JPI-CH CHIP - Cultural Heritage, Identities and Perspectives : responding to Changing Societies

Polyvocal Interpretations of Contested Colonial Past – PICCH

Submission summary

Many memory institutions across Europe contain holdings connected with its colonial past which for many years has been a focus of contestation from both communities of origin, ethnic minorities and civil society at large. At the same time challenging questions are being asked by professionals in the field as to what to do with this problematic cultural heritage, from returning items when appropriate, to rewriting the historical context surrounding them in a more critical and inclusive way. This project aims to identify key instances of colonial audio-visual heritage across the three archives involved, draw a common map of shared racialised representations connected with their respective imperial contexts, identify problematic visualisation and language and open up a dialogue between the archives and a variety of users, including archivists, researchers, filmmakers, and grassroots organisations.
The digitised colonial audio-visual heritage is provided by three national archives: The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the French Institut national de l'audiovisuel and Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, UK. All these archives have a rich collection of original film and sound, some of it produced at the height of empire, ranging from ethnographers' footage for 'educational' purposes to more direct propaganda films to bolster colonial ideologies. We will explore how archival material created in a ‘colonial mindset’ can be re-appropriated and re-interpreted critically to become an effective source for the 'decolonization of the mind' and the basis for a future inclusive society.
The overall outcome of PICCH is to engender a polyvocality that can be incorporated into the archive itself providing new ways to enter and explore the past via a contemporary interpretative frame. To this effect advanced technologies will be used to study how to bridge archival and contemporary languages, and to support transnational exploration of multiple archives via a single interactive user interface.

Project coordination

Sophie Gebeil (Temps, espaces, langages europe méridionale méditerranée Unité de recherche)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


IREMAM Institut de Recherches et d'Etudes sur les Mondes Arabes et Musulmans
TELEMME Temps, espaces, langages europe méridionale méditerranée Unité de recherche
MMSH Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme

Help of the ANR 186,928 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 24 Months

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