Select Page

Workshop Decolonising and Digitising Heritage


In the Netherlands and other former colonising nations, fundamental and critical issues concerning colonial legacies are taken up by heritage institutions, but the urgent question of how to decolonise collections remains largely unanswered. A much-used and discussed way to improve the accessibility of collections is digitisation. The increasing initiatives to map, digitise, and disseminate relevant collections of colonial heritage enable promising and relevant new research opportunities, but also make the development of a shared ‘ethics of care’ has become even more pertinent.

This workshop delves into the consequences of the absorption of historical source collections into the realm of digital heritage, alongside the study of the digital heritagisation practices triggered by this process. It opens with an exploration of Indigenous Uses of Photographic Digital Heritage in Postcolonizing Australia by professor Jane Lydon, who is an international expert on Australia’s colonial past and its legacies in the present, with a particular focus on visual culture. Then, students and PhD candidates are invited to reflect on and share how the growing digital heritagisation of (colonial) historical sources impacts their research.

What are the opportunities, challenges, and limitations of digitisation as a means of decolonising heritage? Which heritage collections are considered colonial and why? How are we as researchers responsible for access and dissemination of source collections? What does it mean to do open-source research when working with heritage collections? During the workshop, we will explore these and other questions. Participants are invited to pose and ask their own questions and thoughts in short ‘think pieces’ which will be distributed among the participants before the workshop.

Deadline for registration: the 24th of May

Deadline submission think pieces: the 31st of May 18.00


13.00 – 13.15 Welcome (coffee & tea)

13.15 – 14.00 Introduction Jane Lydon

14.00 – 15.00 Short presentations + discussion

15.00 – 15.15 Short break

15.15 – 16.15 Short presentations + discussion

16.15 – 16.30 Concluding remarks

16.30 Drinks

Assignments and preparation

All participants are required:

  • to read the prescribed readings (will be provided shortly), and read each other’s short think pieces, which they will receive one week in advance of the workshop.
  • to attend the workshop.
  • to participate actively in group discussions.
  • to submit a ‘think piece’ in which they reflect on questions and challenges that relate to their own research in relation to the central themes of the workshop (max. 600 words).
  • to introduce their ‘think piece’ in a short presentation during the workshop.

Learning aims

  • Participants will get familiar with the current debates on decolonising cultural heritage.
  • Participants will reflect on the impact of digitalization on research.
  • Participants get the opportunity to discuss their research with a leading expert in the field of critical heritage.

This workshop is organised by Radboud University PhD candidates Marie Keulen and Marleen Reichgelt, in collaboration with NICA – Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis.

Register (9/16 spaces left)

Bookings are closed for this course.