May 2016: Afrobots Exhibition, Rwanda

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AfroBots Exhibition
A V&A / Rwanda Museums collaboration
11 – 13 May 2016
Rwanda National Museum

In May 2016 Cher Potter was invited to curate an exhibition on African robotics at the Rwanda National Museum, instigating a new collaboration between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Rwandan National Museums. We were invited as one of a number of events contributing to the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016, which this year focused on themes of ‘African creativity’ and ‘Africa’s fourth Industrial Revolution’.

The ‘AfroBots’ exhibition presented rarely seen robotic samples from across the African continent on display at the Natural History Museum-Kigali, including the AZIBOt, the Fundi-walker, a Bird Bot, a SpiderBot, and a DogBot. These digital specimens were generously provided by leading African academic departments of science, robotics and engineering as well as informal ‘maker spaces’ for amateur inventors, including Ashesi Computer Science-Ghana, Mint Innovations-Ghana, African Robots-South Africa, SenEcole-Senegal, Fundi Bots-Uganda, Kumasi Hive-Ghana, Jean Katambayi Mukendi Studio-Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of these prototypes incorporate animal characteristics, playing with the boundaries of the physical, the digital and the biological in the context of a Natural History Museum.

The exhibition aimed to challenge the common belief that our world‘s future is being discovered in the high-tech laboratories of American scientific institutes, or debated at business and political forums held in the Alps – and invites us to think about the future as being designed by tech communities in Africa.

Attendees included Martin Roth (V&A Director) and Alphonse Umulisa (Director General of the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda), as well as representatives from the World Economic Forum, UN Innovations Program, the British High Commission Kigali, Financial Times and Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.

You can download the exhibition guide here.

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