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Events calendar


Leuvensesteenweg 13
3080 Tervuren - Belgium
Tel. (+32) 02 769 52 11
Fax (+32) 02 769 52 42


Meet the expert

Encounter / conference

meetexpert2.jpgOn the museumsite in Tervuren you can book an encounter/conference for your group with an expert in the discipline, on a specific topic such as an anthropologist’s fieldwork, the impact of a parasite, publication of a dictionary following fieldwork in linguistics, the Stanley archives, spiders, the museum’s past publications, or expeditions in volcanoes.

The conferences can be given in French, Dutch, or English.



Encounters in French

  • Viviane Baeke is an ethnologist who spent three years among the Wuli of Cameroon. She will analyse this small population’s conception of an evil universe and their attempts to combat it. The threats faced include witchcraft. An evil spirit (jinn) can instil various negative powers into babies while they are still in the womb. Each power corresponds to a separate harmful behaviour, including murder, the drying up of wine palms and the destruction of crops. How did the Wuli formerly go about identifying those who possessed one of these dangerous talents?
  • Geologist François Kervyn was a member of a scientific expedition in 2011 to the summit and interior of the active crater of the Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He presents the research group’s work in his documentary Danse dans la gueule d’un volcan (‘Dancing in the mouth of a volcano’), which follows four scientists from Belgium and Luxembourg as they study the world’s largest active lava lake. The RMCA’s Natural Hazards Service coordinates several international research projects studying geological hazards in the Kivu basin.
  • Claire Delvaux is a botanist who studies the ecology of tropical forests. The ability of trees to adapt to climate change or human disruption is the starting point of her research. She invites you to follow her through the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as she performs measurements directly on the trees and collects samples of leaves and wood for subsequent analysis at the Royal Museum for Central Africa.
  • Jean Omasombo is a political scientist specialising in governance and socio-political developments in Central Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The subjects on which he has worked include Patrice Lumumba and others involved in the phases of political transition leading to the introduction of the democratisation process. He coordinates the RMAC’s research project on Provinces and Decentralisation, which focuses on the study of the future provincial entities and the analysis of the decentralisation process.  

Encounter in French or English:

  • Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi is a historian and philosopher and a member of the Royal Geographical Society, and joined the Royal Museum for Central Africa in 2006. Among her responsibilities are the archives and collections, including numerous travel diaries and notes of the traveller Henry M. Stanley, on whom she publishes regularly. She will talk about the explorer’s life story, his travels in Africa and the ‘Congo Free State’, the arrival of the archives at the Museum and the challenges of publishing handwritten texts from the nineteenth century. 

Encounters in Dutch:

  • Maud Devos is a linguist specialising in the description of the Bantu languages. Using numerous examples, she reveals the step-by-step process by which languages, often unwritten, can be penetrated, and how doing so opens up a new world. The linguistic fieldwork is usually completed by the compilation of grammars and dictionaries. The oldest known Bantu grammar dates from 1659. Who takes on the task of compiling the grammar of an African language, how is it done, and above all, why? Using past and present publications, we seek answers to these questions through time.
  • Maarten Couttenier is a historian and anthropologist specialising in the history of the Royal Museum for Central Africa. In his lecture, he will discuss the early history of the museum’s publications. Right from the inception of the Museum of Congo in 1898, this institution was both a museum and a scientific institute. Its collections were soon being studied by an international group of scientists, whose findings were published in the Annales du Musée. These publications today provide an insight into the early history of colonial science and the image of the Congo that was formed.
  • Rudy Jocqué is a biologist and expert in the field of African spiders. As a taxonomist, he studies and describes species of spiders. We still only know half of the species of spiders that live in certain forests. Another facet of his work is applied ecology. The study of spider populations can be used to determine the quality of a forest. We discover in detail the methods used to collect and analyse specimens, spiders’ very special ways of mating and reproducing, the reason for spiders’ ‘wasp waist’ and why spiders often end up in the bathtub ...
  • Tine Huyse is a biologist working on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. By describing parasites genetically using DNA fingerprinting, we can follow their propagation in time and space. Tine’s research focuses in particular on human bilharzia in West Africa and worm infestations in freshwater fish. She is interested in the human impact of the introduction of new species and in the emergence and spread of new diseases due, for example, to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the construction of dams or the increased migration of people and livestock.
  • Gustaaf Verswijver is an anthropologist who spent several years among the Kayapó Indians of Central Brazil and the pastoral peoples of East Africa. He engaged in fieldwork there, a method of research typically used to study a population. Some anthropologists may only spend a few months working in the field, while others spend an entire lifetime. What is certainly true is that it takes time to understand ‘the Other’. After the fieldwork has been completed, the data need to be processed and published. Gustaaf Verswijver explains how this work has shaped his life and why he carried out fieldwork in these regions that are difficult to access. 

Encounters in Dutch or English:

  • Bambi Ceuppens is an anthropologist and does research on the colonial past that Belgians and Congolese share, colonial heritage in Belgium and the DRC, Congolese in Belgium, representations of Africa (ns) in museums and Congolese popular culture. Popular arts such as music, paintings,comics, etc.. are less known than the so called traditional art for which the Africa Museum is world famous. We trace the origin and development of these popular arts, which offer a unique combination of elements from African and Western cultures, in the urban context of the megacity Kinshasa.

 Practical information

  • upon request
  • location: RMCA, Tervuren
  • for adult groups, max. 40 participants
  • from Tuesday to Friday
  • length: 1h
  • price: 65 €
  • reservation and information about the availability of the researchers : reservations@africamuseum.be or 02 769 52 00
  • reservations at least three weeks in advance




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