6 episodes

Artefacts in Britain's museums had purpose and significance before being put on display. Hanna Adan releases the restless spirits within to ask: should they be returned home?

The Museum of Bad Vibes BBC Radio

    • History
    • 4.0 • 1 Rating

Artefacts in Britain's museums had purpose and significance before being put on display. Hanna Adan releases the restless spirits within to ask: should they be returned home?

    Releasing The Bad Vibes

    Releasing The Bad Vibes

    In this series of sonic museum tours, we’ve learnt about four objects currently in storage at various museums in the UK. We’ve addressed themes such as colonialism, theft and cultural erasure and how these have informed the function that museums play in society today.

    In this final tour, Hanna Adan speaks to a number of experts in the field to learn how practices can be changed to make museums more inclusive spaces, more effective purveyors of cultural history and more respectful of the objects in their collections, and the communities that they originate from.

    Produced and Presented by Hanna Adan
    With story by George Bailey
    Assistant Producer and Editor: Kwaku Dapaah-Danquah
    Researcher: Seyi Bolarin
    Contributors: Abira Hussein, Zandra Yeaman, Joshua Bell, Chika Okeke-Agulu and Sarah Byrne
    Production Mentors: Jane Thurlow and Corinna Jones
    Sound Designer: Lauren Armstrong-Carter
    Tech Producer: Giles Aspen
    Executive Producers: Khaliq Meer & Leanne Alie
    Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer
    Artwork by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

    • 35 min
    The Storyteller With No Audience

    The Storyteller With No Audience

    A Koi board is a stylised carved representation of ancestors. It’s often made out of wood, as it’s believed each tree has a spirit and the koi is designed with the spirits within.

    In this episode, we hear from the ancestral spirit of a Koi board which once occupied the spiritual centre of its community in the Purari Delta region of Papua New Guinea. It tells the story of its creation, function and current state of mind having been displaced for over a century.

    On this sonic museum tour, Hanna Adan, with the assistance of experts, explores the fascinating spiritual landscape of the object’s origin, the role of Christian missionaries in colonisation and asks - what is the Museum’s duty towards objects of spiritual significance when the cultures of the source communities have drastically changed?

    Produced and Presented by Hanna Adan
    With story by George Bailey
    Assistant Producer and Editor: Kwaku Dapaah-Danquah
    Researcher: Seyi Bolarin
    Starring Emmanuel Tipi
    Contributors: Joshua Bell, Sarah Byrne and Anna Johnstone
    Production Mentors: Jane Thurlow and Corinna Jones
    Sound Designer: Lauren Armstrong-Carter
    Tech Producer: Duncan Hannant
    Executive Producers: Khaliq Meer & Leanne Alie
    Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer
    Artwork by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

    • 42 min
    Looking Back to See Ahead

    Looking Back to See Ahead

    Gold weights were significant objects in pre-colonial Ghana as they were used to weigh gold dust during social and political engagements such as births, deaths, funerals and marriages. Gold weights come in a variety of shapes and sizes and in this episode, we focus on the spirit of the Sankofa gold weight.

    Awakening in the Museum of Bad Vibes, Sankofa nostalgically recalls its former life and laments its loss of use and companionship. In his prime, he played an important role in trade and commerce in Ghana, but also embodied esoteric properties related to ancestral knowledge.

    On this sonic museum tour, Hanna Adan, with the assistance of experts, explores traditional Akan religious beliefs, speculates on this gold weight’s unclear but but fascinating provenance and unpacks what we can still learn from its teachings.

    Produced and Presented by Hanna Adan
    With story by George Bailey

    Assistant Producer and Editor: Kwaku Dapaah-Danquah
    Researcher: Seyi Bolarin
    Starring: Derek Oppong and Maria Gbeleyi
    Contributors: Dr John Giblin and Dalian Adofo
    Production Mentors: Jane Thurlow and Corinna Jones
    Sound Designer: Lauren Armstrong-Carter
    Tech Producer: Bob Nettles
    Executive Producers: Khaliq Meer & Leanne Alie
    Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer
    Artwork by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

    • 29 min
    Sisters Beyond the Grave

    Sisters Beyond the Grave

    In Chinese culture, it is believed that once a person dies their soul continues to exist. It lives on in the grave as well as in an ancestral tablet. In this episode we hear from the spirits of four sisters-in-law, hungry and neglected, these spirits travel to the living realm in search of their descendants.

    Whilst the deceased embark on their journey, Hanna Adan, with the assistance of experts, explores traditional Chinese religion, the role that ancestral tablets play and ultimately asks - what is the Museum’s duty towards objects of spiritual significance, especially those without claimants?

    Produced and Presented by Hanna Adan
    With story by George Bailey
    Assistant Producer and Editor: Kwaku Dapaah-Danquah
    Researcher: Seyi Bolarin
    Production Mentors: Jane Thurlow and Corinna Jones
    Sound Designer: Lauren Armstrong-Carter
    Tech Producer: Bob Nettles
    Executive Producers: Khaliq Meer & Leanne Alie
    Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer
    Artwork by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

    • 38 min
    The Bird of Prophecy’s Final Song

    The Bird of Prophecy’s Final Song

    The Bird of Prophecy staff has been locked up in a box unable to speak and when finally given the chance, he tells the story of his former glory as a ceremonial symbol of pride for his people.

    On this tour, Hanna Adan, with the assistance of experts, explores the history of the Benin Bronzes, from the Benin Kingdom. The sculptures include elaborately decorated cast plaques, commemorative heads, animal and human figures, items of royal regalia, and personal ornaments. They were created from the 16th century onwards in the West African Kingdom of Benin, which was part of the British Empire from 1897 to 1960, and is now part of Nigeria.

    Through the eyes of the Bird of Prophecy staff, Hanna tells the story of the British Empire raid, the destruction that saw the kingdom crumble, and the dispersal of the famous Benin Bronzes around the globe.

    Through this sonic museum tour we ask - what is the Museum’s duty towards contested objects of spiritual and cultural significance in their collections?

    Produced and Presented by Hanna Adan
    With story by George Bailey
    Assistant Producer and Editor: Kwaku Dapaah-Danquah
    Researcher: Seyi Bolarin
    Starring: Oluwafemi Olugbade
    Contributors: Oluwatoyin Sogbesan, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Sonita Alleyn
    Production Mentors: Jane Thurlow and Corinna Jones
    Sound Designer: Lauren Armstrong-Carter
    Tech Producer: Bob Nettles
    Executive Producers: Khaliq Meer & Leanne Alie
    Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer
    Artwork by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

    • 31 min
    Welcome to The Museum of Bad Vibes

    Welcome to The Museum of Bad Vibes

    It’s generally agreed that a trip to a museum is almost certainly educational, at times entertaining and often enlightening. The fortress-like buildings tend to be full of treasures and objects from all over the world, bringing the past to life in wondrous ways. But have you ever stopped to think how the objects found their way there and what they might say if they could tell their own stories?

    In the Museum of Bad Vibes, Hanna Adan explores the cultural & spiritual significance an Akan Gold weight, Benin Bronze, a Chinese Ancestral Tablet and a Papua New Guinean Koi board; learns how they they got to be in some of the UK’s most celebrated museums and asks whether they could or should be returned to their countries and communities of origin.

    • 3 min

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