Author: Sarah Shoilee

Peter Pels, Marleen Witte and Susan Legêne will speak at 55 jaar KDC – Jan Roes-lezing

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On May 31, 2024, the Katholiek Documentatie Centrum (KDC) will celebrate its 55th anniversary. Traditionally, the Jan Roes lecture is given on an anniversary. This year, Prof. Dr. Susan Legêne, historian at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, has been invited to speak. She is intensively concerned with the question of how colonial objects can contribute to a responsible handling of the colonial past and its impact on current and future society.

This subject was also close to the heart of Jan Roes (1939-2003), the first KDC director. On his initiative, the archives of the Archdiocese of Jakarta (1807-1975) were made accessible to researchers at home and abroad. He is at the forefront of efforts to safeguard the shared Catholic heritage of Indonesia and the Netherlands for conservation and research.

The KDC wants to make an important contribution within the field of dealing with colonial history. The aim is to contribute to reconciliation in historically complex social relationships and thus promote equality among a multitude of population groups in society.

Different voices can be heard in and about the colonial past. Prof. Legêne will illustrate how this layering can be discovered. Representatives of communities of origin, heritage professionals, researchers and other stakeholders then respond. They supplement the argument with their experiences about the value and application of these insights in decolonizing archives.

The invitation and details of this event can be found in the attachment.

Pressing Matter Biannual Consortium – June 16, 2023

One of the aims of the Pressing Matter project was to think through provenance its meanings and methods, with a special interest in the question of provenance across different institutional/academic frames, mindful of the fact that much of the provenance practices have been oriented towards art historical research. The theme of this consortium was ‘Provenance Matters’, reflecting on the question of provenance and its potential and limitations.

As a basis for the consortium, the provenance researchers in the Pressing Matter team (François Janse van Rensburg, Karwin Cheung, Laetitia Lai and Micaela Cabrita da Palma) prepared a position paper Provoking Provenance. In this volume the provenance researchers aimed to provide perspectives from the field, and informed by their experiences, to provoke discussion on both the potentialities and limitations of provenance research and its ability to contribute to the broader reckoning with the colonial past. The position paper is expected to be available and downloadable on this website by mid-2024.

The topics at the consortium:

  • Provoking Provenance – by François Janse van Rensburg, Senior Provenance Researcher, Pressing Matter
  • An investigation into anonymous objects – by Karwin Cheung, Senior Provenance Researcher, Pressing Matter
  • Polyvocal Knowledge Modelling for Colonial Object Provenance – by Sarah Shoilee, PhD Candidate, Pressing Matter
  • PROLAB: The Provenance of Looted and Lost Art – by Diederik Oostdijk, Professor English & American Literature, VU & PROLAB
  • Sociology, ecology, and provenance research in book history – by Nelleke Moser, Director Graduate School of Humanities, VU and Associate Professor of Literature & Society
  • Artist based provenance in Mexico – by Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba, Artist in Residence Pressing Matter
  • Culture Under Attack, Genocide Under Scrutiny. Re-centering culture and revisiting the concept of ‘cultural genocide’ – by Martijn Eickhoff, PI Pressing Matter, director of the NIOD institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Endowed Professor of Archaeology and Heritage of War and Mass Violence at the University of Groningen
  • Human and other primate remains in provenance research – by Laurens de Rooy, PI Pressing Matter and director and curator of Museum Vrolik

The following video is a summary by Programme Leader Prof. Dr .Wayne Modest of the Pressing Matter Biannual Consortium on Friday 16 June 2023.