare and what are the goals of the Niger trip? Who to meet? What should the public face (website) of NigerHeritage include?

1:30-2:00 pm
Next Steps for Pavilion/Center Development
Beth Palmisciano, RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara
Needed work leading up to Niger visit, aims

2:00-2:30 pm
Aims and Goals for Niger Visit (Government)
Paul Sereno, University of Chicago
Needed contacts/documents and meetings, goals for visit

2:30-3:00 pm
Aims and Goals for Niger Visit (Americans in Niger) 
Bisa Williams, Former US Ambassador to Niger
Needed contacts/documents and meetings, goals for visit

3:00-3:30 pm
Break

3:30-4:00 pm
Interests/Role of Business in Niger
Paul Sereno, University of Chicago
Bisa Williams, Former US Ambassador to Niger
Current and future business interest in Niger

4:00-4:30 pm
Plans and Website Design
Paul Sereno, University of Chicago
Summarizing next steps, potential website content

4:30-5:00 pm
General Discussion and Review

5:00-6:00 pm
Tour of the Oriental Institute