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DeCoSEAS is a transnational NL-FR-UK research project that renegotiates established understandings of heritage curation. An experienced, cross-disciplinary team opens up three unique collections, located in Europe, with extremely rare music and sound from Southeast Asia (SEA), that have worldwide fame in terms of their quality, quantity and diversity, but are barely accessible. DeCoSEAS facilitates:

  • physical access for SE Asian stakeholders
  • online access for scholars, artists and stakeholders worldwide
  • publication channels about heritage curation for SE Asian stakeholders and
  • outreach projects for culture consumers worldwide

Each Work Package is devised to achieve corresponding objectives:

  1. Interrogate the colonial patrimony of archives,
  2. Conceive a new digital curational framework,
  3. Transfer publishing and editing agencies about heritage curation to heritage stakeholders, and
  4. Democratize curatorial practices.

The objectives constitute DeCoSEAS envisaged decolonization of heritage curation that acutely

responds to current public and academic debates on de/colonization and heritage restitution. The project is a pilot study for this vision adopting a knowledge chain with three formative orientation points: the improvement of access to heritage, the transfer of agency to stakeholders of heritage, and the diversification of the dialogue about heritage curation.

DeCoSEAS employs a paradigm-shifting methodological approach focused on hearing and listening as dialogical modes of knowledge formation. It complements conventional academic faculties of watching and reading as modes of singular objectification. DeCoSEAS strives for the inclusion of voices, stances and interpretations that have hitherto remained unheard in existing discourses about heritage by attending to multiple, time-bound and intricately entangled voices simultaneously (those recorded from the past and those from SE Asian partners today). With these action plans, DeCoSEAS aims to provide new insights in and new practices of heritage curation and participation.